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Safe Routes to School and Reducing Childhood Obesity


SDOT's Pedestrian Education for Students Program at Arbor Heights Elementary

The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama and the Let’s Move campaign, recently released a report and action plan titled Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation.  Included in this report are benchmarks and strategies for reducing childhood obesity to pre-1970’s levels in just one generation. 

The study notes that students that walk or bike to school are more physically active and engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity more often than those who travel to school by motorized forms of transportation.  Unforutnatley, only 13 percent of students walked or biked to school regularly in 2009.  That’s down from 44 percent in 1969!  In order to increase physical activity, the Task Force strongly recommends increasing Safe Routes to School programs nationwide. 

At SDOT, we’re doing are part to boost the number of students that walk or bike to school.  Our Safe Routes to School program focuses on improving the built environment, encouraging students to walk or bike to school, and arming students with the knowledge they need to be safe pedestrians and bicyclists.  

The Task Force set a benchmark to increase the number of children who walk or bike to school by 50 percent by the year 2015.  Do your part and walk or bike to school more often.  It’s fun, a good workout, and a great way for parents and children to spend time together.  To find out more about what our Safe Routes to School program has been up to click here.