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On your bike: School kids needed for new ‘Healthy Towns’ obesity project

Students across the region are being asked to put their best foot forward as part of a new study aimed at tackling school-aged obesity.

The Healthy Towns project is looking at safer and healthier ways for students to commute – and they need 50 children to take part.

Starting this month, youngsters (and their parents) will lace on their walking shoes or set off on two wheels instead of four, documenting their walk or ride.

University of Southern Queensland’s Associate Professor Tracy Kolbe-Alexander is leading the project.

She said it was a chance for school kids to point out what helps or hinders their choice to walk or cycle, improving their fitness while also helping the environment.

“The collective project would involve participants taking discovery walks using the Our Voice Discovery app to record photos and provide comments describing things that make it easier or harder to travel by foot or bike to school, parks and other locations,” Associate Professor Kolbe said.

Healthy Towns is a joint project with Toowoomba Regional Council, Safer Toowoomba Regional Partnerships (Obesity Prevention Focus Group), Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE), the Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN and Stanford University.

Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said it was pleasing to see more of the community getting involved.

“I’m encouraged by projects such as the Healthy Towns initiative, which is calling on children and their families to participate in a project that is aimed at making life easier for residents to incorporate walking, cycling and more physical activity in their daily routines,” Mayor Antonio said.

10 children in Year 5 (and one parent/guardian each) from Highfields, Cambooya, Wilsonton, Harristown and Oakey are needed to take part.

Project participants will:

  • Be trained as a citizen scientist;
  • Download the Our Voice Discovery Tool app on their smartphone;
  • Take a ‘discovery walk’ and record photos and comments using the Discovery Tool app, describing things that make it easier or harder to be more active, exercise, walk or ride in their neighbourhood;
  • Join fellow citizen scientists to discuss and analyse findings; and
  • Present ideas for improvement to local leaders.

Participants will go in the draw to win a Healthy & Active pack valued at $200, including a Fitbit, healthy cookbooks, a backpack, bike equipment and water bottle.

For more details, contact Tracy Kolbe-Alexander (P: 07 3812 6178), E: mailto:tracy.kolbe-alexander@usq.edu.au) or visit www.tr.qld.gov.au/healthytowns.

Registrations close in December.

Woman smiling
Professor Tracy Kolbe-Alexander is leading the Healthy Towns project, aimed at tackling school-aged obesity.