Next Friday is national Walk Safely to School Day and Queensland parents have been urged to make it an everyday habit to stop our children falling behind world rankings for physical activity.
Active Healthy Kids Australia spokeswoman Dr Natasha Schranz said national Walk Safely to School Day on Friday May 19 was the perfect opportunity for families to create new healthy and active routines for children and, hopefully, set a lifelong habit change.
Active Healthy Kids Australia’s latest 2016 “Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Young People” grades overall physical activity levels. It placed Australian kids equal second-last of 38 countries, beaten by Mozambique, Mexico, Ghana, Columbia, England and New Zealand. Only Scotland performed worse with a “fail” grade.
Only 19 per cent of Australian 5 – 17 year olds were found to meet the national physical activity guidelines, which call for 60 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity per day. In Slovenia, which topped the rankings, 86 per cent of children met the same benchmark.
“Finding ways of making physical activity a part of children’s regular routines is the easiest way of systemically tackling the problem,” Dr Schranz urged. “The comparisons show that kids move the most in countries where being active is a priority or is an integral part of their everyday lifestyle.
“In Zimbabwe, which received an A- in Active Transportation, more than 80 per cent of children use active rather than motorised transport to get to and from school. And the Netherlands, which led the table on this measure, of course has a deeply ingrained cycling culture.”
State Education Minister Kate Jones is an advocate for the event and really enjoys walking her kids to school to encourage them to live a healthy and active lifestyle.
If you can’t walk the whole way to school you we recommend trying an alternatives such as driving or catching public transport part of the way and walking the last part of the journey. However you choose to get to school next Friday – just make sure it’s safe!