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· Registered
1,230 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fewer than half of American children who live close to school regularly walk or ride a bike to classes, according to a new study that highlights a dramatic shift toward car commuting by kids.
Children in the South did the least hoofing and pedaling, partly because of safety concerns, experts believe.

The issue is important because it’s linked to escalating rates of childhood obesity. Many schools have been cutting back on recess and physical education.

In 1969, about 90 percent of kids who lived within a mile of school walked or rode bikes to get there. In 2004, just 48 percent did that at least one day a week, the new study found.

Out my way, parents either insist on door step pick up for their kids, or even on pretty days, drive them 200 or 300 yards to the pick up point.

Why couldn't parents ride bikes or walk with kids along safe routes to and from school? Cops could patrol safe routes and volunteers along the route could keep an eye on traffic and stragers. Children and parents could spend some quality time together. Kids could learn that life is more than rushing from Point A to Point B. Kids would learn how to get from Point A to Point B.

One parent could be responsible for a small group. The more parents involved, the more kids would learn. Could even be a grandparent.

I didn't grow up in the country. Much of what I appreciate about nature I learned walking to school. Walking let me distinguish between and the trees and flowers I encountered on the way to school. It let me distinguish between bees and bugs and butterflies. I learned the difference between a frog, a toad, and a horny toad.

I learned the difference between a breeze, wind and gusts. I noticed the difference in clouds. Sometimes I had the opportunity to discuss what I observed with a friend and even get some extra input. Sure, sometimes, I got cold or wet, but even these things were lessons.

Nowadays, most kids and parents sit at home, they sit at work or school, they sit getting to work or school. Parents who have more time saving appliances than any other generation, and who spend more time on cell phones, and more time on the internet, and more time watching TV, and more time shopping than any other generation, don't have time to walk or bike to school with their kids.

Were we to last long enough, no doubt our species would eventually become legless. God didn't give us cars, he gave us legs. I think God wanted us to experience the world He provided for us at a walking pace.

· Icelandic Sheep
2,750 Posts
I'd like to suggest a book, if I may: The Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder.

I think many on the boards here would consider this a worthwhile read.

:) RedTartan

· Registered
651 Posts
Of course some children only have to walk from their bedroom to the dining table to get to school!

But having said that I know here in the south distances are much farther than up north, so a government school (atleast in these parts) may be up to 30 miles away. So it's impossible for a child to walk or ride a bike. I certainly feel sorry for the children who have to spend an hour on the bus, both coming and going. Having said that I do think that lack of exercise (other than thumb/forefinger video game exercise) is a great problem down here, as well as a poor diet, with so much fat and grease, and packaged stuff. Children are considerably overweight.

I think the ideal environment for children is being homeschooled, living on a farm and helping with farm chores and entertaining themselves with nature and farm explorations! Absolutely NO tv or computer/video games, and having a proper diet. No 4wheelers either! If you go somewhere either walk, or you really don't need to go there after all! Here at our farm in the course of a day we usually walk anywhere from 3-5 miles, just in farm work. Yes a ATV would help, as well as underground waterlines, but hey, carrying two buckets of water at a time is no problem when you do it all the time, and yet teenage guys come here and can hardly carry one half full! If you have a choice of work methods, manual or mechanical, always do it the "armstrong" way, you'll never lack for strength when you find you really need it.

No proper exercise + lack of good diet = fat people!

· Suburban Homesteader
2,331 Posts
I walked the 1/2 mile from home to grade school and back, every day. I pedaled 1 mile one-way to jr. high, and the 1.5 miles to high school as well. I was the fattest kid in pretty much all my classes, and I absolutely HATED the mandatory weigh-ins at the beginning of the year. One person would be manning the scales, and they would yell out the weight to the school nurse who wrote it on our records. I didn't feel particularly bad about being fat, but I hated the fact that even this most private issue in my life was yelled out for the world to hear.

But I digress. I spent over 6 years working in the public school district I attended as a child, and even back then (in the '80s) the weight problem was getting serious. If I had been a student in these classes, I would have been far from being the heaviest.

However, this issue of not walking to school bothers me about more than just the overweight thing.

I still live in the same neighborhood I grew up in, 1/4 mi up the street from the house my family moved to (and still lives). Every morning, the streets clog with parents driving their kids the 1/2 mile to school, and every afternoon they pick them up, meaning a 1 mile round trip is burning 2 miles' worth of gasoline. When I went to that same school, bus service was available only if one lived over a mile away. Now, at the 1/2 mile mark we have bus pickup!

In our city, we are constantly having pollution warnings. How much better would the air quality (and kids' health) be if they had to walk that 1/2 mile trip twice a day instead of burning all that gasoline?
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