Active Healthy Kids Canada is a national organizations with a pretty clear mission (hint: its in their name). Every year they put out a Report Card that provides a comprehensive assessment of the current state of physical activity among Canadian children and youth.
This year's Report, entitled "Are We Driving Our Kids To Unhealthy Habits?" has a strong focus on active transportation. Active Healthy Kids Canada gives the country a D (down from a D+ last year) on the current state of active transportation activity for kids, but emphasizes that it is a key area in which quick gains can be made and long term impacts realized.
Like past reports, the 2013 version provides an excellent overview of the current state of physical activity for Canadian children at all levels. It looks at the national picture, breaks things down by types of activity and province, highlights successful programs and interventions, and provides recommendations for improvement. You can find a copy of the report, along with related media, on the Active Healthy Kids Canada website (though if you want a PDF copy of the full report, I would download it here).
Every time I do a presentation to a group of adults, whether they're teachers, parents or community members, I try to lead off with a question: "How many of you walked or rode your bike to school?" It helps to break the ice and set the context, and I always see a lot of hands go up, some smiles, and a few people looking around the room.
Today, walking to school is something most adults can relate to from personal experience. Even if they drive their own kids to school, the idea of making the trip on foot just makes sense. In a generation, adults may think of walking to school as a quaint anachronism from a bygone age; our statistics tell us that most of them will have been driven to school their whole student careers.
by Kristi Hendricks
It’s not every day that you meet a principal willing to dye his hair green to promote active transportation, but that’s what Jacob Sol did. Former principal of McBride elementary school in New Westminster, Sol saw the volume of traffic at his school, and realized that the rushed drivers posed a safety risk for his students.
As McBride students travel from across the city, there exists an actual- as opposed to perceived need for many students to be driven to the school. Sol didn’t allow this to deter him, rather challenged his students to walk more, even if that meant walking the last block or two. The motivation of seeing their principal with green hair was enough, and the students won their challenge by logging over 2,400 days of active travel in a single week!
Sol found that the excitement of the students transferred to the parents, who were then more receptive to changing their habits. Parents who were concerned with the safety of their children realized they could watch as their child walked the last block to school, allowing the children to develop their independence while the parent retained their peace-of-mind in knowing their child was safely at school.
Through this process, Sol noticed the need to address alternative methods of transportation. In addition to the need to store bikes, students also arrived at school on skateboards, roller blades and scooters, all of which came with helmets and other safety equipment. Sol addressed these needs by designating space within the classroom, however suggests that where space is an issue, lockable bins might be a feasible alternative for daily equipment storage. He encourages other schools to embrace sustainable transportation, and to “think in terms of a long-term project.” Knowing that long-term change happens incrementally, he celebrates the successes along the way!
The sun is shining, it's Throwback Thursday, and with only a month to go until Bike to School Week, we thought it high time to dig this one out of the vault: Jackson Goldstone takes the long way to Kindergarden.
A relatively recent addition to the street-scape in many BC communities, cross-walk timers seem to be sprouting up all over the place this Spring.
Many municipalities are planning to install counters at all full traffic-signaled intersections. The countdown timers provide pedestrians with more information as they decide whether or not to cross the street, thereby making the experience safer and more comfortable.
But ironically, while the evidence suggests that crosswalk timers make crossing the street safer for pedestrians, reducing the likelyhood of collisions with automobiles, a new study suggests that they may be making pedestrian crossings more dangerous - for cars.
To all the drivers getting into trouble because of these benign additions to our communities, HASTe has your fix after the break.