Due to my recent commuting schedule and location, I’ve had the chance to observe what I think of as “school rush hour” in northern Utah County, where dozens upon dozens of parents clog the streets bringing their kids to school.
And as it turns out, those parents are likely doing their children a major disservice.
The Davis Enterprise reported last month that kids who get rides to school have decreased learning ability while those who walk or bike can concentrate better.
The study investigated the connections between diet, exercise and the ability to concentrate for school students of all ages. Among its many results, one really stood out: Children have less concentration if they do not exercise on the way to school.
The children were asked to answer questions about their exercise behavior and complete a simple concentration test (one such exercise involved putting together a puzzle composed of face pieces) and they were scored for correctness.
Children who made the trip to school by themselves performed far better than those who were transported to school by car or public transportation (bus or train).
These findings seem initiative, even obvious, yet everyday I see school parking lots clogged with people driving their kids to school. And of course that kind of behavior also exacerbates things like the inversion, creating other long-term health problems.
People deploy many excuses for driving kids to school. But even if kids have to walk the proverbial “uphill both ways in the snow” it isn’t actually that hard to go on foot. (Housing that makes walking impossible is a whole other, and bigger, problem.) And ultimately, most people in Provo and Utah County live within walking distance of an elementary school. For those people, it’s worth keeping in mind that kids are literally handicapped by giving them that ride in the morning.