Students driving to school should be extra cautious today because it is International Walk to School in the USA Day.
International Walk to School in the USA Day is a day where elementary students across the country are encouraged to walk or bike to school. Elementary schools around Kalamazoo are among the thousands of schools that participate in the event.
“I think it’s a good thing to walk to school,” said Deanna Pylar, a WMU senior working on her student teaching at Milwood Elementary School in Kalamazoo. “It gives kids exercise and allows them to socialize with people from their neighborhood.”
The idea behind the program is to promote healthy habits that will last a lifetime, according to the International Walk to School in the USA website. It also says that regular physical activity helps children build strong bones, muscles and joints, and decreases the chance of obesity.
First organized in 1997, the Partnership for a Walkable America aimed to build awareness for the need of mobile communities across the United States. In 2000 the event went abroad when Canada and the United Kingdom joined with the United States to make the program an international event.
“[The event] teaches the kids responsibility,” said Pylar. “It teaches things like not talking to strangers and remembering to chain up their bikes and to wear their protective gear.”
As obesity rates continue to rise, action was done to mobilize the youngsters and get them active. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children and adolescents get at least one hour of physical activity each day. Research says that physical active kids are more likely to become healthy and physically active adults.
“If you start exercising while you’re young, it will promote healthy habits,” said Pylar.
Not only will this get kids on the move, but it will expose them to other students their age and give them a chance to make friends.
“It gives them the opportunity to walk with their friends,” said Pylar. “I think that a lot of kids who walk to school like it.”
For more information about International Walk to School Day in the USA, visit its website at www.walkbiketoschool.org.