THE “popular” Ride or Walk to School program may not continue into the 2019 school year unless the ACT government confirms funding within the coming weeks, says CEO of the Physical Activity Foundation, Lucille Bailie.Despite major increases in active travel, Ms Bailie says she finds it hard to understand the lack of support for an initiative that encourages all kids, not just the sporty ones, to be physically active every day.
Ride or Walk to School was first launched in 2012 and is currently delivered by the Physical Activity Foundation with funding and support from ACT Health.
The program has reached more than 28,000 local primary school students from 68 Schools, building cycling skills and confidence and providing important bike safety education for students, teachers and families alike.
“An average of 67 per cent of students used active travel compared to 44 per cent at non-participating schools and 51 per cent of kids were likely to use active travel as their usual mode of transport compared to 30 per cent in non RWTS schools,” Ms Bailie says.
“Instead of… continuing to encourage this generation of kids to incorporate daily physically activity into their routines through active travel, the Ride or Walk to School will effectively cease being delivered at the end of this school year.
“In light of the continued alarming childhood overweight and obesity statistics included in the recently released 2018 ACT chief health officer’s report, we find it hard to understand the lack of support.
“We’re calling on the ACT government to urgently prioritise effective preventative health, particularly measures that directly impact the health and well being of our kids and to confirm funding to continue the program into 2019 and beyond.”