Active Commuting and Sociodemographic Factors Among University Students in Spain

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

Commuting to university represents an opportunity to incorporate physical activity (walking or biking) into students’ daily routines. There are few studies that analyze patterns of transport in university populations. This cross-sectional study estimated energy expenditure from active commuting to university (ACU) and examined sociodemographic differences in findings.

Methods:

The sample included 518 students with a mean age of 22.4 years (59.7% female) from 2 urban universities in Valencia, Spain. Time spent in each mode of transport to university and sociodemographic factors was assessed by self-report.

Results:

Nearly 35% of the students reported walking or biking as their main mode of transport. ACU (min/wk) were highest for walkers (168) and cyclists (137) and lowest for motorbike riders (0.0) and car drivers (16). Public transport users, younger students, low socioeconomic status students, and those living ≤ 2 km from the university had higher energy expenditure from active commuting than comparison groups. Biking was highest among those living 2–5 km from the university.

Conclusions:

Our findings suggest that active commuting and public transit use generated substantial weekly energy expenditure, contributed to meeting physical activity recommendations, and may aid in obesity prevention.

Molina-García is with the Dept of Teaching of Musical, Visual, and Corporal Expression, University of Valencia, Spain. Sallis is with the Dept of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego. Castillo is with the Dept of Social Psychology, University of Valencia, Spain.