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Gavin R. McCormack, Billie Giles-Corti and Max Bulsara

Background:

This study examines the relationships between the availability and use of recreational destinations and physical activity.

Methods:

Analysis included n = 1355 respondents. Associations between the density of free and pay-for-use recreational destinations, demographics, and use of free and pay-for-use recreational destinations within the neighborhood were examined, followed by associations with sufficient moderate and vigorous physical activity using generalized estimating equations.

Results:

The likelihood of using a local pay recreational destination increased for each additional local pay facility (OR 1.51, 95% CI 1.32 to 1.73) and was lower for those with motor vehicle access (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.26 to 0.99). The likelihood of using a local free destination increased for each additional local free facility (OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.20) and was higher among women (OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.11 to 2.44). Destination use was associated with both moderate and vigorous-intensity physical activity.

Conclusions:

Increasing the density of neighborhood recreational destinations is associated with the use of facilities and participation in sufficient levels of physical activity.

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Georgina Trapp, Billie Giles-Corti, Hayley Christian, Anna Timperio, Gavin McCormack, Max Bulsara and Karen Villanueva

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.