Central Va Students Participate in National Walk to School Day - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Central Va Students Participate in National Walk to School Day

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Students from across the country are ditching a ride to school Wednesday, and instead using their own two feet. That includes students in central Virginia who are taking part in an annual nationwide health campaign.

Wednesday was National Walk to School Day. In partnership with the Move2Health campaign, students, teachers, and staff in central Virginia got their exercise in early.

Move2Health is the campaign to get people who live in Charlottesville and the surrounding counties to log one million minutes of exercise by the end of the year. The day was meant to encourage exercise and bring awareness to childhood obesity, which the University of Virginia's physical activity program director, Arthur Weltman, says is a growing problem in Albemarle County.

"The findings in this area are not very good. We have an explosion of childhood obesity and there are upwards of, depending on the age group, 15 to 20 percent of children and adolescents are now classified as being obese, as opposed to 5 percent, you know, 20 years ago," Weltman said.

In Charlottesville, students wore Move2Health t-shirts as they walked to school Wednesday morning. Burnley-Moran Elementary students had been practicing by power walking during recess.

"I love Walk to School Day and walking as a parent because the kids have so much fun and they love it and when they walk to school they get to school happy and they see their friends along the way and they're running and it just - kids love it," said parent Dieckmann Cogill.

The students at Burnley-Moran are also training for their school Walk-a-Thon on October 18, which is a fundraiser for after-school programs and enrichment events. Teachers are helping them keep track of their laps and graph their progress. The teachers say they like how focused the kids are when they come in after some good exercise.

"It's in collaboration with teachers because we realize that physical activity and walking and biking to school really has a direct link with concentration, behavior, and academic achievement," Cogill said.

Many other central Virginia schools also hosted walking events during the day.

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