Travel To School: Rich Children Ride - Poor Children Walk

May 08, 1998

(Determinants of car travel on daily journeys to school: cross sectional survey of primary school children)

In this week's BMJ a study conducted in primary schools in the inner London boroughs of Camden and Islington, by DiGuiseppi et al from the Institute of Child Health analysed the methods of transport used for the daily journeys to school. They found that whilst most children (69 per cent) walked to school, 26 per cent travelled by car. Attendance at a private school, family car ownership and longer distances to travel to school, were the principal determinants of car travel.

Nine out of ten parents confessed to being worried about their child being abducted or hit by a car. Most children (61 per cent) were rarely or never allowed out without an adult.

DiGuiseppi et al conclude that policies to encourage children to attend nearby schools (to reduce car travel) and that address parental fears, could increase the number of children walking to school and reduce traffic congestion.

The annual distance walked by children has fallen by nearly one third (28 per cent) since 1972. Increased car use has been linked with obesity, adverse health effects in later life, limitations on children's independence, traffic congestion and pollution.

Contact:

Dr Carolyn DiGuiseppi, Senior Research Fellow, Child Health Monitoring Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Institute of Child Health, University College London Medical School, London C.DiGuiseppi@ich.ucl.ac.uk

or

Dr Ian Roberts, Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Child Health
-end-


BMJ

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