Kids don't walk to school much any more
Fewer than half of American children who live close to school regularly walk or ride a bike to classes, according to a new study that highlights a dramatic shift toward car commuting by kids.
The issue is important because it's linked to escalating rates of childhood obesity. Many schools have been cutting back on recess and physical education, observed Sarah Martin, the study's lead author.
"Kids need to take advantage of the opportunities that do exist for physical activity," said Martin, a Maine-based evaluation consultant and former researcher with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The article is being published in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
In 1969, about 90 percent of kids who lived within a mile of school walked or rode bikes to get there. In 2004, just 48 percent did that at least one day a week, the study found.