Gamification of active travel to school: a pilot evaluation of the Beat the Street physical activity intervention

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Abstract

Beat the Street aims to get children more active by encouraging them to walk and cycle in their neighbourhood using tracking technology with a reward scheme. This pilot study evaluates the impact of Beat the Street on active travel to school in Norwich, UK. Eighty children 8-10 yrs were recruited via an intervention and control school. They wore an accelerometer for 7 days at baseline, mid-intervention and post-intervention (+20 weeks), and completed a travel diary. Physical activity overall was not higher at follow-up amongst intervention children compared to controls. However, there was a positive association between moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during school commute times and the number of days on which children touched a Beat the Street sensor. This equated to 3.46 mins extra daily MVPA during commute times for children who touched a sensor on 14.5 days (the mean number of days), compared to those who did not engage. We also found weekly active travel increased at the intervention school (+10.0% per child) while it decreased at the control (-7.0%), p=0.056. Further work is needed to understand how improved engagement with the intervention might impact outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-69
Number of pages8
JournalHealth and Place
Volume39
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2016

Keywords

  • physical activity
  • active travel
  • school
  • children
  • gamification

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