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.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · BMC Public Health
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
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    • "This study examined i) the prevalence and correlates of active transport to and from school separately and ii) the correlates of mode shift from passive in the morning to active in the afternoon. In terms of the first purpose, the overall prevalence of walking/biking to and from school was 23% and 32%, respectively, for secondary school students and correspondingly 38% and 47% for elementary school students which is higher than that typically reported in the USA [12,18,19,30,31], similar to Australia [32] and New Zealand [33] but lower than European countries [34-36]. The overall prevalence is also consistent with Canadian literature [4,7,8]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Studies examining the correlates of school transport commonly fail to make the distinction between morning and afternoon school trips. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and correlates of mode shift from passive in the morning to active in the afternoon among elementary and secondary school students in Ontario, Canada. Data were derived from the 2009 cycle of the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS). 3,633 students in grades 7 through 12 completed self-administered questionnaires. Socio-demographic, behavioural, psychological, and environmental predictors of active school transport (AST) were assessed using logistic regression. Overall, 47% and 38% of elementary school students reported AST to and from school, respectively. The corresponding figures were 23% and 32% for secondary school students. The prevalence of AST varied temporarily and spatially. There was a higher prevalence of walking/biking found for elementary school students than for secondary school students, and there was an approximate 10% increase in AST in the afternoon. Different correlates of active school transport were also found across elementary and secondary school students. For all ages, students living in urban areas, with a shorter travel time between home and school, and having some input to the decision making process, were more likely to walk to and from school. Future research examining AST should continue to make the analytic distinction between the morning and afternoon trip, and control for the moderating effect of age and geography in predicting mode choice. In terms of practice, these variations highlight the need for school-specific travel plans rather than 'one size fits all' interventions in promoting active school transport.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2011 · BMC Public Health
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