Why not walk to school?

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New NHS figures just released show that only one in five children is getting enough exercise.

Children are recommended to be active for a minimum 60 minutes a day to stay healthy and reduce the risk of preventable illness.

However, these latest figures from the Health Survey for England reveal that only 22% of five- to 15-year-olds are achieving this.

At the same time, levels of childhood obesity remain high, with 30% of boys and 26% of girls being obese or overweight; this being higher for children from lower income families.

Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, wants to see the Government’s commitment in the childhood obesity strategy to “setting a clear target to include the number of children walking to school” to be put into action.

A generation ago, 70% of us walked to school.

Now it’s less than half.

At the same time, levels of obesity and inactivity are on the rise.

It’s not just about eating better but about moving more.

Swapping the school run for a school walk is a free, accessible and excellent way to start.

The Health Survey also reveals that 27% of adults are obese, with a further 41% of men and 31% of women being overweight.

Walking to school not only helps children to maintain a healthy weight, but is also great for their mental wellbeing and for teaching healthy habits for life.

It should be considered as one of the best options to improve our children’s health now and our nation’s health in the future.

Tompion Platt,

Head of Policy and Communications,

Living Streets,

Wentworth Street,

London.