Making Children's Lives More Active

Children are becoming fatter which has serious implications for their health. One reason is their decreasing levels of physical activity. This is related to their lifestyles and reductions in the amount of walking. This note illustrates these effects and draws conclusions about children's physical activity and car use.

The approach: The findings discussed here come from a research project entitled 'Reducing children's car use: the health and potential car dependency impacts' that has been carried out in the Centre for Transport Studies at University College London under the direction of Professor Roger Mackett, with funding from the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council).

The work has been carried out in collaboration with others including Hertfordshire County Council, with fieldwork being carried out through schools in Hertfordshire. The approach has involved collecting data from 195 children in Years 6 and 8. The children were fitted with portable motion sensors and kept activity and travel diaries for four days: two weekdays plus the weekend. The results have been scaled up to one week. The sensors produce results in terms of activity calories which are the calories consumed in carrying out events as opposed to the calories consumed all the time maintaining bodily functions. From these results conclusions have been drawn about the impact ofchildren's activity patterns and travel on the quantities of physical activity.

Authoring Organization: 
Centre for Transport Studies, University College London

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