INDEPENDENT NEWS

Mike Ward goes back to school

Published: Fri 18 Oct 2002 10:11 AM
Mike Ward goes back to school
Believe it or not. Green MP Mike Ward will this afternoon join with his local primary school to promote ACC's 'Walk Me Home Day'.
"Not only does walking kids home from school keep them safer from road accidents but it also promotes physical exercise," said Mr Ward.
"While some of our kids are getting sufficient exercise to protect them from becoming part of the type two diabetes and cardiovascular disorder statistics, the bulk of our children are not."
Mr Ward said the reality for most New Zealand families - particularly children - is that cycling, walking and getting to places like school under their own steam is becoming increasingly unsafe.
"Additional to the fact that people are living further and further away from the places that they need to be, unsafe walking routes, the lack of cycle ways, concern about 'stranger danger' and heavier traffic volumes further discourage kids from get the exercise they need to be healthy.
"While it would be nice to believe that this generation of kids might reverse the trend towards obesity and inactivity, the reality is that our children may have to be the role models for their parents if owe are to turn around the current epidemic of lifestyle induced disease."
Mr Ward said Finland has managed to reverse this trend and that New Zealand, with its passion for sport, outdoor-friendly climate and ideal community spaces for physical recreation should be able to follow suit.
"If we can get our youngsters into the exercise habit now, their chances of growing old will be considerably enhanced. Perhaps more importantly their enjoyment of life and their achievement at school will also be greatly enhanced."

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