The Making Kane Fit for Kids consortium, a partnership between community leaders and the Kane County Department of Health, is sponsoring the second annual International Walk to School Day Wednesday, Oct. 5.
Hundreds of elementary schools across the state are participating, including dozens in the Fox Valley area. Students are encouraged to bike or walk to school. The event is designed to promote healthy choices and to get children active.
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"Issues related to childhood obesity come down to eating healthy and exercising," said Jerry Campagna, the event's director of sponsorship.
"I use this analogy because my wife and I just returned from Europe. You don't see many obese people in Europe because they walk everywhere. But here in the suburbs you have to make more of a point of that. This highlights that there is a built-in way to exercise without going out of your way."
Last year, more than 30,000 students and parents participated in the walk to school. So far, 42 schools in Kane County have signed up. Students are encouraged to walk instead of taking the bus or getting a ride from a parent. Some schools are organizing special events around the day, while others will organize meeting spots for students to gather before walking to school as a group.
Here are some of the events local schools are planning around International Walk to School Day.
At Liberty Elementary School in Carpentersville, students will have the opportunity to participate in a number of bike/walk to school days throughout the year. The school will provide hot cider, bottled water, trail mix and other snacks for students and parents.
In St. Charles, Lincoln Elementary School is turning the International Walk to School Day a two-day event. Students will participate in Wednesday's event for the second year in a row. Then on Thursday, the Parent-Teacher Organization is sponsoring its third walk-a-thon.
October is International Walk to School Month and students from more than 40 countries pick a day, week or use the entire month to promote physical activities like walking to school. The event was designated "International" in 2000 when the UK and Canada joined schools in the United States. Participation reached an all-time high in 2010 when more than 3500 events were planned across the country alone.