Poor kids bike, walk to school more often: Study

July 9, 2011 - 0:0

Kids, in general, aren't getting enough exercise, but a new Canadian study shows low-income city kids are most likely to walk or bike to school.

Researchers surveyed 7,690 public school kids across Canada and asked parents how their children get to school. The researchers wanted to learn how wealth, location, and other factors influence physical activity.
Dr. Roman Pabayo of the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre says if researchers can better understand ""the factors that influence how children get to school, they may be able to encourage more families to bike or walk to school, leading to lifelong healthy behaviors.""
Researchers call it ""active transportation"" and say it's a cheap and easy way to get children more active, rather than taking a school bus or getting a ride.
Pabayo said the study may eventually help to answer many questions.
""Why are children from Saskatchewan and Manitoba the most likely to use active transport at a given point in their lives? What about children from poorer backgrounds? Why are there different patterns as children age across socio-demographic and regional lines?""
Children aged six to 16 were followed through the school year. The survey shows kids bike and walk to school more and more until age 10, then it decreases as they get older.
Children with many friends in their area or who have older siblings are also more likely to bike or walk to school.
Further study is needed to determine why these trends exist, Pabayo said.
The study was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. (Source: torontosun.com)