This study examined whether active commuting to and from school was associated with more frequent walking and cycling to other neighborhood destinations. Parents reported on free-time physical activity and frequency of active commuting among 1,643 South Australians (9–15 years), as well as their perceptions of risk associated with active commuting in the neighborhood. Groups were formed on the basis of active and motorized transport to and from school and compared on the frequency of walking and cycling to other neighborhood destinations. Those who actively commuted between home and school were approximately 30% more likely to actively commute to other neighborhood destinations, independent of age, free-time physical activity, and neighborhood risk. Active commuting to and from school is part of a broader habit of walking and cycling in the neighborhood among school age South Australians. The advantages of promoting active transport between home and school might extend beyond the energy expenditure of that journey alone.
The authors are with the School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia.