A Cross-Sectional Study of Demographic, Environmental, and Parental Barriers to Active School Travel Among Children in the United States

Parental concerns are important predictors of child participation in active transportation to school, highlighting the importance of engaging parents in interventions like Safe Routes to School to promote walking and biking to school.

  • At the school level, parents’ perceived barriers concerning safety and weather and child’s resistance had a negative association with active school travel.
  • At the school level, higher percentages of Hispanic students, walk/bikeability scores, and parents’ perceived suitability of the route were associated with greater participation in active transportation to school.
  • This article uses data from the National Evaluation of Walk to School (WTS) Project, which gathered surveys from 4th and 5th grade children and their parents from 18 schools in 9 states.
  • Measures included child self-reprted mode of school travel during the previous weeks, parent and child perceived barriers and social norms of active travel, and school-level descriptive variables like enrollment, race/ethnicity, and percent participation in free and reduced lunch. The school physical environment was measured by the Walkability and Bikeability Suitability Assessment (WABSA) and temperature.

Chillon, P., Hales, D., Vaughn, A., Gizlice, Z., Ni, A., & Ward, D.S. (2014). A cross-sectional study of demographic, environmental and parental barriers to active school travel among children in the United States. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 11:61.

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