The following is excerpted from an online article posted by HealthDay.
Kids who walk, skateboard, or ride their bikes to school when they are young are more likely to keep it up as they get older, reaping the health benefits, recent research suggests.
“The walk to school is a wonderful moment in the day that provides children a glimpse of living an active lifestyle,” said study co-author David Tulloch, a professor of landscape architecture at Rutgers University-New Brunswick in New Jersey. “When people start walking early, it can have a lasting impact on their health.”
About 11% of kids in the United States walk or ride their bikes to or from school, according to the National Household Travel Survey. This rate hasn’t changed in a decade.
In the study, the researchers found that kids are much more likely to continue “active commuting” (traveling by foot, bike, or even skateboard) if they are taught to do it when they are young.
To see if active commuting stays the same over time, the researchers asked parents and caregivers about their kids’ school travel habits twice — two to four years apart — between 2009 and 2017. The families lived in Camden, New Brunswick, Newark, and Trenton, which are mostly low-income cities in New Jersey.
The investigators found that more than 75% of kids who did active commuting at the study’s start still did it two to four years later. And few who hadn’t done it before started active commuting when researchers followed up.
Those who biked, walked, or skateboarded to school at the outset were seven times more likely to do so two to four years later, the study found.
The findings were published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports.