Melbourne Storm - Wednesday 4 May 2011
Former Storm captain and rugby league legend Robbie Kearns has his children following in his footsteps, but it’s not on to a sporting field.
The proud father’s path leads to Kew East Primary School.
Kearns walks his two younger children, Kalarni and Kai, to school frequently and is encouraging other primary school parents and carers to do the same in the lead-up to Walk Safely to School Day on May 20.
“A brisk morning walk gets you ready to tackle anything the school day throws at you,” said Kearns whose 14-year playing career spanned 283 games and included numerous Storm NRL final campaigns, nine NSW State of Origin games and 23 tests for Australia, including the 2000 World Cup.
Walk Safely to School Day promotes the vitally important message: Active Kids are Healthy Kids.
Building regular walking to and from school into the daily routine provides children with the minimum 60 minutes exercise they need each day.
Obesity affects even the youngest of Australians. According to the Department of Health, a disturbing 17 per cent of children aged two to six years are officially overweight. A further 6 per cent are classified as obese. And if we don’t do something about it, it is predicted that half of all Australian children will be overweight in just 15 years from now.
For many children the 60 minute minimum can be achieved by simply getting off the bus a few stops earlier and walking the rest of the way to and from school. And walking with children can help parents achieve the minimum 30 minutes of exercise that is recommended for Australian adults each day.
Getting up half an hour earlier and walking with a child teaches them the value of a healthy lifestyle and helps set them up for a day packed full of learning.
Those who must drive are encouraged to park the car a few blocks away and walk the rest of the journey. This also aims to decrease dangerous vehicle congestion around schools and reduce carbon emissions from idling cars.
Schools are planning varied and exciting Walk Safely to School Day activities. More than 350 schools have already registered in Victoria, currently making it the leading state for the May 20 event.
Many schools have arranged fantastic healthy breakfast celebrations in the playgrounds on the morning of Walk Safely to School Day. Using local suppliers, the breakfast is a great way to mark the day and helps educate children not only about the benefits of walking but also the advantages of healthy eating habits.
“It’s vital that children never pass up the opportunity to have a healthy breakfast,” Kearns said.
WSTSD is a national initiative run by the Pedestrian Council of Australia with funding from the Federal Government’s Department of Health and Ageing. It is endorsed by all State and Local governments and forms a key component of the Australian national health agenda to build an active and healthy Australia.
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