Barriers to children walking and biking to school--United States, 1999

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2002 Aug 16;51(32):701-4.


Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle; however, many children in the United States do not meet recommended levels of physical activity. Although walking and biking to school can increase physical activity among children, motor-vehicle traffic and other factors can make these activities difficult. The majority of U.S. children do not walk or bike to school, approximately one third ride a school bus, and half are driven in a private vehicle. Less than one trip in seven is made by walking or biking. To examine why the majority of children do not walk or bike to school, CDC analyzed data from the national HealthStyles Survey. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicate that long distances and dangerous motor-vehicle traffic pose the most common barriers to children walking and biking to school. Public health and community-based efforts that encourage walking and biking to school should address these barriers.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adolescent
  • Bicycling / statistics & numerical data
  • Bicycling / trends*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Population Surveillance
  • Schools / statistics & numerical data
  • Schools / trends*
  • Transportation / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Walking / statistics & numerical data
  • Walking / trends*