The other night, during one of our marathon budget workshops, we heard from a woman who had started a ?walking school bus? pilot program in one of our schools.? It's part of an anti-obesity grant and she had a wealth of information about the benefits of walking to school. She warned, ?We are raising a generation of kids who are afraid to walk.?? As soon as she finished, several hands shot up; parents worried about ice and snow, worried about roads without sidewalks, worried about kidnappers?..? My board colleagues immediately ditched the notion of cutting back on busing.? And it occurred to me that perhaps we are already well into the second generation of kids afraid to walk.? And so the obesity epidemic continues, with its many deleterious physical, emotional, and economic effects.? As a Times' headline today has it, Heavy in School, Burdened for Life. Three social scientists write that ?obesity affects not only health but also economic outcomes: overweight people have less success in the job market and make less money over the course of their careers?.? ?The researchers find that fat women are more prone to educational and economic disadvantage than fat men, but the point is that ?obesity is occurring in children at younger and younger ages, so prevention needs to start as early as primary school.?

Get out of the school buses, folks.

--Peter Meyer, Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow

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