Special Guest Blogger; Sarah Taylor-Watts  

Iowa Department of Public Health


Do you remember walking to school?  Most of us do.  But over the last 40 years the number of students who walk to and from school has been drastically declining. At the same time this generation of children is expected to have a shorter lifespan than their parents because Iowa children are getting too little physical activity and not enough good nutrition.

 

Walking to school is an easy, low cost activity that most Iowa students can do – if the community environment is set up for success.  The premise of safe routes to school is simple.  Where it’s safe, get kids walking and biking.  Where it is not safe, make changes.  By funding safe routes to school we can help many Iowa communities create an environment that supports walking and in turn gives our children the chance to be healthier, learn better and live longer.

 

Walking and biking to school is a great way to keep Iowa kids healthy.  Walking one mile to and from school each day makes up two-thirds of the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day.  Iowa children walking to school has health benefits beyond physical activity.  More walking and biking means fewer cars on the road which leads to better air quality, less traffic congestion, and more personal safety.

 

Healthy kids do better in the classroom too.  Students who are physically active tend to have better grades, school attendance, cognitive performance (e.g., memory), and classroom behaviors (e.g., on-task behavior).

 

It’s hard not to support healthier, brighter Iowa kids.  Let’s all work together to help more of our children lead healthier, longer and productive lives.  We can take the first step by funding safe routes to school.

-Guest Blogger; Sarah Taylor Watts- Iowa Department of Public Health