Location: Children's Nutrition Research CenterTitle: Impact of a pilot Walking School Bus intervention on children's pedestrian safety behaviors [abstract]) Author
Submitted to: Pediatric Academic Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/11/2011
Publication Date: 4/1/2011
Citation: Mendoza, J.A., Watson, K., Baranowski, T., Nicklas, T.A., Uscanga, D.K., Hanfling, M.J. 2011. Impact of a pilot Walking School Bus intervention on children's pedestrian safety behaviors [abstract]. In: Program Guide of the Pediatric Academic Societies and Asian Society for Pediatric Research 2011 Joint Meeting, April 30-May 3, 2011, Denver, Colorado. p. 135. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Walking School Bus (WSB) programs have increased children's active commuting to school and physical activity; however, the impact on child pedestrian safety behaviors has not been studied. Our study objective was to evaluate the impact of a WSB program on children's pedestrian safety behaviors. We conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial among 4th grade students (n=149) from 8 low-income, elementary schools in Houston, TX. The intervention was a WSB program in which children walked to and from school chaperoned by adults. Randomization was at the school level. Outcomes were measured prior to the intervention (Time 1, n=1252) and during weeks 4-5 of the intervention (Time 2, n=1296). Measurements were on child pedestrians of any grade level for 5 behaviors: crossed at a corner/crosswalk, crossed with an adult/safety patrol, stopped at the curb, looked left-right-left, and walked across the street. To determine differences for each of the children's pedestrian safety behaviors, generalized mixed model analyses were used with school as a random and time as fixed effects. The generalized mixed model analyses yielded significant group by time effects for the WSB on 3 of the pedestrian safety behaviors: (1) crossing at a corner or crosswalk, children at the intervention school had a relative increase of 12.3% versus controls (p<0.001); (2) crossing with an adult or safety patrol, children at the intervention school had a relative increase of 9.5% versus controls (p<0.001); and (3) stopping at the curb, children at the intervention school had a relative decrease of 24.1% versus controls (p<0.001), although the proportion stopping at the curb at Time 2 was similar between groups. Among students at the intervention school at Time 2, students who were part of a WSB had a higher number of pedestrian safety behaviors than non-WSB students (4.6 +/- 0.6 vs. 3.2 +/- 0.9, p<0.0001). Preliminary evidence supports the WSB as improving some of the children's pedestrian safety behaviors.