Some of the newest high schools built in the suburbs, where land/cash ordinances are fairly common, have rather large campuses while those in the city are typically built on compact sites (Table 4).
Table 4: Recently Built High Schools (Cost and Acreage)
* Currently being built
Large campuses can result in high schools that are located in areas that are not bicycle or pedestrian friendly. Schools that are not designed to encourage biking and walking contribute to a myriad of health related issues that are becoming increasingly prevalent in today's school children.
From 1980 to 2000, childhood obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 more than tripled, increasing from 5% to 17.1% (Ogden, Carroll, Curtin, McDowell, Tabak, Flegal) Children that are overweight are at increased risk for a number of health related issues such as: heart disease, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, diabetes, asthma, and social and psychological problems. As they grow older, these and other health problems only increase.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have conducted a number of studies and developed numerous recommendations to deal with significant increases in overweight children. Health concerns of kids, particularly related to childhood obesity, diabetes, and asthma has prompted the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and CDC to develop a program called Kids Walk-to-School that specifically addresses and encourages communities to increase physical activity in kids via biking and walking to school. In addition the U.S. DOT has developed a program, Safe Routes to School that is specifically designed to encourage walking and biking to school by funding projects that make walking and bicycling to school safe and enticing. The federal government provides 100% of the funding for the Safe Routes to School program.