219403 Perceptions of walkability: Implications for walk-to-school programs

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 9:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Melanie Goodell, MPH , College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR
Martha M. Phillips, PhD, MPH, MBA , College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR
Blake A. Talbot, MPH , College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR
Britni Mitchell, BS, CHES , College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR
Jennifer Montgomery, BS , College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR
Jada Walker, MEd , College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR
The Act 1220 Evaluation is a multi-year project studying the impact of ground-breaking legislation the Arkansas General Assembly passed in 2003. In early 2009, the Evaluation team conducted in-depth assessments of 113 schools throughout the state. One component of these studies was an assessment of the surrounding neighborhoods' walkability, as reported by school principals. Principals separately reported the percentage of students regularly choosing various forms of transportation. Analyses show that in non-rural environments, there is a significant association between the percentage of students who walk to school and some measures of perceived walkability, e.g., having room to walk (p=0.05) and how easy it is to follow safety rules (p=0.0032). In rural environments, principals' perception of walkability had no measurable effect upon students walking to school. In addition, perception of the pleasantness of the school's neighborhood and how well drivers behave had no correlation with students walking to school in either environment. This presentation will examine specific elements that correlate with greater percentages of children walking to school, which factors principals identified as those that need the most improvement, and implications for the implementation of walk-to-school programs.

Learning Areas:
Program planning
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify factors associated with increased numbers of students walking to school. List specific factors cited by principals as problems that impede walkability. Evaluate the potential implications that principalsí perceptions have for walk-to-school programs.

Keywords: School Health, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a MPH-level Research Assistant working with the Act 1220 Evaluation Project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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