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J Phys Act Health. 2009 May;6(3):281-8.

Promotion of walking for transportation: a report from the Walk to School day registry.

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  • 1Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA.



In the US, promoting active transportation to school has received increased attention as a means of encouraging physical activity and preventing obesity among youth. However, little systematic evaluation of existing programs, such as Walk to School (WTS), has occurred.


WTS coordinators from across the US were surveyed (via web, mail, and telephone) about program activities, school and environmental characteristics, and perceived changes in children walking to school. As an exploratory aim, logistic regression analyses were used to examine program characteristics associated with perceived increases in children walking.


From a database of 783 coordinators, 493 usable surveys were returned. Almost all respondents (98.2%) participated in a one-day WTS event. Other common activities included promotional activities (72.7%), safety trainings (49.6%), walkability audits (48.5%), and designated safe walking routes (46.5%). As part of their WTS efforts, 24.4% made policy changes and 38.4% made changes to the physical environment. Logistic regression analyses showed that policy changes, physical environment improvements, and number of activities were associated with the largest perceived increased in children walking to school.


These findings help address the gap in knowledge about schools' participation in WTS programs, and suggest strategies to increase active transportation to school.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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