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Notice to Readers: Walk to School Day --- October 2, 2001

October 2 has been designated International Walk to School Day. The goal of this event is to increase public awareness of the importance of regular physical activity for children, improve pedestrian safety, and create more walkable communities. This year, an estimated 20 countries and 49 states will participate by encouraging children to walk or bike to school in a safe, supportive environment.

CDC supports Walk to School Day and walking and biking to school year-long through the KidsWalk-to-School program, which is a part of CDC's Active Community Environments (ACEs) initiative. ACEs is exploring how policies and the design of new and existing communities can promote physical activity for recreation and utilitarian purposes. KidsWalk-to-School is a community-based program that encourages and promotes walking and biking to school. As part of the program, communities build partnerships with schools, local police, public works, politicians, businesses, and civic associations to create an environment that supports safe and active travel to school. The program was developed in response to low rates of walking, inadequate levels of physical activity, and a 50% increase in the proportion of children who are overweight since the late 1970s.

Many states are implementing walk-to-school efforts. For example, California is piloting Safe Routes to School Legislation, which allocates a percentage of TEA-21 federal highway funds to improve pedestrian safety near schools. Similar legislation is pending in Georgia, Maryland, and Montana.

CDC's KidsWalk-to-School information and materials are available at <http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/kidswalk.htm>. Information on Walk to School Day is available at <http://www.walktoschool-usa.org> and <http://www.iwalktoschool.org>.



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