It’s time to end this school parking madness - make them walk

It's time to make our children walk to school again, says Rachel Moore.

It's time to make our children walk to school again, says Rachel Moore. - Credit: Getty Images

Every day outside every school parents fight for the Who Parked Closest? award.

It takes strategy and cunning. Some rock up more than half an hour before the bell goes just to nab the prize space, then sit in the car smugly because they've saved themselves a few steps.

It takes competitive parenting to a whole new level.

It's lunacy. Selfish lunacy that could be contributing to their children's early death.

It's time for exclusion zones to be set around every school, outlawing cars from parking, forcing parents and children to walk.

A Make Them Walk campaign is needed now to get our kids moving.

Or we'll be burying them way before their time.

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The sugar-filled inactive small zombies the cocktail of technology, sitting down and processed food are creating will turn into obese sedentary adult zombies, whose life expectancy will be dire because of habits set in during childhood.

So, madam, as pleased with yourself as you might be for winning the closest parking space, your laziness is killing your child. Harsh but true.

This week, a study revealed a 'tragic decline' in activity levels from the age of seven.

Exercise among children drops sharply from the age of seven and keeps on dropping, as digital dependency takes over, with smartphones, games consoles and computers knocking running about, playing cycling and sport off their agendas.

Seven. From car to classroom, car to home to technology.

If you can, look back at your class photos when you were seven. Mine, from 1971, was a sharp lesson in social history.

We were all so thin, wiry with spindly legs from walking miles to school and back, running around the school field, shinning up the climbing frame, the nightly school clubs and playing out after tea.

Not a chubster among the 30-plus kids, all looking healthy from fresh air and exercise. And we had our fill of penny sweets. It was quite a wake-up call.

Killing the kids isn't on anyone's hopes and dreams list as they bring their precious new-born home.

The lifestyles we're choosing may not be drink-and-drugs but our choices are as noxious and health-threatening to those we love most.

It's form of neglect and irresponsible parenting.

We've probably all done it, blaming a lack of time, work, stress, and a bad day.

Realistically, few parents have the time for a lovely amble to school wondering at nature, naming birds and cloud formations. It's doesn't fit into our to-do list-driven lives when we have to be at work by 9.

But changing a three-minute dash into ten-minute walk in a morning schedule could start to prevent permanent damage.

Parking exclusion zones would force children to use their legs to attack a silent killer casting the die on adult health before they've left primary school.

Schools have responsibility too to build more physical activity into early years learning, too driven by testing and league tables.

How about the education secretary introducing scoring for a school's attitude and achievements in physical fitness?

Forcing four-year-olds to sit still for hours in a reception class is cruel – especially boys, who find it torture – when, if they had been born in Scandinavia or on the continent, they would still be running free, playing and not forced into formal education for another two or three years.

The law stops parents risking their children's health by smoking in cars. Inactivity is just as cruel,

There needs to be urgent education for parents to realise how sedentary at seven is risking premature death and a short life of health problems.

Make them walk.