Implementation of a walking school bus: lessons learned.
BACKGROUND: Obesity is rapidly becoming the most common chronic medical condition affecting children. To address this crisis, an Albuquerque, New Mexico, elementary school partnered with University of New Mexico researchers and conducted a Walking School Bus (WSB). The purpose of this article is to examine the feasibility of implementing a WSB.
METHODS: This pilot study featured 2 WSBs conducted for 10 weeks with kindergarten through fifth-grade students from a predominantly Hispanic elementary school. Qualitative and quantitative data, including coordinator field notes, attendance records, surveys of student and parent satisfaction, and a focus group, were used to evaluate feasibility.
RESULTS: Student and adult participants expressed a high degree of enthusiasm regarding their involvement in the WSB. Participants uniformly indicated that the WSB provided a supportive and safe environment to promote social interaction and physical activity. Conducting a WSB in an urban, underserved school district is feasible but requires attention to ensure participants' involvement and safety. In particular, it is recommended to begin the planning process early to enhance investment from key stakeholders.
CONCLUSION: Effective, low-cost interventions are increasingly desired as solutions to the problem of obesity. The WSB has emerged as a promising strategy to address obesity and encourage partnerships across different social levels. Further research is necessary to assess the logistical challenges associated with conducting a large-scale WSB trial and whether such efforts lead to reductions in obesity risk factors.
Kong, Alberta S; Andrew L Sussman; Sylvia Negrete; Nissa Patterson; Rachel Mittleman; and Richard Hough.
"Implementation of a walking school bus: lessons learned.."