SPRINGFIELD, IL (KFVS) - Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Harsbrouk celebrated National Walk to School Day by walking with his daughter, to show what a difference a few more steps can make in our lives.
"Having a 'walkable' community where kids can safely walk to school is a great way to help combat obesity in our youth," said Dr. Harsbrouk in a news release.
"Walking and bicycling to school enables children to incorporate the regular physical activity they need each day, while also forming healthy habits that can last a lifetime." said Harsbrouk.
Walk to School Day in the U.S. began in 1997 as a one-day event aimed at building awareness for the need for "walkable" communities.
Having safe routs to school is important in the implementation of walk or bike to school initiatives in communities.
In 2012, Illinois received $7 million in federal grant funds to assist with the planning and development of safe routes to school in communities all over Illinois.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends children and adolescents get one hour or more of physical activity each day.
In 2011, 14.5 percent of Illinois children age 2 to 5 years were identified as overweight, and 11.6 percent as obese.
In the same year, 15.5 percent of Illinois High School students were identified as overweight, and 14.4 percent as obese.