Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

Walking to School vs. Driving: Is One Better?

British Study: Same Total Weekly Activity Level for Walkers, Riders
WebMD Health News

Aug. 17, 2004 -- Want to work a little more physical fitness into your child's day by having them walk to school?

Good for you for trying to get your youngster moving. But walking to and from school might not be the most helpful strategy.

A new British study shows that walking to and from school makes no difference in a child's total weekly activity. The study is reported on the British medical web site, BMJ Online First.

The study was led by endocrinology and metabolism professor Terry Wilkin of Peninsula Medical School and Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, England. Wilkin and his colleagues compared activity levels among 275 5-year-old children as they started their first year at primary school. Some children walked to school and some were driven to school.

The children wore monitors during waking hours for five consecutive school days and a weekend to measure their physical activity.

The kids' height, weight, and body fat were also noted.

"Although children who walk to and from school record more activity in the process, the difference has no impact on total weekly activity," write the researchers. "Those driven by car matched those who walked to school in overall activity levels."

Most children in the study (84%) walked about a half-mile to school, taking an average of six minutes.

The kids did far more during the week than just stroll to and from the schoolhouse. Walking to school accounted for just 2% of their total weekly activity, write the researchers.

The study didn't examine other reasons to walk to school, such as reducing traffic and pollution or building good walking habits in children.

"There may be benefits ... but physical activity does not appear to be one of them," write the authors.

Walking to school may not overhaul students' activity levels, but it certainly won't hurt their fitness, either.

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration