Originally published at the Herald Sun on December 20, 2016. Published in print on December 21, 2016.

PRIMARY pupils walked more than 1.6 million km across Victoria in October, as a part of the Walk to School campaign.

With a third more students taking part in the VicHealth initiative’s 11th year, a record 144,928 students from 758 schools across the state walked to and from school.

VicHealth chief executive Jerril Rechter praised participants for getting active.

“The proportion of Victorian children walking to school has declined dramatically in recent decades and obesity levels are on the rise … so it’s important we try to turn those statistics around,” she said.

“Walking, scooting and riding to and from school helps children get the physical activity they need each day to be healthy and can kickstart heal­thy habits to set them up for a lifetime of a good health.”

The southeast triumphed as Victoria’s most active area with a total of 602,756 walks. Participating students walked an average 11km over the month, to and from school.

Five schools took out prizes for topping their region.

The lucky victors scored a clinic at their school with coaches from Melbourne City Football Club and a soccer kit.

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