Commuting to Poorer Health

Active transportation helps children reach recommended daily physical activity

(RxWiki News) Does your child ride the bus or get a lift from a friend to go to school? These might not be the best ways to go. It’s better for kids to walk or cycle to school.

Researchers found that children living in urban areas are more likely to get the daily physical activity they need from active transportation. Active transportation means that the child is exerting energy to get to school and excludes commuting by bus or car.

"Walk or cycle to school; its good for you."

Lead author, Roman Pabayo from the Research Centre of the University of Montreal Hospital Centre in Canada, found that children are more likely to walk or cycle to school if they live in an economically disadvantaged home, live in an urban area or have a single parent.

Researchers found that children are less likely to walk or cycle if there are no traffic lights and pedestrian crossings. The trend of children who use active transportation to get to school changed as students got older.

The study included nearly 8,000 children, who were followed from age 6 up to 11. Researchers found many factors that were linked to transportation choice like older siblings, nearby friends or conditions of routes that lead to school.

More research needs to be done to understand trends and factors influencing school transportation methods and to encourage more walking and cycling.

This research is published in the journal Pediatrics.

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Review Date: 
July 6, 2011