We have all seen adverts on the television and in newspapers urging parents to introduce more exercise into their child’s daily routine as there are concerns that childhood obesity is increasing rapidly here in the UK. Exercise is an important part of anyone’s lifestyle, and as most of these adverts state, there are some easy ways to increase the amount of activity you do on a daily basis, including walking to and from places that are of a reasonable distance.
However, it has been reported today that the amount of parents who now drive their children to school instead of letting them walk is increasing, mainly as many parents are concerned over their children being harmed by dangerous drivers. The survey, which was conducted by the charity Living Streets, interviewed one thousand parents, and found that many don’t let their children walk to school due to poor walking infrastructures and the fact that roads are becoming increasingly busy. The survey also showed that a quarter of parents automatically decided to drive their children to school and didn’t even think about them walking.
It is not surprising then that the National Travel Survey has recently shown that between 1995 and 2011 the number of children who walk to school decreased from 53 per cent to just 49 per cent. Discussing the findings, the chief executive of Living Streets, Tony Armstrong, said: “We hear a lot from the Coalition Government about investment to encourage participation in sport, but it overlooks this very simple and cost effective intervention. Encouraging the walk to school not only helps to keep children healthy today, but makes for healthier adults in the future.”
“We know that time-pressed parents often see jumping into the car as the easiest way to get children to school on time, but we do so at the risk of storing up health problems for them in the future. Where Government has supported schools and parents with the walk to school, we’ve seen walking rates increase by up to 33 per cent, but this is woefully short of what’s needed.”
In a time where the cost of running a vehicle is also extremely expensive, encouraging children to walk to school could also save millions of families a substantial amount of money each year. Furthermore, some car insurance providers offer cheaper quotes for those that drive less mileage, so skipping the school run could benefit parents and children alike.