Kids walking to, from school are healthier

August 19, 2005

Children who walk to school have higher overall daily physical activity levels compared with those who travel by car, bus or train, a British study says.

A study appearing this week in the online edition of the British Medical Journal suggests the findings are important for promoting healthy school and transport strategies.

Researchers measured moderate to vigorous physical activity among 92 pupils, ages 13 and 14, from four schools in the Edinburgh area of Scotland.

Pupils walking both ways accrued the most minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity, followed by those walking one way.

In all, the study showed 87 percent of pupils using a car, bus or train accumulated an average of 60 or more minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on weekdays, compared with 90 percent who walked one way and 100 percent of students walking both ways.

Reasons for increased physical activity may include differences in appreciation of activity. And walking in the morning may stimulate further activity and social facilitation, researchers suggest.

The study concludes that understanding the differences might enhance health-promoting school and transportation strategies.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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