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AHA improves the health and well-being of Wake County residents by facilitating and supporting community initiatives.

Walking Programs: After Walk to School Day

Students at Leesville Elementary in Raleigh were participated in International Walk to School Day on October 9.

Students at Leesville Elementary in Raleigh were participated in International Walk to School Day on October 9.

At least 30 schools in Wake County participated in International Walk to School Day last week. Many held their first Walk to School Day event ever, while others carried on a tradition.

AHA advocates for this event and ongoing walking programs across Wake County because:

1)      According to the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, less than 15% of children walk or bike to school, but walking one mile to and from school each day provides students with 2/3 of the recommended 60 minute a day of physical activity.

2)      Research shows that physical activity increases academic performance, (The Learning Link, Action for Healthy Kids) and that physical activity improves classroom behavior. (The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education,  and Academic Performance, Centers for Disease Control.

Schools can build upon their Walk to School Day events by promoting weekly walk to school days such as Walking Wednesdays, a Walking School Bus and other ongoing walking programs that involve classroom instruction on pedestrian and bike safety, classroom activities and mileage tracking.

The NC DOT has new lessons, Let’s Go, NC!,  that teach K-5 students how to walk and bike safely and gives them essential skills to enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle. Teachers may use the videos and lessons in class to compliment your school’s wellness efforts.

AHA Wellness Star: Walk and/or Bike to School Programs

The AHA Wellness Star is new for the 2013-2014 school year and recognizes schools with outstanding walk and/or bike to school programs. A one-day event will not garner an award for a school, but AHA will award a limited number of Wellness Stars to schools in Wake County that have exemplary programs during the school year.

A short application is online here and is due by 5 pm, March 21, 2014. Banners will be awarded in April to winners. Learn more about the Wellness Star and AHA’s Brains and Bodies Award for healthy schools. (Brains and Bodies Award applications are also due by 5 pm, March 21, 2014).


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