Such a drastic decline impacts on children’s health, air quality, traffic congestion and road safety and comes at a time when three quarters of children* are not doing enough physical exercise.
Physical inactivity accounts for one in six deaths in the UK; the same number as smoking. It increases the risk of serious illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, and is placing a massive strain on the NHS. It has been estimated that the health benefits of increased walking and cycling could save the NHS £17billion over a twenty year period.**
Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, has expressed concern that unless investment is made now, the number of children walking will continue to decline.
The Government has set an ambition of getting 55 per cent of primary school children walking to school by 2025. This is an important recognition of the benefits of getting children walking to school. However, it has yet to earmark the funding that would be required to achieve this target. Living Streets is calling for funding for walking in November’s Spending Review.
We must invest in our children and help them reap the lifelong physical, social, mental and practical benefits that walking brings