234940 Walking School Bus and its impact on BMI

Monday, October 31, 2011: 10:30 AM

Janette Quarles, DrPH Candidate, MPH, CPH, MA, CCC/SLP , College of Public Health, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Tulsa, OK
Background: When school budgets require cuts to bus services, more parents drive children to school due to safety concerns. Purpose: Society benefits with opportunities for physical activity within normal daily routines. For children, a normal daily routine is the trip to and from school. Significance: Since 1970, obesity prevalence has more than quadrupled in ages 6-11. Methods: Quasi-experimental in design, schools with a Walking School Bus measured pre- and post-BMI in 1102 cases and controls ages 5-12. A parent questionnaire evaluated dose response, contributors or barriers to a child's active commute, and confounders such as the child's physical activity during leisure. Results: The provision of an adult-chaperoned walk-to-school program increased the percentage of children actively commuting to school, as compared to the national average, p < .0005 (one-tailed)(SPSS Nonparametric Binomial), and reduced BMI, z = - 10.125, p < .0005 (two-tailed)(Wilcoxon Signed Rank). 65% of obese students who actively commuted to school were no longer obese in post-testing. 47% of overweight students who actively commuted to school were within the healthy weight category in post-testing. The number needed to treat was 6 indicating that one case of obesity or overweight was prevented when six students actively commuted to school. Conclusions: The Walking School Bus significantly increased the percentage of children actively commuting to school and childhood overweight significantly reduced in students who walked or biked to school. The Walking School Bus was sufficient to overcome many barriers to the active commute to school.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe at least two variables that affect dose response in an active commute. Identify two primary barriers to a child's opportunity to actively commute to school. Identify two primary contributors to a child's opportunity to actively commute to school.

Keywords: Obesity, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Chair of School Wellness Policy, Oklahoma Safe Routes to School Network; Legislative Committee, Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition, Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy; Advocacy Committee, American Heart Association; Tulsa Mayor's Fitness Challenge Committee; Past research: Impact on BMI in Anderson Elementary Students in the Eat, Exercise, Excel Pilot; Former Special Education Director, Liberty Mounds Public Schools; Master's Degree in Education/Speech Pathology; Have presented at many state and national conferences in Education and Speech Pathology.
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.