Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Mary Verklan


Promoting physical exercise is necessary to combat childhood obesity. Walking to school is an encouraged physical activity, but the feasibility of walking to school depends on the walkability of the environment. During the last 40 years, the number of U.S. schoolchildren who walk to school has declined. The purpose of this evidence-based practice project was to perform a walkability assessment of the 2 largest communities in Wilson County Kansas to identify and address walkability issues. Frameworks for this practice initiative were social cognitive theory and the Health Promotion model. Questions for the project addressed whether sidewalks along the main pedestrian routes leading to the schools were in good enough condition to allow children to walk safely to and from school. Using an adapted tool from the Pedestrian Safety and Mobility Audit Guide, assessment of the condition of the sidewalks was completed using the key characteristics of the sidewalks such as width, evenness, surface, and condition in the 2 major school routes. Results indicated no safe walk route in Fredonia. In Neodesha, only the sidewalks on the west side of 8th Street were in excellent condition. Safety issues identified during the assessment led to recommendation of safe pedestrian travel on only one route to school. Findings may be used to promote daily physical exercise for children, which may reduce the risk for obesity and promote social change for the community.

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