I’m borrowing Stephanie’s “Mom’s Soap box” category for this one. Kids these days are chubby. The stats are growing and so are their waistlines. 1 out of 5 kids is considered obese. INSANE! I bring this up, because there is a great post over at Car Free Days about how kids are not the problem when it comes to riding a bike or walking for travel. Parents are. Parents give all sorts of reasons why their kids don’t ride or walk to school: traffic, fear of abduction, weather, crime.
Some stats from Pedaling Revolution, by Jeff Mapes.
* In 1969 87 percent of all kids who lived within a mile of school walked or biked….By 2001, only about 15 percent of kids were getting to school under their own power
* A 1999 survey of parents by the CDC found that 55 percent listed distance as the major barrier preventing their child from walking of biking to school That was followed by traffic danger (40 percent). adverse weather (24 percent) and fear of crime (18 percent)
* The odds of a child being abducted are about one in a million, according to Cox News Service story that compared the risks of different activities. The risk of dying playing youth football is one in 78,260
Yes, 85% of kids who live within a mile of school don’t walk or ride a bike. 1 MILE! I know all through my own schooling, I walked a few miles. Never more than 2 or 3 in a single direction, but I walked every day there was school. And we lived in a small mountain town in Colorado at 9k feet elevation. Trust me, there was some snow. I did ride my bike in the fall and spring. I believe I started walking and riding alone when I was 7 or 8.
I see this in my own neighborhood. The bus literally stops every 100 yards down the main road. The way our little subdivision is set up, the most a kid would need to walk is a block or two. But what do I see every morning on my runs or bike rides? Parents driving their kids to the stop! We don’t have snow, and the mornings are never that cold or hot. They cant even let their kid walk down the block. An trust me, we do not live in a dangerous neighborhood.
Parents, cut that umbilical cord, let your kids walk or ride their bike. Teach them the right way to do so. Show them how, and let them learn, burn of some pounds, burn off some energy, and grow up.