What Parental Correlates Predict Children’s Active Transportation to School in the Southeast United States?

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: School-aged children in the Southeast, compared with other United States of America (US) regions, have significantly lower levels of active transportation to school (ATS). The purpose of this study was to contrast the parental correlates of ATS choice specific to the Southeast with other areas of the US. Methods: This study utilized national data from 2952 households with school-aged children located within a 20-minute walk to a school. Parents reported their children’s ATS behavior and their own ATS beliefs and perceptions. Logistic regression contrasted correlates of parents from the Southeast with other regions. Results: Parents in the Southeast, compared with parents across the US, were significantly less likely to allow their child to take ATS (12.9% vs 33.3%, respectively) (odds ratio [OR] = 0.46; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.36–0.59). Specific to the Southeast, parental correlates linked to increases in ATS were Black race/ethnicity (OR = 1.68; 95% CI, 1.31–2.60), being single, (OR = 1.71; 95% CI, 1.15–2.54), and any parental physical activity (P value for trend = .0053). The only correlate associated with a decrease in ATS in the Southeast was heightened safety concerns (eg, traffic speed, safe crossings) (OR = 0.44; 95% CI, 0.23–0.84). Conclusions: Among households with children in the Southeast, ATS interventions that allay parental safety concerns and that promote physical activity among parents might lead to increases in ATS.

Fitzhugh is with the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sports Studies, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA. Everett is with the Center for Transportation Research, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA. Daugherty is with the Center for Applied Research and Evaluation, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA.

Fitzhugh (fitzhugh@utk.edu) is the corresponding author.
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