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Skip, hop, scoot, walk or ride to school

Choose Active Transport has been co-ordinated by the Physical Activity Taskforce to encourage primary schools teachers across the State to integrate walking and cycling lessons throughout the school year.

Research from the 2008 Child and Adolescent Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey show less than half of all West Australian children meet the recommended physical activity guidelines, and there has been no increase in the proportion of children walking and cycling to school since 2003.

Sport and Recreation Minister and chair of the Physical Activity Taskforce Terry Waldron said children walking or bike riding to school encourages physical activity and healthy development, however, we are far from making this normal behaviour in primary schools.

“We are living in an increasingly sedentary society, where children are using screen-based toys and games and are sitting more and moving less,” Mr Waldron said.

“Teaching children and their parents to develop positive attitudes and skills toward walking, bike riding or using public transport will help to replace driving as their first transport choice.

“We are starting to see some changes in secondary schools with a 13 per cent increase in boys and an 11 per cent increase in girls choosing to walk, ride or use public transport from school to home.

“However, overall the active transport levels have not changed significantly since 2003.”

For the first time, rural teachers will be able to offer active transport lessons that are linked to the Department of Education curriculum.

Transport Minister Troy Buswell said Choose Active Transport also outlined the wider community benefits of walking and cycling including reducing congestion on the roads and greenhouse gas emissions.

“When primary school children develop habits to walk or cycle to school, they are more likely to continue active transport behaviour through to secondary school and adulthood,” Mr Buswell said.

“In the short term, we can reduce congestion on the roads and increase the safety around schools, while in the long term we are encouraging sustainable transport behaviour that reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and improves security in our neighbourhood.

Choose Active Transport has been a collaborative effort across Government to encourage physical activity and active transport and will be offered to all schools across Western Australia.

To download the resource visit http://www.det.wa.edu.au/physicalactivity or http://www.beactive.wa.gov.au 

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