Walking or Bicycling to School and Weight Status among Adolescents From Montería, Colombia

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

Active school transport (AST) is a recommended strategy to promote physical activity (PA) and prevent overweight (OW) in school-aged children. In many developing countries, such as Colombia, this association has not been well characterized.

Objective:

To determine the association between AST and weight status in a representative sample of adolescents from Montería, Colombia.

Methods:

Participants were 546 adolescents (278 boys) aged 11 to 18 years old from 14 randomly selected schools in Montería, Colombia in 2008. The PA module of the Global School Health Survey (GSHS-2007) was used to determine the prevalence of AST. To identify OW, participants were classified according to CDC 2000 criteria (BMI ≥85th percentile). Association between AST and OW was determined by binomial logistic regression.

Results:

Odds ratios adjusted for age, sex, location of school, compliance with PA, and screen time recommendations showed that adolescents who reported AST had a significantly lower likelihood to be OW compared with adolescents who reported nonactive transportation (OR = 0.5, 95% CI 0.3−0.8, P < .05).

Conclusions:

These results support the importance of AST as a useful PA domain with potential implications for overweight prevention, in rapidly developing settings. Further epidemiologic and intervention studies addressing AST are needed in the region.

Arango, Parra, and Eyler are with the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and the Prevention Research Center in St. Louis, MO. Sarmiento is with the Dept of Public Health, University of the Andes, Bogotá, Colombia. Mantilla is with the Faculty of Health, Universidad de Pamplona, Pamplona, Colombia. Gomez is with the Division of Health, Fundación FES Social, Bogotá, Colombia. Lobelo is with the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.