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PUBLISHED: 4:44 PM on Wednesday, September 26, 2007
International Walk to School Day
SITKA - Most adults can remember the days of walking to school, chatting with friends and neighbors on their way to class. Few children will share those memories, as most ride to school in cars or on buses.

International Walk to School Day is Wednesday, Oct. 3, and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Health Promotion department and SEARHC Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska program are encouraging parents to walk or bike to school with their children that day.

"Walking or biking to school is an excellent way to add some physical activity into your day," SEARHC Health Educator Doug Osborne said. "It can be a great way to start the day. Walking or biking can be a lot of fun. It's also important to remember to be safe."

More than half of all U.S. elementary schoolchildren (ages 6-11) walked to school in 1970, according to the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. Only 15 percent of schoolchildren the same ages walked to school in 2006.

"International Walk to School Day is a great way to begin or renew a tradition of activity for you and your children," said Gretchen Clarke, Community Coordinator for the SEARHC Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska Program. "What we want people to recognize is this is not an all or nothing thing. Make it a habit to walk or bike to school one or two days a week. Just that little bit of extra activity will go a long way to establishing a life-long habit of physical activity, which has been proven to reduce the risks of diabetes and heart disease."

Schools around the world and in all 50 states will be celebrating International Walk to School Day on Oct. 3. Staff and teachers will join their students in walking or biking to school, and some will lead "Walking School Buses" or "Bike Trains" to help get groups of students safely to school.

For more information on International Walk to School Day, contact Doug Osborne at 966-8734, or Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska School and Workplace Coordinator Bradelle Padon at 364-4404 or visit www.dot.state.ak.us/stwdplng/saferoutes/walk/index.shtml.


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