England to pay parents to walk to school

Filed under: Opinions

A man on a scale in obvious distress at the reading.My son's school is a little over three miles from our house; according to Google Maps, it would take about an hour to walk there. Unfortunately, we don't have that kind of time in the morning nor could the kids handle such a trek and still have a productive day of learning. Nonetheless, walking to school is, if practical, a great idea. It saves money, reduces traffic congestion and smog, and provides exercise -- something we all need. In England, however, it may soon be something else as well: a source of income.

In a plan to reduce obesity, the government wants to pay people for exercising, including walking their kids to school. The Department of Health found that nearly ninety percent of parents whose children are overweight or obese failed to realize there was a problem. Parents would receive vouchers for sports equipment and healthy food as a reward for exercising.

The program also includes "unprecedented" agreements with the grocery stores Tesco and Asda to provide discounts on healthier food choices. "Ten million people visit their corner shops every day and 36 million shop at Asda and Tesco each week - the fact that grocers and supermarkets are on board means we can really influence what goes into our shopping trolleys," said Health Secretary Alan Johnson. "It's unprecedented for supermarkets to join the Government and pledge to cut prices on healthy food."

It seems to me that there is a lot of benefit to the program although I'm sure there will be plenty of criticism for "wasting" taxpayers' money. Still, since an overweight and obese citizenry is far more expensive to support, I suspect that -- if it works -- this program will actually save the government money. What do you think?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.