Children’s Active Commuting to School: Current Knowledge and Future Directions

This article summarizes research on predictors and health consequences of active commuting to school and evaluates programs specific to children’s walking and bicycling to school, including Safe Routes to School.

  • Research demonstrates that children who walk or bicycle to school have higher daily levels of physical activity and better cardiovascular fitness than do children who do not actively commute to school.
  • A review of the literature identifies a wide range of predictors of children’s active commuting behaviors, including demographic factors, individual and family factors, school factors (including the immediate area surrounding schools), and social and physical environmental factors.
  • Safe Routes to School and the Walking School Bus are two public health efforts that promote walking and bicycling to school.
  • Evidence suggests that these activities are viewed positively by key stakeholders and have positive effects on children’s active commuting to school.

Davison, Kirsten K., Werder, Jessica L. and Lawson, Catherine T. “Children’s Active Commuting to School: Current Knowledge and Future Directions.” Preventing Chronic Disease. 5.3 (2008): A100.

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