Walk to School: Learnings from a decade-long active travel program
ISPAH ePoster Library. Rechter J. 10/15/18; 225415; 13714
Jerril Rechter
Jerril Rechter
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Abstract IntroductionWalk to School is an annual program promoting active travel to and from Victorian primary schools.Funded by VicHealth since 2006, program scope has broadened over time from a single day to a month in order to increase reach and create a stronger foundation for sustainable behaviour change.The program delivered through primary schools, with local government support to make active travel easy, safe and accessible.MethodLocal government and school participation are captured through administrative data. Student daily active travel participation is recorded on classroom calendars.Quantitative survey data are collected each year from carers of primary school children pre- and post-program to determine program impact on behaviour, attitudes and perceptions related to active travel. ResultsProgram participation has steadily grown over the years with over 2 million walks recorded in 2017 by over 140,000 students from 759 schools across 61 local government areas. Active transport levels have been consistently shown to significantly increase following the program, with perceptions of active travel as a positive and beneficial behaviour higher amongst carers of participating children. Distance from school is a predictor of participation, yet program impact is stronger among children living further from school. Discussion/implicationsOur ongoing evaluation approach enables us to make iterative changes to program design addressing barriers to participation.This successful program is helping a generation of Victorian children establish healthy habits for life, and provides an annual opportunity for local government and schools to dedicate attention to health promotion for young people and their families.
Abstract IntroductionWalk to School is an annual program promoting active travel to and from Victorian primary schools.Funded by VicHealth since 2006, program scope has broadened over time from a single day to a month in order to increase reach and create a stronger foundation for sustainable behaviour change.The program delivered through primary schools, with local government support to make active travel easy, safe and accessible.MethodLocal government and school participation are captured through administrative data. Student daily active travel participation is recorded on classroom calendars.Quantitative survey data are collected each year from carers of primary school children pre- and post-program to determine program impact on behaviour, attitudes and perceptions related to active travel. ResultsProgram participation has steadily grown over the years with over 2 million walks recorded in 2017 by over 140,000 students from 759 schools across 61 local government areas. Active transport levels have been consistently shown to significantly increase following the program, with perceptions of active travel as a positive and beneficial behaviour higher amongst carers of participating children. Distance from school is a predictor of participation, yet program impact is stronger among children living further from school. Discussion/implicationsOur ongoing evaluation approach enables us to make iterative changes to program design addressing barriers to participation.This successful program is helping a generation of Victorian children establish healthy habits for life, and provides an annual opportunity for local government and schools to dedicate attention to health promotion for young people and their families.
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