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Why the US is Developing More Exercise Deficiency Syndrome

I don't know about you but when I went to grade school in the 60s I walked to school and the trek was never closer than one mile. Apparently many of you were in my boat as the CDC tells us that nearly 90% of kids living within a mile of school walked there in 1969. Now that percentage has dropped to less than one-third. This is absolutely pathetic. So in addition to TV and eating out we now have a third major factor that is contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic, not walking to school.

When I walked to school in the 60s it was always on the border of some Chicago ghetto. Well there weren't many drive by shootings in the 60s like there are today, there was still some risk of assault. I can tell you for a fact that I have absolutely no recollection of my parents ever walking me, let alone driving me, to school, even in the most inclement weather, and I don't think I turned out too bad. I like what one of the people in the article said, "Walking to school builds character."

It is incomprehensible to me that such a massive majority of children are losing the opportunity to exercise. Now, half of kids live more than 3 miles from school. This is most unfortunate and I do believe is too far too walk every day round trip for most kids. However, if kids live less than a mile from school, then not walking to school is setting the stage for disaster. If you know one of the parents that are allowing their kids to do this please, please, please, grab them hard by their shoulders and shake them vigorously and tell them to get some common sense and do the right thing for their child. Avoiding exercise is a prescription for disaster and will only serve to contribute to the childhood obesity epidemic.

USA Today December 22, 2004

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