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Gamification of active travel to school: A pilot evaluation of the Beat the Street physical activity intervention
- Published on May 2016
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 min 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.