How do we communicate the impact of Safe Routes to School to state legislators? Lessons from the TCOPPE and 2013 Texas Health Perception Survey Projects
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs have been shown to increase children’s physical activity (PA) levels, but support for these transportation policies at the state legislative level has been mixed. We describe how results from the Texas Childhood Obesity Prevention Policy Evaluation (TCOPPE) and 2013 Texas Health Perception Surveys (TxHPS) studies are being used to inform state-level policies.
For TCOPPE, serial cross-sectional survey data were collected from 4th grade students and their parents in 81 schools across Texas, using validated questionnaires. Data were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance and the linear mixed-effects models procedure.
Surveys were administered to state legislators or their designate during the 83rd Texas Legislature for the 2013 TxHPS. Surveys were administered by hard copy, online, or by interview. Frequencies and means of data were reported.
TCOPPE data indicated that parents were more likely to let their child walk to school if there were fewer barriers, or if they perceived a more walkable environment. Results from TxHPS indicated although >60% of legislators thought transportation groups had no or a minor role in fighting obesity, >80% would somewhat or strongly support enhancing community environments to promote PA. These data were used to develop an infographic, with communication methods that legislators indicated were effective in reaching them. Several advocacy groups have embraced this document to support their work around the built environment and health.
Working with advocacy experts, researchers can develop communication tools that are factual, concise, and effective in translating research into practice.
Learning Areas:Environmental health sciences
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences
Describe the process for taking data from research projects and translating the information into easy-to-understand infographics. List key lessons learned for translating Safe Routes to School research into educational materials for policymakers and other stakeholders.
Keyword(s): Physical Activity, Policy/Policy Development
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am principal investigator for the 2 projects mentioned in the abstract. I work closely with the community to develop materials that translate research into practice. My scientific interests include nutrition and physical activity programs for children, families and their communities.
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.