Active transport: children and young people
Children are designed to be active. Physically active children are healthier, happier and more socially connected than children who have more sedentary lifestyles. Children and young people who are physically active are more likely to be active adults, resulting in health benefits across the life course.
In recent decades, substantial changes in Australian lifestyles, urban environments and transportation systems have led to changed physical activity patterns among children. Active transport, in particular, has declined dramatically and car travel has become the main way people move from A to B.
The Australian Department of Health and Ageing recommends that children should accumulate at least 60 minutes (and up to several hours) of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Active transport has the potential to make a substantial contribution to children’s daily physical activity.
Healthy Together Mildura has been working with local Schools and Early Years Services to support and encourage increased active transport for students and parents.
Vic Health – Walk to School
Walk to School is an annual, high profile community event that encourages primary-school students across Victoria to walk, ride or scoot to and from school as often as possible during the month of October.
The Walk to School campaign encourages regular physical activity in Victorian primary-school children by supporting them and their families to establish active routines, and by helping primary schools, local councils and communities to integrate active travel behaviours into their local settings.
Walking, riding or scooting to and from school can help children to achieve the recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day, and adopt physical activity habits for life. It can also help to reduce traffic congestion, parking difficulties and the associated environmental impacts.
Participating in Walk to School is a great way to build and encourage this healthy and cost-effective activity. We encourage all local primary-school children and their families to participate in Walk to School 2017.
Primary schools who register for Walk to School can order FREE materials, including student certificates, posters, stickers and more. Plus, registered schools will be in the running for some fantastic local prizes:
- A 5 Week Bike Ed Program delivered in your school (top 3 schools with the highest % of student population participating)
- A class set of x25 vouchers to Inflatable World Mildura (awarded to the winning class from each school)
This year Victorian kids are encouraged to put their best foot forward by decorating their shoes, bikes or scooters to make Walk to School even more fun. Participating schools can download a free art kit and lesson plans at walktoschool.vic.gov.au
Ride and Stride Zones
Four local primary schools are putting their ‘best foot forward’ and together with Healthy Together Mildura have each developed a unique RIDE and STRIDE program for their students.
RIDE and STRIDE zones are a place, a short distance from the school, where parents can safely drop off their children at specific times and children walk or ride the short distance to and from school, together with other students also using the zone.
Red Cliffs Primary School and Irymple Primary School piloted the zones in 2016. The Lake Primary School and Mildura South Primary School launched their zones in 2017 and it is hoped that other schools in the region will get on board with the program in 2018.
Why are we implementing these zones?
* Improve student safety by reducing traffic congestion in school zones.
* Promote increased physical activity for children.
Bike & Scooter Racks
It’s about having the right equipment for the job!
To encourage active transport, in 2016 Vic Health and Healthy Together Mildura offered schools and early years services a one off opportunity to apply for funds to support the acquisition of new bike or scooter racks.
The only catch was the submission needed to come from the students, and share why the students wanted/needed a rack, why they think active travel is important and how the rack would support participation in Premier’s Active April.
The response was amazing and too cute for words. Healthy Together Mildura received the following applications (all of which were funded). Take a moment to look at the student’s submissions: