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Attitudes to walking and cycling among children, young people and parents: a systematic review
  1. T Lorenc,
  2. G Brunton,
  3. S Oliver,
  4. K Oliver,
  5. A Oakley
  1. Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, London, UK
  1. Dr T Lorenc, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, 18 Woburn Square, London WC1H 0NR, UK; theolorenc{at}


Background: Promoting walking and cycling as a part of everyday activity is seen as a strategy for tackling obesity and chronic disease. Policy needs to be based on evidence about people’s views of walking and cycling as well as effects of interventions.

Methods: Studies of the views of children, young people and parents about walking and cycling were searched for systematically, and a framework analysis applied. The findings were synthesised and compared with the findings of an effectiveness review of interventions for encouraging walking and cycling as an alternative to motorised transport.

Results: The synthesis of views described a culture of car use, fed by a fear and dislike of local environments and parental responses that emphasised children’s safety at the expense of developing their independence, despite children expressing responsible attitudes towards transport choices. Comparison with effectiveness literature found that most evaluated interventions targeted only the public’s fear and dislike of local environments.

Conclusion: Interventions need to address pedestrian and cyclist safety, perceptions of risk, and parental norms regarding children’s independence.

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  • Contributors: AO and SO conceived the study with the funders and, with GB, designed the study and interpreted the findings. SO facilitated stakeholder participation and designed the analytical framework and method; the latter was further developed by GB. GB designed and conducted the literature searches; TL and KO located the studies. GB, TL and KO quality assessed and extracted data from the included studies. GB prepared the synthesis, supported by SO. GB, SO, TL and KO prepared the first report. TL prepared the first draft of the journal article. AO, GB and SO reviewed the draft article for important intellectual content. All authors approved the final version for publication.

  • Competing interests: None declared.

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