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Prev Med. 2008 Dec;47(6):612-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.09.002. Epub 2008 Sep 16.

Increasing active travel to school: are we on the right track? A cluster randomised controlled trial from Sydney, Australia.

Author information

  • 1Health Promotion Service, Sydney South West Area Health Service Level 9, King George V Building, Missenden Road, Camperdown NSW 2050 Australia. lmwen@email.cs.nsw.gov.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the effectiveness of a program to increase walking to and from school.

DESIGN:

A cluster randomised controlled trial.

SETTING:

24 primary public schools in inner west Sydney, Australia.

PARTICIPANTS:

1996 students aged 10-12 years and their parents.

INTERVENTION:

A two-year multi-component program included classroom activities, development of school Travel Access Guides, parent newsletters and improving environments with local councils.

MEASURES:

Two measures were used: a survey completed by students on how they travelled to and from school over five days, and a survey completed by their parents on how their child travelled to and from school in a usual week.

RESULTS:

The percentage of students who walked to and from school increased in both the intervention and control schools. Data from parent surveys found that 28.8% of students in the intervention group increased their walking, compared with 19% in the control group (a net increase of 9.8%, p=0.05). However this effect was not evident in the student data.

CONCLUSION:

The study produced a mixed result, with a high variation in travel patterns from school to school. Intervention research should address the complexity of multiple factors influencing student travel to school with a focus on changing local environments and parents' travel to work.

PMID:
18835404
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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