Primary school children chose Minions as their ideal walk-to-school companions in a poll commissioned by Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, released to celebrate International Walk to School Month.
The children, aged 8 to 11, were asked to choose from a list of 10 people or characters, including Usain Bolt, Doctor Who, Elsa from Frozen, Spongebob Squarepants, Horrid Henry, Wimpy Kid and Ed Sheeran. Minions were the clear favourite with 34 per cent of the vote, with runner up, Taylor Swift getting 13 per cent of the vote. The least popular was Prime Minister David Cameron, with only one per cent of children saying they would most like to walk to school with him.
The YouGov poll also asked three generations* what they enjoyed about walking to school and what they found beneficial. It found that children who normally walk to school enjoyed meeting their friends on the way and spending time with family the most with 53 per cent and 44 per cent respectively.
The worrying news is that with just 46 per cent of primary-aged children now walking to school (National Travel Survey 2014), lots of children are missing out on this valuable time with loved ones. This figure is in vast contrast to the 70 per cent of people their parents’ age who used to walk.
Caroline Cooban, Director (Midlands), Living Streets said:
“It is clear that the simple act of walking to school brings a host of benefits, including spending quality time with parents, grandparents and friends. This free, sustainable and healthy action also saves parents money and reduces car emissions, thereby protecting children further. Quite simply, children love walking to school and are missing out if they don’t walk.”
With three quarters of children not doing enough physical activity** we need to prioritise the walk to school before the inactive children of today become the unhealthy adults of the future.
Recognising the wide-ranging benefits that walking to school brings the government has set a target for getting 55 per cent of children walking to school by 2025 but Living Streets is concerned that if funds are not committed, this target cannot be reached.
Caroline Cooban continues:
“Without action to halt and reverse the decline, the number of children walking to school will inevitably continue to fall. While the government’s target is very welcome, it must dedicate the funds required to achieve this commitment. We must invest in our children and help them reap the lifelong physical, social, mental and practical benefits that walking brings – with or without Minions.”
* YouGov polled children aged 8-11 and adults aged 30-49 and 50-75.
** British Heart Foundation/Diabetes UK/Tesco 2015