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Back to school: Charity urges fight rising costs and childhood inactivity with your feet

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Living Streets Cymru, part of the UK charity behind the biggest walk to school campaign is encouraging families to leave the car at home as schools return.

With rising fuel prices and cost of living, the charity is advocating walking to school to save money while also getting more active.

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It comes as a recently published report revealed that Wales’ children are amongst the most inactive in the world with just half of 3-17-year-olds exercising the recommended 60 minutes a day.

The 2021 Active Healthy Kids Wales Report Card suggested the situation has worsened since the pandemic.

Currently, fewer than half of primary school pupils in Wales walk to school.

Ruth Billingham, Living Streets Cymru said:

“Encouraging children to walk to school can help instil healthy habits for life and contribute to the 60 active minutes needed a day to stay healthy and happy.

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“The start of a new academic year is the perfect opportunity to try something new. By making small changes we can also help alleviate some of the rising living costs we are all facing, whilst getting healthier and helping the environment.”

Living Streets is being supported this year by children television presenter, Dr Ronx, who has joined the charity as the celebrity ambassador for WOW – their walk to school challenge. The CBBC presenter and emergency doctor will promote WOW and the health benefits of walking to school for the 2022-23 academic year.

WOW sees pupils who walk, wheel, cycle or scoot to school at least once a week for a month rewarded with a WOW badge. WOW schools typically see walking rates increase by 23 per cent with a 30 per cent reduction in cars at the school gates. Over 1,200 schools in the UK are signed up to take part in WOW this academic year, with the charity hoping more will come on board.

Dr Ronx said:

“I’m thrilled to be the new ambassador for WOW – the walk to school challenge from Living Streets. With notable increases in air pollution, rising childhood inactivity and post-lockdown poor mental health, encouraging children to be more active and ditching school run drives for more sustainable modes of transport is imperative.”

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