Submitted to: International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2008
Publication Date: 5/1/2008
Citation: Mendoza, J.A., Levinger, D., Johnston, B. 2008. Pilot evaluation of a walking school bus program in a low-income urban community [abstract]. Seventh Annual Conference of the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, May 21-24, 2008, Banff, Alberta, Canada. p. 132. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: To evaluate the impact of a walking school bus (WSB) program on the proportion of students walking to school in a low-income, urban neighborhood, we conducted a controlled, quasi-experimental trial in urban, socioeconomically disadvantaged, public elementary schools (one intervention and two control schools) in Seattle, Washington, USA. The participants were ethnically diverse students in kindergarten through 5th grade. The intervention was a WSB program, conducted by a part-time WSB coordinator and parent volunteers. The main outcomes were students' method of transportation to school as determined by a classroom survey at baseline and one-year follow-up. We used a test of independent proportions to compare the proportion of students transported to school at the intervention versus control schools at each time point. At baseline, the proportions of students walking to the intervention or control schools did not differ (P>0.05). At 12-month follow up, higher proportions of students walked to school at the intervention school versus the control schools (17.7%, 95% CI [12.1, 23.2], P<0.0001). Comparing baseline to 12-month measurements, the intervention school had a decrease in the proportion of students driven by car to school (-13.3%, 95% CI [-21.2, -5.4] P=0.001); while the control schools experienced no change in transport by car (P>0.05), but had a decrease in the proportion who walked to school (-7.5%, 95% CI [-12.0, -3.0], P=0.002). A WSB program is a promising intervention among urban, low-income elementary school students to promote favorable changes toward active transport to school.