PACO: Parental barriers to active transport to school



Parental barriers to active transport to school: systematic review

Researchers from the University of Granada (UGR) have carried out a review of the international scientific literature with the objective of knowing the main barriers (or problems) that parents perceive to allow their children commute actively to school, that is, walk or cycle.

This search has revealed that the main barriers that parents perceive for the active commuting of their children, refer to the built environment, that is, the lack of sidewalks or crosswalks, an inadequate state of these or the construction of the city that It is difficult to ride on bike to school; In addition to traffic and distance.

To carry out this work, its authors identified 27 studies that analyse the barriers of parents of children and adolescents (from 5 to 18 years old), coming from 4 continents (America, Oceania, Asia and Europe), which are in their mostly United States.

After identifying these barriers, the UGR researchers created a categorization that defines three types of barriers: environmental, personal and social.

“Environmental barriers refer to the environment built by the human being, such as a block of buildings or a bike path. Personal barriers refer to work and school hours or the convenience of taking children to school, while social barriers include the absence of other children on the way to school or other adults, “explains the lead author of this I work, María Jesús Aranda Balboa, of the Department of Physical and Sports Education of the UGR.

To improve the perceptions of these parents, the researchers point out that it is necessary to act with two strategies: execute changes at the environmental level to offer more security to the parents, with actions to improve and expand the sidewalks or the implementation of bicycle lanes, and educate parents and their children to reduce these perceived barriers and increase confidence in the environment, causing behavioural changes by participating in walking school bus or cycling school bus.

“It is everyone's responsibility to ensure that our children are as active as possible, for a society with greater health and well-being, as well as for the physical and personal development of our schoolchildren,” the authors say.