Walk or ride a bike to school to start the day with physical activity
In the pre-dawn chill, UC CalFresh nutrition educators were at McNally Park in Madera Oct. 4 preparing for dozens of kids who were invited to come early for fresh fruit, active outdoor games and the opportunity to walk to school as a group. The event marked International Walk to School Day, part of a year-round movement for walkable communities and safe routes to school.
Walking (or bike-riding) to school provides benefits to the children and the community. Safe pedestrians and bicyclists start the day with physical activity, reduce traffic congestion around schools, and cut pollution.
UC CalFresh educators walked with students heading to Virginia Lee Rose Elementary School, Madera's newest elementary school, which opened this fall. The UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program, offered by UC Cooperative Extension in Madera County, works in partnership with schools and teachers to provide a comprehensive nutrition education program to students. Since Virginia Lee is new, the walk-to-school event offered an opportunity for UC CalFresh educators to meet students and interact with teachers.
Teaching healthful eating habits is just one of the UC CalFresh goals in local schools.
"We provide a comprehensive approach for healthy schools, focusing on policy, systems and environmental changes as well as teaching healthy eating," said Karina Macias, UC CalFresh manager for Fresno and Madera counties. "Access to a save route to school gives students an opportunity to increase physical activity. It is a component of a healthy lifestyle that we encourage."
Madera's annual Walk to School Day event was organized by UC CalFresh and the Madera County Public Health Department SNAP-Ed Program.