International Walk to School Week --- October 3--7, 2005
October 3--7, 2005, has been designated International Walk to School Week. The week enables children, parents, teachers, and community leaders to be part of a global event celebrating the benefits of walking and the need to create communities that are safe for pedestrians. In 2004, approximately 3 million walkers in 36 countries observed the weeklong event by walking to school.
CDC supports International Walk to School Week and walking and bicycling to school year-round through Safe Routes to School (SR2S) programs. KidsWalk-to-School is a community-based SR2S program that encourages walking and bicycling to school. As part of the program, communities build partnerships with schools, police officers, public works agencies, public officials, 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 physical activity levels, and a 300% increase in the proportion of overweight children since the early 1970s.
In 2005, Congress passed a transportation bill that includes $612 million in funds for SR2S programs to enhance safety for children walking or bicycling to school. State departments of transportation will administer the program, and communities will be able to use the funds to make infrastructure improvements near schools (e.g., removing road hazards, slowing traffic, building sidewalks, and creating walking trails) and enhance safety through enforcement and education programs.
KidsWalk-to-School information is available at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/kidswalk/index.htm. Information on International Walk to School Week is available at http://www.walktoschool-usa.org and http://www.iwalktoschool.org. Information on SR2S is available at http://www.saferoutesinfo.org.
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