From our Winter Safe Routes Newsletter:
What do walking and biking to school have to do with obesity, mental health, and asthma? A lot! Children who walk and bike to school have higher physical activity levels throughout the day, helping them meet the recommended 60 minutes of activity daily. This level of activity helps prevent childhood obesity and supports healthy bones.
Walking and biking to school is also a great way for kids to get the physical activity needed for healthy minds. Kids who are more physically active have better academic performance. Studies are also beginning to show that exposure to nature and free outdoor play can reduce stress and relieve ADHD symptoms. If that isn’t enough to get you out of your car, think about the air quality around a school when dozens of parents sit in idling cars while their children jump out. Air pollution has contributed to childhood asthma rates doubling between 1980 and the mid-1990s. Asthma rates remain at historically high levels and cause 14 million missed school days every year. Walking and biking to school is healthy for kids, healthy for communities, and healthy for the planet.
Dr. Jennifer Rupert is an Obstetrician and Gynecologist practicing at Kaiser Permanente in North Portland. Dr. Rupert was one of six dignitaries to address James John Elementary students on Walk+Bike to School Day this past October.