Children are leading and we all should follow them

A fixed-odds gambling machine Picture: Daniel Hambury/PA Wire

NEWS COMMENT: A move in the right direction but still not a win for all

In many ways there's no excuse for pupils in Portsmouth not to walk or cycle to school. We're lucky that our city is flat and our schools are central, making them fairly easy to reach.

Nevertheless, it's still great to hear that record numbers of children are getting to school under their own steam, either by foot or bike. And that the number of pupils here doing that is higher than anywhere else in England.

It's a great achievement, especially as this city doesn't always do so well when it comes to other figures relating to health matters.

We're often told that Portsmouth and our surrounding towns have high levels of obesity and that there are far too many smokers in the area.

But it seems that our young people can be an example to us – and many people deserve a pat on the back for that.

Our schools, headteachers and their staff have done a great job in making sure that pupils are encouraged to walk.

At Charter Academy that means having teachers manning the gates and patrolling the nearby area. That's the commitment it makes to enabling pupils to walk in – and its reward comes in knowing that 325 of their 370 pupils do that.

Parents and their children have also shown a willingness to get involved and the city council has supported initiatives such as the walking bus scheme.

Of course lollipop men and women do a great deal in making sure that our children get to school safely and that parents feel confident about letting them walk.

There are lots of ways to lead a healthier lifestyle and many of them don't involve working up a sweat in the gym, or going on drastic diets.

The Easy Freezy campaign – backed wholeheartedly by The News – is all about making home-cooked food and freezing it for another day.

It is common sense really but by making small changes to our lifestyles it really is possible to lead a healthier life.

Our school children are putting their best foot forward to make an important change.

And where they lead, we must now follow.