'Bike It' Tackles Childhood Obesity
One in three 10/11yr old children in Bournemouth and Poole are either overweight or obese. To tackle this, Sustrans, the UK's leading sustainable transport charity and NHS Bournemouth and Poole have joined forces to get cars off the roads and children onto their bikes. Today the school run accounts for 20% of all cars on the road and obesity levels in the UK are on the rise with 25% of 11 to 15 year olds being overweight or obese.
The Sustrans Bike It project aims to tackle both issues by encouraging pupils across the region to choose two wheels instead of four for the journey to school. For the next four years Bike It Officer Jason Falconer will be working with 12 schools a year engaging at least 2,400 pupils annually, with the aim of trebling the levels of cycling across all the schools.
Bike It Officer, Jason Falconer said: "It is fantastic to be able to bring the Bike It project to pupils across Bournemouth and Poole. I am very excited to be working with 12 schools in the Bournemouth and Poole area. It has been great to see the enthusiasm of pupils as they get involved with cycling. We know from our research that 47% of children would like to cycle to school when only 2% currently do. This means there is a huge potential for increasing the levels of cycling across the region."
Chief Executive of NHS Bournemouth and Poole, Debbie Fleming said: "NHS Bournemouth and Poole are delighted to be working on a project which has the potential to transform the lives of close to 5,500 children. This is one of just three projects of this kind in England, demonstrating that Bournemouth and Poole are at the forefront of preventative health care to improve the health of our children. This project ensures that kids learn to ride their bikes safely, and takes a highly innovative approach to making keeping fit a fun part of everyday life."
The Bike It projects works with over 400 schools and over 60,000 children and young people across England and Wales. In Bournemouth and Poole, Sustrans will be working with 12 schools. Bike It is a nationwide scheme, managed by sustainable transport charity Sustrans. Nationally the project is funded by Cycling England, and the cycle industry through the Bike Hub, locally Bike It is funded by NHS Bournemouth and Poole and supported by Poole Borough Council.
Further information www.sustrans.org.uk