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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Factors affecting active school travel: What students and parents tell us

Kathryn N. Ahlport, MSPH1, Laura A. Linnan, ScD, CHES2, Kelly Evenson, PhD3, Catherine Giles, MPH1, Sapana Parikh, MPH1, and Dianne Ward, EdD4. (1) Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1700 Airport Road, CB7426, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7426, 919-966-9402, kahlport@hotmail.com, (2) Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, UNC Chapel Hill School of Public Health, CB #7440, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7440, (3) Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bank of America Plaza, Suite 306, 137 East Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, (4) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB #7400, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7400

Lack of adequate physical activity is one factor contributing to the epidemic of childhood overweight in the United States. Although active travel to school can provide a regular source of physical activity for some children, less than one third of school trips are made by walking among children who live a mile or less from school. Twelve focus groups were conducted to gather detailed information from both parents and children about: (1) perceptions of facilitators of and barriers to active school travel; and (2) suggestions for developing interventions to increase walking and biking to school. Thirty-seven fourth and fifth-grade students in NC elementary schools and their parents who are not provided bus service because of their home’s proximity to school participated in the focus groups. Parents and children were divided into separate parent and child focus groups by active travel status. Results revealed that a physical environment infrastructure (sidewalks, crosswalks, and crossing guards) supporting active travel to school is necessary but not sufficient for encouraging active travel to school. Parent motivation, parent work schedules, the weight and amount of items students must carry to and from school, and the availability of someone to walk with the child are additional factors that influence active travel decisions. Parents of non-active travelers reported more extreme fear of abduction and accidents compared to parents of active travelers. Suggestions for encouraging active school travel include school recognition and reward programs, adding more crossing guards and a variety of ideas for special promotions.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Physical Activity, Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Political Economy of Health

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA