Factors Influencing whether Children Walk to School

Document Type



Claremont Graduate University

Publication Date



Medicine and Health Sciences


Few studies have simultaneously evaluated multiple levels of influence on whether children walk to school. A large cohort of 4338 subjects from 10 communities was used to identify the determinants of walking through (1) a one-level logistic regression model for individual-level variables and (2) a two-level mixed regression model for individual and school-level variables. Walking rates were positively associated with home-to-school proximity, greater age, and living in neighborhoods characterized by lower traffic density. Greater land use mix around the home was, however, associated with lower rates of walking. Rates of walking to school were also higher amongst recipients of the Free and Reduced Price Meals Program and attendees of schools with higher percentage of English language learners. Designing schools in the same neighborhood as residential districts should be an essential urban planning strategy to reduce walking distance to school. Policy interventions are needed to encourage children from higher socioeconomic status families to participate in active travel to school and to develop walking infrastructures and other measures that protect disadvantaged children.

Rights Information

© 2013 Elsevier Ltd