This study investigated whether being driven to school was associated with lower weekday and weekend step counts, less active out-of-school leisure pursuits, and more sedentary behavior. Boys aged 10–13 years (n = 384) and girls aged 9–13 years (n = 500) attending 25 Australian primary schools wore a pedometer and completed a travel diary for one week. Parents and children completed surveys capturing leisure activity, screen time, and sociodemographics. Commute distance was objectively measured. Car travel was the most frequent mode of school transportation (boys: 51%, girls: 58%). After adjustment (sociodemographics, commute distance, and school clustering) children who were driven recorded fewer weekday steps than those who walked (girls: −1,393 steps p < .001, boys: −1,569 steps, p = .009) and participated in fewer active leisure activities (girls only: p = .043). There were no differences in weekend steps or screen time. Being driven to and from school is associated with less weekday pedometer-determined physical activity in 9- to 13-year-old elementary-school children. Encouraging children, especially girls, to walk to and from school (even for part of the way for those living further distances) could protect the health and well-being of those children who are insufficiently active.
Georgina Trapp, Billie Giles-Corti, Hayley Christian, Anna Timperio, Gavin McCormack, Max Bulsara and Karen Villanueva
Hayley E. Christian, Charlotte D. Klinker, Karen Villanueva, Matthew W. Knuiman, Sarah A. Foster, Stephan R. Zubrick, Mark Divitini, Lisa Wood and Billie Giles-Corti
Relationships between context-specific measures of the physical and social environment and children’s independent mobility to neighborhood destination types were examined.
Parents in RESIDE’s fourth survey reported whether their child (8–15 years; n = 181) was allowed to travel without an adult to school, friend’s house, park and local shop. Objective physical environment measures were matched to each of these destinations. Social environment measures included neighborhood perceptions and items specific to local independent mobility.
Independent mobility to local destinations ranged from 30% to 48%. Independent mobility to a local park was less likely as the distance to the closest park (small and large size) increased and less likely with additional school grounds (P < .05). Independent mobility to school was less likely as the distance to the closest large park increased and if the neighborhood was perceived as unsafe (P < .05). Independent mobility to a park or shops decreased if parenting social norms were unsupportive of children’s local independent movement (P < .05).
Independent mobility appears dependent upon the specific destination being visited and the impact of neighborhood features varies according to the destination examined. Findings highlight the importance of access to different types and sizes of urban green space for children’s independent mobility to parks.