Children from the Kurri Kurri area are getting ready to put their feet first and journey towards a healthier future when they take part in National Walk Safely to School Day this Friday.
Students, staff and parents from Pelaw Main Public, Kurri Kurri Public and Stanford Merthyr Infants Schools will participate in the walking event, which is in its 19th year.
The event aims to raise awareness of the health, road safety, transport and environmental benefits that regular walking (especially to and from school) can provide for the long term well-being of children.
The students will be encouraged to walk to and from school, not just on May 18, but every day.
“Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for so many chronic diseases that can affect our kids at different stages of their life, including mental illness, cardiovascular disease and cancer,” Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman and CEO Harold Scruby said.
“One in four children in Australia are overweight or obese, and it is expected that numbers will reach one in three by 2020.
“We really need teachers, parents, carers and the community at large to get behind this event and its objectives.
“The best exercise for all of us is regular walking. Children require at least 60 minutes per day of physical activity. We should encourage them to include walking at the beginning, during and end of each day.”
The national initiative also promotes improved diets (by asking schools and P and Cs to host a healthy breakfast), positive environmental action, better use of public transport with reduced car-dependency and the vitally important road safety message: "Until they are 10, children must always hold the hand of an adult when crossing the road".
It also encourages parents and carers to walk more, reducing dangerous traffic congestion around schools, while minimising the risk of Australian children developing heart disease and diabetes.
Students are encouraged to meet at Kurri Kurri Sportsground on Friday morning and walk to school from there.
Kurri Kurri Bulldogs president Daryl Chapman said the club was proud to be supporting an initiative that promotes health, exercise and safety for children.
Coles will be donating fruit for all students to enjoy upon arrival, and Pelaw Main Public School will hold a colour run later that day.