BY JESI MUNGUIA
On Wednesday, more than 140 schools across Michigan are participating in an international event called Walk to School day.
Walk to School day is sponsored by the Michigan Fitness Foundation and MDOT. The event highlights the importance of fitness, teaches students about traffic safety, and environmental concerns.
Meg Thomas-Ackerman, the director of the Michigan Fitness Foundation’s Safe Routes to School program, said Michigan rates fifth in the nation in terms in measures of obesity. She said more than 31 percent of children are overweight or obese.
Ackerman hopes that people will think about walking to school throughout the year not just one day.
“Back in the late 60s you had 12 to 14 percent of students were being driven to school and about 44 percent of the students were using active transportation like walking or bicycling or skateboarding to school. Those numbers have almost completely flipped now and we know from research that it’s very important for students to get exercise.”
Ackerman said research shows that children who get exercise perform better academically and have fewer behavioral issues.