Commuting to School and to Work Among High School Students in Santa Catarina State, Brazil: A Comparative Analysis Between 2001 and 2011

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

Commuting reflects an important opportunity for youth to engage in physical activity. This study aimed to compare modes of commuting to school and to work and to identify sociodemographic factors associated with various modes of transportation.

Methods:

Epidemiologic study with a repeated cross-sectional design. Participants included high school students (15–19 years of age) from Santa Catarina state, Brazil, in 2001 (n = 5028) and 2011 (n = 6529). A questionnaire containing information on the type of transport used to commute to school and to work was administered.

Results:

Walking/bicycling and the use of the bus to commute to school and to work remained stable after a decade; however, the use of car/motorcycle to school (6.4% versus 12.6%) and to work (10.2% versus 19.7%) increased significantly. In both cases, females more frequently used buses, whereas males commuted to work by car/bus. Students from rural areas more commonly commuted to school by car/motorcycle, whereas those from urban areas traveled to work more by bus. There was a greater use of cars/motorcycles by young people from higher-income families.

Conclusions:

The use of cars/motorcycles to commute to school/work has almost doubled in the last decade. Sex, residential area and income were associated with passive commuting.

The authors are with the Dept of Physical Education, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. Kelly Samara Silva (kelly.samara@ufsc.br) is corresponding author.