Evaluation of a walking school bus for promoting physical activity in youth

Catherine A Heelan, Bryce M. Abbey, Joseph E. Donnelly, Matthew S. Mayo, Gregory J. Welk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background Walking to and from school has potential to increase daily physical activity among children. Methods A Walking School Bus (WSB) intervention was implemented for 2 years in 2 schools with a third school as a control. The primary aim evaluated school-wide prevalence of walking to school by self-report 6 times (fall, winter, spring). The secondary aims compared objective physical activity levels among a subsample of research participants (intervention [INT] = 2012 control [CON] =123) and between frequency of walking to school groups. INT and CON participants wore an accelerometer during 4 time periods to assess daily physical activity and were measured for body mass index (BMI) and body fat each fall and spring. Results School-wide prevalence of walking to school frequently (>50% of the time each week) was 27% higher in the WSB schools than in the control school. INT obtained significantly more daily physical activity than CON (78.0 [38.9] vs 60.6 [27.7] min/d, P < .05). In addition, across all schools, frequent walkers obtained 25% more physical activity (P < .05), gained 58% less body fat (P < .05), and attenuated BMI by 50% (P < .05) compared with passive commuters. Conclusion This study suggests a WSB intervention may increase frequency of walking to school and establishes a link with increased daily physical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)560-567
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Volume6
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2009

Fingerprint

Motor Vehicles
Walking
Exercise
Adipose Tissue
Body Mass Index
Walkers
Self Report

Keywords

  • Active commuting
  • BMI
  • Children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Cite this

Evaluation of a walking school bus for promoting physical activity in youth. / Heelan, Catherine A; Abbey, Bryce M.; Donnelly, Joseph E.; Mayo, Matthew S.; Welk, Gregory J.

In: Journal of Physical Activity and Health, Vol. 6, No. 5, 09.2009, p. 560-567.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Heelan, Catherine A ; Abbey, Bryce M. ; Donnelly, Joseph E. ; Mayo, Matthew S. ; Welk, Gregory J. / Evaluation of a walking school bus for promoting physical activity in youth. In: Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 2009 ; Vol. 6, No. 5. pp. 560-567.
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