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Promoting walking to school: results of a quasi-experimental trial

McKee, Rosie and Mutrie, Nanette and Crawford, Fiona and Green, Brian (2007) Promoting walking to school: results of a quasi-experimental trial. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 61 (9). pp. 818-823. ISSN 0143-005X

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Abstract

Aims to assess the impact of a combined intervention on children's travel behaviour, stage of behavioural change and motivations for and barriers to actively commuting to school. A quasi-experimental trial involving pre- and post-intervention mapping of routes to school by active and inactive mode of travel and surveys of "stage of behaviour change" and motivations for and barriers to actively commuting to school. The intervention school participated in a school-based active travel project for one school term. Active travel was integrated into the curriculum and participants used interactive travel-planning resources at home. The control school participated in before and after measurements but did not receive the intervention. Setting: Two primary schools in Scotland with similar socioeconomic and demographic profiles. Two classes of primary 5 children and their families and teachers. Main results: Post intervention, the mean distance travelled to school by walking by intervention children increased significantly from baseline, from 198 to 772 m (389% increase). In the control group mean distance walked increased from 242 to 285 m (17% increase). The difference between the schools was significant (t (38) = 4.679, p<0.001 (95% confidence interval 315 to 795 m)). Post intervention, the mean distance travelled to school by car by intervention children reduced significantly from baseline, from 2018 to 933 m (57.5% reduction). The mean distance travelled to school by car by control children increased from baseline, from 933 to 947 m (1.5% increase). The difference in the change between schools was significant (t (32) = 4.282, p<0.001 (95% confidence interval 445 to 1255 m)). Intervention was effective in achieving an increase in the mean distance travelled by active mode and a reduction in the mean distance travelled by inactive mode on school journey.