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Health Promot J Austr. 2005 Aug;16(2):100-6.

Process evaluation of the New South Wales Walk Safely to School Day.

Author information

  • 1NSW Centre for Physical Activity and Health, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, New South Wales. dafnam@health.usyd.edu.au

Abstract

ISSUES ADDRESSED:

Concerns about the contribution of lower physical activity by children on levels of childhood obesity have driven the search for interventions that encourage lifestyle physical activity by school-aged children.

METHOD:

This paper describes the evaluation of the New South Wales (NSW) Walk Safely To School Day (WSTSD), an event repeated annually on the first Friday in April from 2001 to 2004. Paid media advertising before the event promoted WSTSD. All primary schools in NSW were invited to participate. The evaluation included monitoring of schools registering to participate over four years, and in 2002 evaluation feedback from schools as well as a population-based telephone survey of randomly selected parents of primary school-aged children.

RESULTS:

By 2004, 53% of all primary schools in NSW had participated at least once in WSTSD and 15% had participated for at least three years. Participating schools linked WSTSD to road safety curricula, and 59% of schools also talked about WSTSD at school assemblies, but few (7%) organised walking-related activities. Parents reported that one-quarter (24%) of NSW primary school-aged students participated in WSTSD activities, including an additional 31% more children walking to school on WSTSD than would normally walk on a Friday.

CONCLUSION:

Walk Safely To School Day resulted in a moderate short-term change in walking behaviour. High levels of in-principle support from parents indicate that greater participation in walking to school is possible, but will require stronger interventions to overcome the barriers identified by parents and to maintain changes.

PMID:
16130583
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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