Walking to school for better health

Dr David Gillespie walks to school with Manning Gardens students.
Dr David Gillespie walks to school with Manning Gardens students.

Walking to school under supervision of a responsible adult or teenager is an easy way to provide children with healthy regular physical activity.

Federal Assistant Minister for Health and Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie, today urged parents to take the time to organise for their primary school age children to be able to walk to school as often as possible.

In the lead up to National Walk Safely to School Day on May 19, Dr Gillespie joined students from Manning Gardens Public School in their walk to school.

“This is the 18th year that National Walk Safely to School Day has been marked in Australia,” Dr Gillespie said.

“Unfortunately, we need the message more than ever that children need to be active to stay mentally, physically fit and healthy.

“Physical activity doesn’t just improve our muscles and lungs, it’s also good for our immune system and our minds – leading to better concentration and also helping us to stay happy and alert.

“Walking to school is the ideal way to get some low impact exercise and build healthy lifestyle habits for our children.”

Dr Gillespie also congratulated Manning Gardens Public School on their participation in the National Sporting Schools Program. Around 30 per cent of Australian children aged 5 to 17 currently meet physical activity guidelines. While the participation rate declines with age, only 36 per cent of 5 to 8 year olds are active enough.

National Walk Safely to School Day is organised by the Pedestrian Council of Australia. The event is supported with $50,000 in funding from the Department of Health.