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Walnut Elementary walks for health
walk pic
Modesto Nuts mascot, Al the Almond, appears at the Walnut Elementary Walk to School event, encouraging students to get up and get moving.

Despite a slight spattering of rain, hundreds of students from Walnut Elementary made a one mile trek to campus Wednesday to boost their overall health.

The students were taking part in Walnut’s annual “Walk to School” event, which aims to promote activity in children. The students were joined by parents and teachers as they made their march from Cornerstone Covenant Church to the campus. “Al the Almond,” the Modesto Nuts Minor League Baseball team mascot joined the walk and occasionally broke out a few dance moves along the way.

“The idea is to symbolize good health and overall wellness,” said Walnut Elementary Principal Mark Holmes.

The initial “Walk to School” event was held three years ago and drew between 20 and 50 students. This year’s numbers are estimated at over 600, including students and parents, according to Ken Oyer, the Health and Wellness Chair for Walnut’s parent teacher association, who helped spearhead the event.

“It wasn’t only fun. It is teaching us that exercise is good for us and our body needs it,” Oyer said.

A study from the California Center for Public Health Advocacy found Stanislaus County had a childhood obesity rate of 40.71 percent in 2010. Events such as the “Walk to School” are aiming to bring that rate lower.

Pediatrician Sunita Saini joined in the festivities and explained to the students that a healthy heart needs to beat more than 100,000 times a day and in order to keep it healthy, 60 minutes of activity is needed.

“This can even include busting a move at home” Sainti said.