Attendance patterns and factors affecting participation in organized walks: an investigation of Natural England's Walking for Health programme

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Kokolakakis, Themis ; Ramchandani, Girish ; Coleman, Richard (2015)

This paper examines the Natural England database of registered walkers to identify patterns of attendance in organized walks and differences in walking behaviour based on the profile of participants in Walking for Health (WfH), one of the largest public health interventions for physical activity in the UK. The investigation is informed by walk-history data relating to more than 79,000 participants over a two-year period. Methods used include measures of participant adherence and chi-squared automatic interaction detector analysis. The results indicate that absolute participation numbers have a strong seasonal element, with a marked decline occurring around the Christmas period. Age emerges as the most significant determinant of organized walking behaviour, with older age groups exhibiting higher intensity of participation relative to younger age groups. The research facilitates a better understanding of participation in WfH and can serve to inform future delivery and the marketing of organized walking initiatives.
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