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BHF - Children who travel by car to school are less active overall

New research part-funded by us, shows that children whose parents drive them to school lead less active lifestyles overall than those who walk, cycle or take public transport.

Researchers from St George’s, University of London assessed over 2000 children aged nine and 10 living in urban areas across England. The children wore movement monitors to measure the time they spent doing light, moderate or vigorous activity. The results showed that children travelling to school by car were less active throughout the week.

BHF's Associate Medical Director, Dr Mike Knapton, said:“With around a third of children classified as overweight or obese today it’s essential we do everything possible to encourage young people to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Swapping the car for a more active journey will get kids on the move more

“It’s obvious that walking or cycling to school increases a child’s physical activity levels. However, this study found using public transport to travel to school also had a positive impact on children’s exercise levels.

“What is clear is that simply swapping the car for a more active journey will get kids on the move more and could help exercise to become part of their daily habits. It’s also important for local authorities to feature public health more strongly in transport and planning policies. Safe cycling routes and good public transport links are important for everyone.”

Our Food4Thought campaign aims to help tackle childhood obesity and get kids leading a healthier lifestyle. We have a wide range of resources available to help get children fit and healthy.

The research was published online in the journal PLoS ONE and was funded by the BHF, the Wellcome Trust and the National Prevention Research Initiative (NPRI)

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