Physical activity and active commuting to elementary school.
ABSTRACT This study was conducted to determine if fifth-grade students who walked or bicycled to school on a regular basis were more physically active than those that did not.
The sample consists of 219 fifth-grade students (10.3 +/- 0.6 yr, 44% male, 58% minority) from eight randomly selected urban and suburban elementary schools. Students wore an Acti-Graph physical activity monitor during the same week that they completed a daily survey to report their mode of transportation to and from school. Students were categorized on the number of reported active commuting trips, to and from school, per week (regular;>or=5 (N=11), irregular; 1-4 (N=25), nonactive; 0 (N=183)).
Compared with both other groups, regular active commuters accumulated 3% more minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA; P=0.04) during weekdays. This weekday difference was because of regular active commuters accumulating 8.5% more minutes of MVPA both before and after school (P <or= 0.01). No difference in physical activity was seen among groups during school or in the evening. Based on the mean number of minutes the students wore their monitors on weekdays (800 min.d), the 3% difference translates into approximately 24 additional minutes of MVPA per day for the regular active commuters.
Walking to school was associated with approximately 24 additional minutes of MVPA per day in fifth-grade students. Additional observational and experimental research in larger, more diverse samples is needed to further clarify the effects of active commuting to school on total daily physical activity and other health outcomes.
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ABSTRACT: In many Western countries, there are concerns about declining levels of physical activity in school-aged children. Active transport is one way to increase physical activity in children, but few studies have evaluated whether active transport in school-aged children and adolescents has beneficial effects on fitness and, if so, whether different modes of transport affect different aspects of fitness. In this study, we examined the association of active transport with different aspects of fitness in a representative Danish sample of 545 boys and 704 girls, 15-19 years of age. Physical fitness was assessed through a number of field tests, including a maximal cycle test, dynamic and static strength in different muscle groups, muscle endurance, flexibility and agility. Transport to school was reported as the mode of transport. Almost two-thirds of the population cycled to school. Cyclists had higher aerobic power than both walkers and passive travelers (4.6-5.9%). Isometric muscle endurance (10-16%), dynamic muscle endurance in the abdominal muscles (10%) and flexibility (6%) were also higher in cyclists compared with walkers and passive travelers. Mode of travel was not related to leisure-time sports participation. Our findings suggest that commuter bicycling may be a way to improve health in adolescents.Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports 06/2008; 19(3):406-11. DOI:10.1111/j.1600-0838.2008.00803.x · 3.17 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To investigate whether change in transport to school from non-cycling to cycling was associated with change in cardio-respiratory fitness (CRF) over a six-year follow-up. Participants were 384 children (9.7 (0.5) years) who participated in the Danish arm of the European Youth Heart Study in 1997 and who were followed up 6 years later. CRF was assessed by a maximal cycle ergometer test and travel to school was investigated by questionnaire at both time points. Linear regression models were used to investigate associations between CRF and change in mode of travel to school between baseline and follow-up. Higher CRF was significantly associated with cycling to school in children and adolescents of both sexes. Longitudinal regression models showed that a change in travel mode from non-cycling to cycling was a significant predictor of CRF at follow-up (P<0.001) after adjustment for potential confounders. Participants who did not cycle to school at baseline, but who had changed to cycling at follow-up, were significantly fitter (0.33 W kg(-1)) than those who did not cycle to school at either time point (P=0.001), a difference of 9%. Cycling to school may contribute to higher cardiovascular fitness in young people.Preventive Medicine 06/2008; 47(3):324-8. DOI:10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.06.009 · 2.93 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To assess whether prevalence of active commuting and regular car trips to school varies across communities and language regions in Switzerland and to determine personal and environmental correlates. During the school year 2004/2005, 1345 parental questionnaires (response rate 65%) of children attending 1st, 4th and 8th grades were completed, 1031 could be linked to a GIS environmental database. A German-speaking, a French-speaking and a bilingual study area were included. Usual mode of transportation and frequency of regular car trips to school were assessed. Associations with personal and environmental factors were evaluated with multivariate regression models. Seventy-eight percent of the children actively traveled to school. Twelve percent were regularly driven at least once a week by car. Major road crossings and distance were significantly related to usual mode of transportation, but not to regular car trips. Age, daycare attendance, parental safety concerns, number of cars in the household and belonging to French-speaking population were significantly associated with increased regular car trips. Objective predictors are main deciding factors for active commuting to school as main mode of transport whereas personal and lifestyle factors are important factors associated with frequency of car use. Not only objective but also differing cultural attitudes should be considered when promoting non-motorized travel.Preventive Medicine 02/2008; 46(1):67-73. DOI:10.1016/j.ypmed.2007.06.015 · 2.93 Impact Factor