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Travel to school offers a convenient way to increase physical activity (PA) levels in youth. We examined the prevalence and correlates of active commuting to school (ACS) in a nationally representative sample of Mexican adolescents. A secondary objective was to explore the association between ACS and BMI status.
Using data of adolescents (10–14 years old) from the 2012 Mexican National Health and Nutrition Survey (n = 2952) we ran multivariate regression models to explore the correlates of ACS and to test the association between ACS and BMI z-score or overweight/obesity. Models were adjusted for potential confounders and design effect.
70.8% of adolescents engaged in ACS (walking: 68.8%, bicycling: 2.0%). ACS was negatively associated with travel time, age, mother’s education level, household motor vehicle ownership, family socioeconomic status, and living in urban areas or the North region of the country (P < .05). Time in ACS was negatively associated with overweight/obesity: Each additional minute of ACS was associated with a 1% decrease in the odds for being overweight or obese (P < .05).
Potential correlates of ACS that may result in benefits for Mexican adolescents are identified. More studies on this relationship are needed to develop interventions aimed at increasing PA through ACS in Mexico.
The authors are with the Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. Medina is also with the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Salvo is also with the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health (Austin Regional Campus).