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Take pride in your stride!

Some California kids have found a way to stay on their toes.

Every day they board the Walking School Bus for the trip to school.

The bus walks? No, the kids do!

It's all part of the Walk to School project, a world-wide effort to get every single kid out of their seat and on their feet to get plenty of exercise. (See "World Wide Hike," page 12.)

The fun and fitness of walking comes as no surprise to Erin Morse. "I've been walking a long time," she says. "I walked to school before the Walk to School program."

It's great exercise, and Erin especially loves chatting with her friends. They walk in an organized group, with a trained, adult supervisor, near Sacramento, California.

There is at least one other reason that Erin, who is nine, enjoys the slow pace of a walk to school. According to her mother, "She likes to rescue snails."

"Snails like to go around in the early morning, and I like to pick them up and look at them," Erin says.

In hot weather the sun beats down and can slow the group. But the kids keep going. "We got water bottles, and one time one of the walkers brought an umbrella," says Erin.

When it gets cold and windy this time of year, the kids adapt. "We wear a bunch of wind jackets."

And the walk itself helps. "It gets the body warmed up, and if you walk you would get warmer. It'll also help you exercise a lot," Erin says.

Another walker, Anthony Aguilar, says the program has also cut down on the traffic around their school. The students who walk to school don't need to be dropped off by their parents of a school bus, he says.

Anthony, eleven, says the walking adds up. "When this year ended, they counted up all the miles we walked to school and back and most of us walked from 20 to 50 miles," he says.

Too many kids are overweight and out of shape these days. Some are so heavy they could develop type II diabetes, which used to strike only adults. (See "Dodging Diabetes Danger," page 13.)

The exercise has been great for Anthony. "I've gotten a lot stronger from walking to school and back," he says. "I'm really pleased. I have been eating a lot and I really needed to get outside and start walking."

The more the merrier, says Anthony. "I think if we have more people in the program, everywhere, it would help a lot."

World Wide Hike

On Walk to School Day last fall, more than 3 million kids learned that a trip to school can be fun on foot.

On Oct. 8, this year's National Walk to School Day, you can too!

Walking exercises the legs, body, and arms, keeps you fit and slim, and helps you avoid the new threat of type II diabetes. (See "Dodging Diabetes Danger," page 13.)

For details about starting a Walk to School project at your school, get an adult to help and check the Partnership for a Walkable America's Web site at

Or, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains a Kids-Walk-to-School Web site at walk/index.htm.

Dodging Diabetes Danger

Type II diabetes is anything but kid stuff.

It usually hits adults, damaging their vision, circulation, and kidneys.

But now doctors say type II diabetes is striking lots of children, and making them just as sick as adults. Too many kids are overweight, even obese, and develop what used to be called adult onset diabetes we call it "diabesity."

Help us convince kids to get up and at 'em with exercise, sports, healthy activities, and good nutrition by inventing a really scary diabesity beast that tries to get kids to watch too much television, eat junk food, and avoid exercise like walking to school.

Draw a great diabesity beast and some kids getting away from it by running of walking to school or doing some other exercise--and we might use it in the magazine.

Send your drawing along with a school photo to Diabesity Beast, U.S. Kids, Box 567, Indianapolis, Indiana 46206.

Remember: Diabesity can be beat--with your feet!
COPYRIGHT 2003 Children's Better Health Institute
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:children walk to school with the Walk to School project
Publication:U.S. Kids
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Sep 1, 2003
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