Walking to school helps encourage children to exercise daily.
Walking to school helps encourage children to exercise daily. Adam Hollingworth

Kids putting best feet forward

THE annual Walk Safely to School Day is fast approaching, with Queensland schools set to out-walk the more populated southern states.

Now in its twelfth year, the nationwide initiative will be celebrated on Friday May 20.

Currently 105 Queensland schools are registered to participate – more than any other state in Australia.

But with four weeks still to go until the big day, organisers expect the other states to quickly catch up.

Walk Safely to School Day aims to combat childhood obesity by encouraging parents and kids to build regular walking to and from school into their daily routine.

The idea is to ensure each Australian child achieves at least 60 minutes of exercise a day, to help prevent obesity and other health problems that will affect them well into their adult years.

It also encourages parents to drive less, and walk more, aiming to decrease dangerous vehicle congestion around schools, and carbon emissions from idling cars.

According to the Australian Federal Government report, Healthy Weight 2008, more than a third of Australian children between the ages of 7-11 years old are overweight or obese.

Queensland co-ordinator Tracey Baillie urged Queensland schools to visit the website www.walk.com.au and register as a walking school.

“This year with have a great competition where kids can win pedometers, school shoes, backpacks and water bottles, simply by writing a short story about walking to school,” Ms Baillie said.

“We’d love to get every primary-school age child in Queensland participating.”