New active pathways give students a kick-start

Students Kathleen Russell, Jack Dengate, Cath Clapp.

School students in western Sydney have taken part in a whole school walking excursion along new pathways today to promote walking and cycling to school.

Western Sydney Local Health District’s Health Promotion team worked with Riverstone Public School Student Representative Council (SRC) to create a range of safe and healthy routes to school.

Centre for Population Health Deputy Director, Christine Newman said western Sydney’s population increase and rise in higher density living means being active is more important than ever.

“The more we can offer attractive, practical ways for local children and their families to get active, the better for health outcomes,” Ms Newman said.

“Active pathways are a great opportunity for regular, light physical activity – and fun!”

Eva Vaka and Ali Shahmoradi check out the safe road crossing tips and encouraging messages.

The Riverstone active pathways include four clear, safe routes with path markers showing the distance to school and guiding the way.

The project makes it easier for more kids to join their mates and have fun on the way to and from school.

Riverstone Public School Teacher, Martin Trescott, said active travel is an important part of their school’s wellbeing program.

“We’ve engaged our SRC on this active travel project to promote safe and healthy environments that encourage and make it easier for students to be active,” Mr Trescott said.

 “The path markers have different colours for different routes. Our SRC created the messages on the path markers to encourage students and their families to get active.”

Around 37 per cent of students who live within a two kilometre radius of Riverstone Public School currently walk or cycle to school.

WSLHD invests approximately $2 million annually on tackling obesity, and $1.5 million for the Western Sydney Diabetes initiative. In 2019-20, the NSW Government has allocated $36.6 million towards reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity. 

Western Sydney schools interested in more information on active pathways can contact the Centre for Population Health’s Live Life Well @ School team on phone 9840 3603 or by emailing wslhd-llwats@health.nsw.gov.au.