Our children deserve more than words15 Feb 2018
Victoria Walks is backing calls for a $90 million Autralian Government investment in walking and cycling to school.
The proposal is put forward in Active Travel: pathways to a healthy future, a new report led by the Australian Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC) at Victoria University.
Over 70% of Australia’s children and 91% of young people are not meeting the national physical activity recommendation or sixty minutes physical activity every day. One quarter of all children and 29% of young people are overweight or obese.
“As a nation, we have stopped moving. We are putting our children’s lifetime health at risk because of our reliance on driving our children to and from school,” says AHPC Director Professor Rosemary Calder.
The report suggests that the majority of investment, $85 million over three years, should be spent on a national infrastructure grants program for schools. This would support schools, their relevant local councils and communities to develop active environments around schools that prioritise pedestrians and cyclists.
Victoria Walks was one of a range of collaborating organisations involved in developing the report, with our Executive Officer Ben Rossiter on the expert panel.
"The personal benefits of active transport are huge, at any age," Ben says. "If we can set our children up with healthy habits, that is a gift they can enjoy for the rest of their lives."
The project follows on from Getting Australia’s Health on Track (2016), the result of a national collaboration of 70 leading Australian chronic disease experts that identified active travel to school as one of 10 priority policy actions.
“It would be great particularly living in a country town, on busy roads to have a few more crossings where kids can cross safely and also dedicated bike lanes or paths so we can ride safely to school.”
Ella, 10, member of the Active Healthy Kids Australia Youth Advisory Council