by One Chappy and Andreas Mullings
Thousands of schoolchildren are walking to school this week to raise awareness of childhood obesity.
Rawdon St Peter’s Primary School in North Leeds is organising events related to fitness awareness and road safety all week.
Year 3 & 4 teacher Kate Mace said: “It’s about helping them to understand the importance of being healthy and being fit, and how they can take responsibility of their own bodies and their own lifestyles.”
The weeklong event will see some 26,000 Leeds schoolchildren taking part.
Living Street, the charity which launched the initiative, said if more parents encouraged their children to walk to school, it may help tackle concerns surrounding childhood obesity.
A spokesman said: “We know that time-pressed parents often see jumping into the car as the easiest way to get children to school on time, but we do so at the risk of storing up health problems for them in the future”.
A recent Research by YouGov suggests that over a third of children and young people in the region are obese or overweight.
Coun Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services, said: “Walking to school regularly is not only a fantastic way to encourage an active lifestyle, it is also a great opportunity to teach children vital road safety skills and ensure they are alert and ready to learn at the start of the day.”
Walk to School week is also part of National Walking Month which promotes walking for all to encourage families to make walking part of the daily routine.
Mrs Mace said: “We feel it is really important for the children to have as much experience as possible rather than having to tell them what the rules are.
“The children really enjoy it, they love it.”