Anna E. Mathews, Delores Pluto, Olga Ogoussan and Jorge Banda
When promoting active travel to school, it is important to consider school and district policies as well as attitudes of school and district administrators.
School principals and district officials in South Carolina participated in the School Travel Survey. Frequency distributions and Chi-squared tests were used to analyze the data.
Three hundred fourteen persons responded to the survey (53.2% response rate). Sixty-five percent of district officials reported having a clear position about students walking to school, 80.0% of which were supportive. Seventy-two percent of principals reported having a clear position about walking to school, 67% of which were supportive. These positions were most commonly communicated either orally or through memos or other written documentation rather than through official, written policies or directives. Respondents who personally supported walking to school were more likely to believe that walking to school benefited students' health (χ2 = 8.82, df = 1, P = .003) and academic performance (χ2 = 14.87, df = 1, P < .0001).
Promotion of walking to school should encourage schools and districts to develop official, written directives or policies. Promotional efforts may benefit from linking active travel to academic performance and health.
Anna E. Mathews, Natalie Colabianchi, Brent Hutto, Delores M. Pluto and Steve P. Hooker
The objectives of this study were to assess (1) pedestrian activity levels among adults, (2) where and why adults engage in pedestrian activity, and (3) what adults consider when deciding where to engage in pedestrian activity.
Pedestrian activity was assessed in 12,036 California adults, ≥18 years, using a random digit-dial telephone survey.
Significant differences were identified by race, sex, age, and physical activity level in the type, location, and purpose of pedestrian activities. Men engage in pedestrian activity at work, and women engage in pedestrian activity while escorting children to school and running errands. Whites primarily engage in leisure-time pedestrian activity, and non-whites are more likely to engage in pedestrian activity for transportation. Older adults were less active than their younger counterparts.
These findings should be considered by public health agencies and their partners as they continue to increase and promote opportunities for pedestrian activity. Additional research is needed to assess older adults’ physical activity patterns and preferences, barriers, and facilitators to effectively tailor physical activity promotion efforts to this at-risk group.
Ross C. Brownson, Cheryl M. Kelly, Amy A. Eyler, Cheryl Carnoske, Lisa Grost, Susan L. Handy, Jay E. Maddock, Delores Pluto, Brian A. Ritacco, James F. Sallis and Thomas L. Schmid
Environmental and policy approaches are promising strategies to raise population-wide rates of physical activity; yet, little attention has been paid to the development and prioritization of a research agenda on these topics that will have relevance for both researchers and practitioners.
Using input from hundreds of researchers and practitioners, a research agenda was developed for promoting physical activity through environmental and policy interventions. Concept mapping was used to develop the agenda.
Among those who brainstormed ideas, 42% were researchers and 33% were practitioners. The data formed a concept map with 9 distinct clusters. Based on ratings by both researchers and practitioners, the policy research cluster on city planning and design emerged as the most important, with economic evaluation second.
Our research agenda sets the stage for new inquiries to better understand the environmental and policy influences on physical activity.