Help children to walk and cycle to school

Posted on: 15th September 2016

The Trust is a signatory to an open letter regarding childhood obesity. The letter is as follows:


Now that millions of pupils have gone back to school, we call on the government to get more children walking and cycling the school journey.

Currently, a portion of the “sugar tax” is set to fund an extra half-hour of physical exercise a day. We believe the government can build on this and strengthen its forthcoming cycling and walking investment strategy at the same time.

Specifically, it can do this by committing the unallocated proceeds from the sugar tax towards enabling every child throughout the country to walk or cycle to school.

Almost a third of those aged two to fifteen are overweight or obese. In addition to diet, another reason for childhood obesity is a lack of physical activity with just one in five children sufficiently active to stay healthy.

At present, less than 2% of young people will make the school journey by bike, and only about 41% will walk. Both these figures are on the decline.

The walk or cycle to school is a great way to build physical activity into a daily routine and will also help reduce air pollution and improve road safety.

During the Olympics, the government showed what can be achieved through substantial investment in sport. Now let us invest in more than just gold medals, by funding the health and prosperity of our next generation.

Andrew Furber President, Association for Directors of Public Health
Andrew Langford Chief Executive, British Liver Trust
Paul Tuohy Chief Executive, Cycling UK
Robin Ireland Chief Executive, Health Equalities Group
Joe Irvin Chief Executive, Living Streets
Xavier Brice Chief Executive, Sustrans
Shirley Cramer Chief Executive, The Royal Society for Public Health