Is a Change to Active Travel to School an Important Source of Physical Activity for Chinese Children?

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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  • 1 Hong Kong Baptist University
  • 2 The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • 3 Capital University of Physical Education and Sports
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This study investigated the association between a change in travel mode to school and one-year changes in physical activity (PA) among children in Hong Kong. Data from 677 children aged 7–10 years (56% boys) who participated in the Understanding Children’s Activity and Nutrition (UCAN) study were analyzed. During the 2010/11 and 2011/12 school years, the children wore an accelerometer for a week and their parents completed a questionnaire about the children’s modes of travel to school and nonschool destinations. Associations between a change in the mode of travel to school and changes in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) were determined using linear mixed models, adjusting for covariates. Compared with children who consistently used passive travel modes, a change from passive to active travel to school was positively associated with changes in the percentage of time spent in MVPA (b = 1.32, 95% CI = 0.63, 2.02) and MVPA min/day (b = 10.97, 95% CI = 5.26, 16.68) on weekdays. Similar results were found for weekly MVPA. Promoting active travel to school may help to combat age-related decline in PA for some Chinese children. However, maintaining active travel to school may not be sufficient to halt the decreasing trend in MVPA with age.

Huang is with the Dept. of Physical Education, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China. Wong is with the Dept. of Sports Science and Physical Education, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China. He is with the School of Kinesiology and Health, Capital University of Physical Education and Sports, Hong Kong, China.

Address author correspondence to Stephen H. Wong at hsswong@cuhk.edu.hk.
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