County supports National Walk to School Day

Initiative encourages children to increase physical activity and raises awareness about pedestrian safety

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  • Anna S. Kuhl Elementary School school nurses Lori Sexton and Linda List, and physical education teacher Nicole Beam, coordinator of the Walking School Bus event with students. (Photo provided)

— Walking to school is the simplest way for children to get the exercise so many of them are missing.

Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Eli Avila said children should participate in active play for 60 minutes each day.

“Walking to and from school is an ideal way to get some of that activity,” said Avila, which endorsed the county's support of National Walk to School Day on Oct. 4. “Moving more can also be associated with promoting psychological well-being and may help improve students’ academic performance. In addition, physical activity can help to build and maintain healthy bones and muscles and can reduce the risk of developing obesity and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and colon cancer.”

On National Walk to School Day, more than 5,000 events were held throughout the country to raise awareness about the need for safer walking and bicycling routes. It stresses the importance of increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, and improvements to overall air quality.

“National Walk to School Day provides students and their families an opportunity to get some exercise, enjoy the weather and connect with others in their neighborhood,” said Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus. “It provides a fun and interactive way to promote walking to school safely.”

Anna S. Kuhl Elementary School in Port Jervis held a Walking School Bus event, which helped students be more aware about safety walking on sidewalks, crosswalks, and intersections. It also encourages families to walk more often and assists in combatting childhood obesity. Encouraging safe, accessible connections between residences, schools and other important community assets is one of the goals of the Orange County Complete Streets program.

This initiative is part of the ongoing collaboration among the County’s Departments of Health, Planning and Public Works to improve transportation-related elements of projects that involve County property.

For more information about Healthy Orange, visit For additional information about the National Safe Routes to School Program and to sign up your school building, visit

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