The chief officer of the Pedestrian Council of Australia is encouraging students to build walking into their daily routine as childhood obesity continues to climb to critical levels.
To raise awareness on the importance of daily physical activity the organisation is hosting its annual National Walk Safely to School Day.
The initiative aims to raise awareness of the health, road safety, transport and environmental benefits that regular walking, especially to and from school, can provide for the well-being of young people.
Harold Scruby, CEO of the of the Pedestrian Council said regular walking also has beneficial impacts on children's cognitive and academic performance.
"The extremely disturbing childhood obesity epidemic continues to affect 1 in 4 children at critical levels across Australia," he said.
"Unless teachers, parents, carers and the community generally get behind this event and its objectives, this number will never decrease.
"The best exercise for all of us is regular walking. Children require at least 60 minutes per day of physical activity. We should encourage them to include walking at the beginning, during and end of each day."
Last year, Katherine South Primary School students put their feet first and journeyed towards a healthier future by participating in the 20th anniversary of National Walk Safely to School Day.
The entire school met at 7.30am at Ryan Park and walked with parents and teachers.
According to Sport Australia CEO Kate Palmer, Australian kids need to do more to help "super-charge their health, wellbeing and learning".
"Let's not hide from the fact Australia has an inactivity crisis, so it's vital for the health and future of our nation that we help our children find any opportunities to be more active," Ms Palmer said.
"Data shows 81 per cent of children are not achieving the recommended physical activity guideline of one hour a day. A quarter of Australian children are obese and it will only get worse if we don't intervene now.
"Walking is a simple, accessible and effective way to get children active, but also to help super-charge their learning. It's well researched that sport and physical activity play a positive role in children's educational achievement, helping improve their cognitive development and attention at school."
Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases, including mental illness, heart disease, diabetes and cancer, Mr Scruby, said.
National Walk Safely to School Day also encourages parents and carers to walk more - reducing traffic congestion and car-dependency.
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