245179 Factors associated with children's active transport to school: Baseline data from Safe Routes to School policy evaluation

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 12:50 PM

Tiffni Menendez, MPH , University of Texas School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus, Austin, TX
Alexandra Evans, PhD , Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, University of Texas School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus, Austin, TX
Deanna Hoelscher, PhD RD LD CNS , Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, University of Texas School of Public Health, Austin, TX
Marcia G. Ory, PhD, MPH , Social & Behavioral Health, Texas A&M HSC School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Purpose: Increasing active transport to school may be one strategy to increase physical activity, one of the risk factors for childhood obesity, among children. The purposes of this study was 1) to determine the percent of 4th grade elementary school students who use active transport to and from school (ACS) and 2) to determine which constructs are associated with children engaging in ACS.

Methods: In 2009, baseline data for a policy evaluation study (T-COPPE) was collected from 4th grade elementary students and their parents who were recruited through schools (n=81). ACS was measured using a validated method which involves children recording if they walked or biked to/from school. Demographic, environmental, behavioral, and psychosocial constructs associated with active transport (i.e. travel time to school, self-efficacy related to ACT, social norms) were measured using self-administered surveys.

Results: 3315 students completed study surveys. 12,167 children participated in the ACS count. Child participants were 50% girls, 76 % non-White, and 70% economically disadvantaged. Average travel time to school was ≤10 minutes for 79% of the children. 11% of children used ACS in the morning and 18% used ACS to get home in the afternoon. Significant factors associated with ACS included: having a friend who used ACS, higher self-efficacy in regard to ACS, and feeling that they could ask a parent to walk or bike to school.

Conclusion: Encouraging children to ACS with friends, teaching children asking behaviors and increasing children's self efficacy may be effective ways of increasing child ACS.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
At the end of this presentation, attendees will be able to discuss several factors that are significantly associated with children walking or biking to school.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the co-project director of this grant and have been involved with survey development, protocols, and data collection.
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.