Kiwi kids reluctant to ride to school - study

  • 08/03/2018

Simply training kids how to ride a bike is not enough to get more of them riding to school, a new study has found.

Instead, they also needed the support of parents and better bike paths among other factors, the University of Otago study found.

As part of the study, students were given cycling training to allow them to gain the confidence to ride in different environments, including on roads.

But after gaining the skills, not many went on to regularly use their bikes to get to school.

"Additional interventions targeting parents, schools, and built environment-urban-planning changes may be necessary to achieve behavioural change" in the students, lead author associate professor Sandy Mandic said.

She said the findings were important to help tackle childhood obesity.

"We're seeing a decline in physical activity from childhood to adolescence," she said.

"This decline is more noticeable in adolescent girls versus boys. Encouraging cycling to school could be one way to promote physical activity in youth."

The study involved 429 primary and intermediate students and 117 adolescent girls in Dunedin.

Participants were taught to ride on school grounds with those who achieved basic skills spending six hours practising on roads with light traffic.