Are We Driving Our Kids To Obesity?

sharma-obesity-active-healthy-kidsJust back in Canada from a trip to India and Germany, it would be remiss of me not to post a link to the latest edition of the annual Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth released by Active Healthy Kids Canada last week.

As the name of this year’s report implies, the focus is on active transportation (or rather the lack of it), given that about 3 in 4 kids are driven to school rather than walking or biking to it.

As the report notes:

“Driving our kids to and from school may be robbing them of an important source of daily physical activity.”

Here is what the report recommends as strategies to increase active transportation:

Parents should:
› Encourage and support their children to actively travel to and from school as well as to other destinations (friends’ houses, parks, etc.).
› Share responsibility with other parents for supervision of younger kids as they travel to and from school and activities (e.g., take turns leading a walking school bus).
› Park the car a short distance from school and/or other destinations and walk from there when it is not possible for their kids to walk the whole way.

School administrators should:
› Ensure that bike racks are provided in highly visible areas on school property.
› Consider children’s travel needs when deciding where to build new schools.
› Facilitate the implementation of school travel plans, walking school buses, road safety education and other measures to ensure active and safe routes to school.

Policy-makers should:
› Develop joint planning mechanisms and protocols to ensure that the built environment supports walking and biking as an easy choice for children and youth.
› Encourage employers to offer flexible hours that would allow parents to support active travel opportunities for their kids.
› Enforce traffic-calming measures in communities around schools and parks (zebra crossings, speed bumps, sidewalks, flashing lights, etc.).

The short version of the report is available here.

The complete report is available here.

Quebec City, QC