Students participate in walk to school day

Wednesday is Walk to School day, an idea being promoted as a way to keep students healthy and safe. Organizers says the percentage of students walking or bicycling to school in the United States dropped from 41 percent in 1969 to 13 percent in 2001.

Obesity among children, meanwhile, increased from 6.5 percent in 1980 to 19.6 percent in 2008. Proponents say walking and bicycling are healthy physical activities that stimulate brain development.

Elementary school students in the southwestern Nebraska town of Maywood and the northeast town of Hartington will walk to school being led by their respective school mascots. The event marks the 14th International Walk to School Day.

Organizers say the event started with one Chicago school and has grown to millions of participants.