In order to curb childhood obesity and encourage physical activity among students, 20 elementary and secondary schools in Santa Barbara, Montecito, and Goleta will participate in Bike to School Day on May 18.
Bike to School Day is simply an event that encourages young students to use alternate means of transportation that must include physical activity — notably bicycling — to get to school. Schools refer to this as a “walk-and-roll” event, either exercising via walking or rolling, like skateboarding or bicycling.
According to the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation, students who participate in the event will arrive at school to find greeting tables, the school band playing, donor prizes, as well as healthy snacks.
Students are not the sole benefactors of the program, because it affects the entire community. The hope is that if this effort continues, water and air pollution will decrease as well as traffic congestion when driving to school.
However, the need to increase physical activity is important for today. According to the coalition, 30 years ago more than 66 percent of children walked to school, whereas today only 13 percent of children walk or bike to school. Bike to School Day will hopefully start to reduce the health risks associated with childhood obesity; these include heart disease, diabetes, and behavioral problems which are so prevalent today.