Health, Kids

For Healthier Kids, Put Away The Car And Walk To School

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Image:  Trofobi
A child rides his bike and gets some exercise too! Image: Trofobi

Only a quarter of Canadian kids walk or bike to school and that’s not enough, according to a new “report card on physical activity for children and youth.”

Active Healthy Kids Canada (AHKC) is a Canadian charity that encourages children and their parents to get more exercise.

Their report found that only 24 per cent of five to 17-year-olds in Canada use “active transportation” to get to school. “Active transportation” means not using cars, trains or buses.

On the other hand, their parents were twice as likely to walk to school when they were children.

Every year in its report card, AHKC focuses on one aspect of healthy living.

This year’s theme, “driving,” looked at how much exercise kids are getting when they travel to and from different places near their homes.

There are many things the report listed as possible reasons why children wouldn’t use active transportation. The biggest one is the distance between schools and homes.

Many children live too far away from their school to be able to get there by walking or biking.

Another reason is that sometimes driving is easier. Parents may drop their child off at school, on their way to work.

A third reason is safety.  Many parents prefer not to let their child walk to school, especially if they are young.

AHKC has some suggestions about how children can work with their parents to make active transportation a bigger part of their life.

One is for parents to drive close (but not all the way) to the school, and have children get out and walk the remaining distance.

Another is for parents to take turns looking after and walking with children so that they can travel safely.

The easiest and best thing to do is for parents to tell their children to try to walk, bike or wheel to different places whenever possible – not just when they are going to school. And children can tell their parents to walk more, too!

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
If you decide with your parents that you will start walking or riding your bike to school, keep a journal of when you went and how long each walk took. In a week, look to see how often you were able to use active transportation getting to school. Discover the average time it takes you to go back and forth. Compare the average length of your trips to trips to school in your car.

Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
What other types of activities can you do to promote a healthier lifestyle for you, as well as your friends and family?

Primary
Extend understanding of texts by con- necting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other famil- iar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Junior
Extend understanding of texts by con- necting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).


Intermediate
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Grammar Feature: Double letters before a suffix
A suffix is an ending that is added to the end of a root word in order to change its meaning. Their are many suffixes in English. The most common suffixes are: “-s,” “-ed,” “-ing,” and “-est.” Quite often, these endings are simply placed at the end of the root word and nothing more needs to take place. For example, the root word “smell” becomes “smelled” or “smells” simply by adding the suffix to the end of the root word. However, in other instances, another letter is added or is removed. For example, today’s story includes two situations where the final letter in the root word is doubled before adding the suffix, “biggest” and “getting.”

What other words have the final letter of their root word doubled before adding a suffix?