Perceived barriers to walking to school among parents of 8-9 year old children

David McMinn, Norah M. Nelson, Shemane Murtagh, David A. Rowe

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


PURPOSE: To identify parents' perceived socio-economic, environmental, planning, and safety barriers to walking to school among their children. METHODS: Participants were elementary school children (n = 136, 57% male) and one of their parents (n = 136) from 5 elementary schools representing high and low socio-economic status areas according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. Parents provided information on their employment, housing status, and car ownership, and completed a previously validated tool for measuring perceived barriers to walking to school (Forman et al., 2008). Children self-reported their usual mode of travel to school. Potential barriers were compared between walkers and non-walkers using descriptive statistics. Univariate binary logistic regression was used to identify which barriers were related to walking to school. Significant predictors were entered into a multivariate binary logistic regression model, controlled for clustering at the school level. RESULTS: 67% of children walked to school. 60% of children came from a home with at least one income and 72% of households had at least one car. 57% of children lived within 1 mile of their school. Gender and socio-economic factors did not significantly (p >.05) predict travel mode. In univariate logistic regression, the odds of walking to school were increased when parents did not perceive the following as being barriers (Odds Ratio, 95% CI): Distance (4.7, 2.1 - 10.5); Hills on route (7.9, 1.5 - 41.5); Too much traffic (4.6, 1.9 - 11.0); Dangerous crossings (3.1, 1.2 - 7.7); Too much stuff to carry (2.8, 1.1 - 7.0); Easier to drive (7.9, 3.3 - 18.8); Too far (3.4, 1.2 - 9.6). The multivariate model significantly predicted walking to school (c2 (df = 8) = 45.2, p < 0.001). Only 3 variables were significant in the multivariate model: Distance (4.5, 1.4 - 14.2); Hills on route (14.0, 1.8 - 111.2); Easier to drive (6.7, 2.3 - 19.2). CONCLUSIONS: The majority of children walked to school. Many barriers were nonsignificant. Further research with those who walk and have low barriers may inform behavior change strategies for non-walkers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2010
EventProceedings of the 57th annual meeting & 1st world congress on Exercise is Medicine® - Baltimore, Maryland, USA, 1-5 June, 2010, Baltimore, United States
Duration: 1 Jun 20105 Jun 2010


ConferenceProceedings of the 57th annual meeting & 1st world congress on Exercise is Medicine®
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Presented at: Assessment and Promotion of Physical Activity in School Children: 3 June, 2010.


Dive into the research topics of 'Perceived barriers to walking to school among parents of 8-9 year old children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this