Children, Youth and Environments
Vol. 16 No. 1 ( 2006)
Health Benefits of Walking School Buses in Auckland, New Zealand:
Perceptions of Children and Adults
Pat M. Neuwelt
Department of Public Health, Wellington School of Medicine
University of Otago, New Zealand
Robin A. Kearns
School of Geography and Environmental Science
University of Auckland, New Zealand
Citation: Neuwelt, Pat M. and Robin A. Kearns (2006). "Health Benefits of Walking School Buses in Auckland, New Zealand: Perceptions of Children and Adults
." Children, Youth and Environments 16 (1): 104-120. Retrieved [date] from http://www.colorado.edu/journals/cye/
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A modest literature has documented ways that walking school buses (WSBs) can restore walking to and from school as an everyday activity for children. WSBs involve adult volunteers who, as “drivers,” chaperone groups of children walking on the “school run” following set times and routes. Despite claims regarding the health benefits of this initiative, such benefits have not yet been systematically examined. This paper reports on a 2005 qualitative study of the perspectives of children and adult participants in WSB initiatives at four Auckland, New Zealand primary schools. School principals, parents and children themselves all see walking to school as providing broad health benefits to children. Participating children view walking as a natural part of life.
Our findings are consistent with previous research in demonstrating that WSBs present an important alternative to driving as a means of transporting children to and from school, promoting safety, socializing and physical activity.
Keywords: children, walking, walking school bus, New Zealand, schools