Characteristics of travel to and from school among adolescents in NSW, Australia

University of Wollongong, City of Greater Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health (Impact Factor: 1.15). 06/2007; 43(11):755 - 761. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2007.01159.x


Aim: Active transport to and from school is frequently identified as an opportunity to increase energy expenditure among young people. The epidemiology of travel behaviours among Grade 6, 8 and 10 students in NSW is reported.
Methods: A representative population survey of students in NSW, Australia was conducted during February to May 2004 (n = 2750) and the prevalence of travelling to and from school by walking, car and public transport was determined for Grade 6, 8 and 10 students.
Results: Among Grade 6 students, approximately 30% travelled by car, 30% walked and 20% used public transport to travel to school (the travel habits of 20% could not be accurately characterised). Among secondary school students, approximately 50% used public transport, 15–20% travelled by car and 15–20% walked. Among those who walked or used public transport, the median times spent walking were 10–15 min and 5 min per trip, respectively.
Conclusions: While there is little scope to increase the prevalence of active transport among secondary school students, there is potential to do so among primary school students. Primary school students who replace travelling to and from school by car with walking will experience an increase in activity energy expenditure of up to 10% and those who change to public transport will experience an increase in activity energy expenditure of up to 3%.

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Available from: Louise L Hardy, Dec 17, 2014
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    • "Comparing the data from this study to other studies is complex as the majority of studies in this area report usual mode of travel to school [39,44]. In studies that have examined gender differences in mode of travel to school there have been some studies reporting that that boys are more likely to adopt active modes of travel to school than girls [45] while other studies have reported no gender differences [46]. Thus, when our findings are viewed in relation to the wider literature, current evidence suggests that there is a need to examine in different datasets, whether there is an interaction between gender and mode of travel to and from school. "
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    ABSTRACT: School travel mode and parenting practices have been associated with children's physical activity (PA). The current study sought to examine whether PA parenting practices differ by school travel mode and whether school travel mode and PA parenting practices are associated with PA. 469 children (aged 9-11) wore accelerometers from which mean weekday and after-school (3.30 to 8.30 pm) minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity PA (MVPA) and counts per minute (CPM) were derived. Mode of travel to and from school (passive vs. active) and PA parenting practices (maternal and paternal logistic support and modelling behaviour) were child-reported. Children engaged in an average of 59.7 minutes of MVPA per weekday. Active travel to school by girls was associated with 5.9 more minutes of MVPA per day compared with those who travelled to school passively (p = 0.004). After-school CPM and MVPA did not differ by school travel mode. There was no evidence that physical activity parenting practices were associated with school travel mode. For girls, encouraging active travel to school is likely to be important for overall PA. Further formative research may be warranted to understand how both parental logistic support and active travel decisions are operationalized in families as a means of understanding how to promote increased PA among pre-adolescent children.
    BMC Public Health 04/2014; 14(1):370. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-14-370 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    • "Although the correlates of active transportation to school occur at multiple levels, the vast majority of existing studies on this topic have not simultaneously considered multiple factors at the various levels [7-9,11,13,18,21-25]. The few multi-level studies that exist have been conducted within small geographic areas [8,9,11,17,22,26], which limits their generalizability. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Active transportation to school is a method by which youth can build physical activity into their daily routines. We examined correlates of active transportation to school at both individual- (characteristics of the individual and family) and area- (school and neighborhood) levels amongst youth living within 1 mile (1.6 km) of their school. Methods Using the 2009/10 Canadian Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) survey, we selected records of students (n = 3 997) from 161 schools that resided in an urban setting and lived within 1 mile from their school. Student records were compiled from: (1) individual-level HBSC student questionnaires; (2) area-level administrator (school) questionnaires; and (3) area-level geographic information system data sources. The outcome, active transportation to school, was determined via a questionnaire item describing the method of transportation that individual students normally use to get to school. Analyses focused on factors at multiple levels that potentially contribute to student decisions to engage in active transportation. Multi-level logistic regression analyses were employed. Results Approximately 18% of the variance in active transportation was accounted for at the area-level. Several individual and family characteristics were associated with engagement in active transportation to school including female gender (RR vs. males = 0.86, 95% CI: 0.80-0.91), having ≥2 cars in the household (RR vs. no cars = 0.87, 0.74-0.97), and family socioeconomic status (RR for ‘not well off’ vs. ‘very well off’ = 1.14, 1.01-1.26). Neighborhood characteristics most strongly related to active transportation were: the length of roads in the 1 km buffer (RR in quartile 4 vs. quartile 1 = 1.23, 1.00-1.42), the amount of litter in the neighborhood (RR for ‘major problem’ vs. ‘no problem’ = 1.47, 1.16-1.57), and relatively hot climates (RR in quartile 4 vs. quartile 1 = 1.33 CI, 1.05-1.53). Conclusion Engagement in active transportation to school was related to multiple factors at multiple levels. We identified gender, perception of residential neighborhood safety, the percentage of streets with sidewalks, and the total length of roads as the most important correlates of active transportation to school.
    International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 10/2012; 9(1):124. DOI:10.1186/1479-5868-9-124 · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    • "In contrast, a survey carried out in the USA both nationally and in individual states as well as some smaller surveys report prevalence rates of active transport ranging from less than 5% to 50%, with higher values observed more frequently in western states compared with southern states (Babey, Hastert, Huang, & Brown, 2009; Evenson, Huston, McMillen, Bors, & Ward, 2003; Martin, Lee, & Lowry, 2007). Some other higher-income countries, such as Canada and Australia, also show diff erences in the prevalence of active transport within the country from 30% to 60%, and from 15% to 60% respectively (Booth et al., 2007; Buliung, Mitra, & Faulkner, 2009; Robertson-Wilson, Leatherdale, & Wong, 2008; Spallek, Turner, Spinks, Bain, & McClure, 2006). According to latest research, however, the proportion of school-aged children who commute to school on foot or by bike has been steadily decreasing (Black, Collins , & Snell, 2001; McDonald, 2007; Sirard & Slater, 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Active transport is a very important factor for increasing the level of physical activity in children, which is significant for both their health and positive physical behaviour in adult age. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to establish the proportion of Czech children aged 11 to 15 who select active transport to and from school and, at the same time, describe socio-economic and socio-demographic factors influencing active transport to and from school among children. METHODS: To establish the socio-demographic factors affecting active transport, data of a national representative sample of 11 to 15 year-old elementary school children in the Czech Republic (n = 4,425). Research data collection was performed within an international research study called Health Behaviour in School Aged Children in June 2010. Statistical processing of the results was made using a logistic regression analysis in the statistical programme IBM SPSS v 20. RESULTS: Active transport to and from school is opted for in the Czech Republic by approximately 2/3 of children aged 11 to 15. Differences between genders are not statistically significant; most children opting for active transport are aged 11 (69%). An important factor increasing the probability of active transport as much as 16 times is whether a child's place of residence is in the same municipality as the school. Other factors influencing this choice include BMI, time spent using a computer or a privateroom in a family. A significant factor determining active transport by children is safety; safe road crossing, opportunity to leave a bicycle safely at school, no fear of being assaulted on the way or provision of school lockers where children can leave their items. CONCLUSIONS: Active transport plays an important role in increasing the overall level of physical activity in children. Promotion of active transport should focus on children who spend more time using a computer; attention should also be drawn to safety associated with active transport to and from school.
    06/2012; 42(3):17-26. DOI:10.5507/ag.2012.014
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