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Walking School Bus programs get local kids walking in May

IOWA CITY– Van Allen Elementary School will be piloting a walking school bus program for 12 days in May with the hopes to encourage more kids to walk to school with new and existing friends in their neighborhood.
According to Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), Iowa currently ranks eighth in the nation for childhood obesity. An easy way to combat childhood obesity is to build physical activity into their day, such as walking or bicycling to and from school. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that only 13 percent of children walk to school today, compared with 48 percent of children in 1969. The Walking School Bus Program is a fun and safe way to encourage students to walk to and/or from school.
A Walking School Bus (WSB) is a group of children walking to school under the supervision of adult drivers. WSBs help children increase daily physical activity, have fun with classmates, learn lifelong safety techniques, and help prepare them to be safer drivers who watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Johnson County Public Health (JCPH) received a WSB mini-grant from Iowa Department of Public Health. A partnership was formed through the Alliance for Healthy Living between Johnson County Public Health, Iowa City Community School District, Safe Routes to Schools Program, and Van Allen Elementary School, who worked together to develop and implement the Walking School Bus program.
Van Allen Elementary will pilot its WSB Program in the mornings from May 2 through 19, with two different routes picking up students from surrounding neighborhoods. To learn more about the Van Allen Walking School Bus project, contact John Phipps at jwphipps43@gmail.com.