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Table 1 Summary of Walking to School Findings

From: Immigrant families' perceptions on walking to school and school breakfast: a focus group study

Domains Themes and sub-themes
Current practices of school transportation • Participants–a majority had walked to school in their home country
• Participants' children–few walked to school; most driven or bused
Benefits of walking • Often learned from walking in home country
• Physical health benefits including maintaining weight and for preventing heart disease, blood pressure, and diabetes
• Mental health benefits–helps children wake up, good for emotions
• Being outside in nature, breathing fresh air, seeing natural world
• Spending quality time with children, especially to slow down & talk
Barriers to walking to school Fear
Interpersonal
• Fear of abductions; national media stories cited
• Bullying, homeless people, gangs
• Parents do not know and trust neighbors due to language barriers
Traffic
• Heavy traffic, fast cars
• Unsafe street crossings, lack of crossing guards
• Lack of walking paths
Feasibility
Distance/Route
• Many children not living near neighborhood schools
• Route too far and/or difficult (e.g. hilly)
Lack of time for parents to supervise walking
• Both parents working (Latino, Vietnamese)
• Many families too large for all children to walk together (Somali)
• More convenient to drop children off on way to work
• Must use child care before/after school
• Take bus to school further away to have earlier pick-up time for working parents
Weather/darkness
• Rain, darkness and cold, especially in winter months
Norms
• Lack of necessity to walk; children not accustomed to it
Approaches to improve walking to school Street safety
• Improve safety on the route through cross-walks, crossing guards
• More safety patrols/police in the neighborhoods
• Teach children safety
Facilitate adult-supervised walking (e.g. Walking School Bus)
• Facilitate adults/parents meeting to organize walking school bus
• Involve school staff as walking group leaders
• More walking after school
Offer more options for children of working parents
• On-site before school child care or supervised walking/activity time