Even though kids are far less physically active than previous generations, it’s important to realize its value is not lost on them. So, it’s not surprising that when schools increase access to different modes of ‘active transportation’ they take advantage of the opportunity.
Quick poll any group of third graders and they will recite the importance of exercise and a basic understanding of what to do to ensure wellness, only to be confounded about where and how they can do it, especially those in urban environments already plagued with disproportionate rates of obesity and underactivity.
Enter the Safe Route To School initiative that increases active travel to school by financing access features such as crossing guards, bike racks and sidewalks. More elementary schools than ever are participating and student active travel to school is 60 percent higher at participating than non-participating schools. At participating schools, over 1/3 of students walked or biked to school, a rate administrators contend will improve.
Kids themselves know the importance of exercise and can be the first to express frustration about barriers that prevent engagement. Safe Route to School shows kids WILL be active with access provided.
Source – Bridging the Gap, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s research arm