Alejandra Jáuregui, Catalina Medina, Deborah Salvo, Simon Barquera and Juan A. Rivera-Dommarco
Travel to school offers a convenient way to increase physical activity (PA) levels in youth. We examined the prevalence and correlates of active commuting to school (ACS) in a nationally representative sample of Mexican adolescents. A secondary objective was to explore the association between ACS and BMI status.
Using data of adolescents (10–14 years old) from the 2012 Mexican National Health and Nutrition Survey (n = 2952) we ran multivariate regression models to explore the correlates of ACS and to test the association between ACS and BMI z-score or overweight/obesity. Models were adjusted for potential confounders and design effect.
70.8% of adolescents engaged in ACS (walking: 68.8%, bicycling: 2.0%). ACS was negatively associated with travel time, age, mother’s education level, household motor vehicle ownership, family socioeconomic status, and living in urban areas or the North region of the country (P < .05). Time in ACS was negatively associated with overweight/obesity: Each additional minute of ACS was associated with a 1% decrease in the odds for being overweight or obese (P < .05).
Potential correlates of ACS that may result in benefits for Mexican adolescents are identified. More studies on this relationship are needed to develop interventions aimed at increasing PA through ACS in Mexico.
Nathan Parker, Darran Atrooshi, Lucie Lévesque, Edtna Jauregui, Simón Barquera, Juan Lopez y Taylor and Rebecca E. Lee
Obesity is a critical problem among Mexican youth, but few studies have investigated associations among physical activity (PA) modes and anthropometrics in this population. This study examined associations among active commuting to school (ACS), sports or other organized PA, outdoor play, and body mass index (BMI) percentile and waist circumference (WC) among Mexican youth.
Parents of school children (N = 1996, ages 6 to 14 years, 53.1% female) in 3 Mexican cities reported PA participation using the (modified) fourth grade School Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey. Trained assessors measured BMI percentile and WC in person.
Parents reported that 52.3% of children engaged in ACS, 57.3% participated in sports or organized PA, and a median of 2 days in the previous week with at least 30 minutes of outdoor play. In complete case analyses (n = 857), ACS was negatively associated with BMI percentile, and outdoor play was negatively associated with WC after adjusting for school, age, sex, and income. In analyses incorporating data from multiple imputation (N = 1996), outdoor play was negatively associated with WC (all Ps < . 05).
ACS and outdoor play are favorably associated with anthropometrics and may help prevent childhood obesity in Mexico. ACS and outdoor play should be priorities for increasing youth PA in Mexico.
Alejandra Jauregui, Erica Soltero, René Santos-Luna, Lucia Hernández-Barrera, Simon Barquera, Edtna Jáuregui, Lucie Lévesque, Juan López-Taylor, Luis Ortiz-Hernández and Rebecca Lee
Mexican children often use active commuting to school (ACS). In order to maintain high levels of ACS it is important to understand correlates of ACS in this population. However, most evidence comes from high-income countries (HICs). We examined multilevel correlates of ACS in children attending public schools in 3 Mexican cities.
Information on 1191 children (grades 3 to 5) attending 26 schools was retrieved from questionnaires, neighborhood audits, and geographic information systems data. Multilevel logistic modeling was used to explore individual and environmental correlates of ACS at 400-m and 800-m buffers surrounding schools.
Individual positive correlates for ACS included age (6–8 years vs 9–11 years, odds ratio [OR] = 1.5; 6–8 years vs ≥12 years: OR = 2.1) and ≥ 6 adults at home (OR = 2.0). At the 400-m buffer, more ACS was associated with lower walkability (OR = 0.87), presence of posted speed limits (< 6% vs > 12%: OR = 0.36) and crossing aids (< 6% vs 6–20%: OR = 0.25; > 20%: OR = 0.26), as well as higher sidewalk availability (< 70% vs > 90%: OR = 4.5). Similar relationships with speed limits and crossing aids were observed at the 800m buffer.
Findings contrast with those reported in HICs, underscoring the importance of considering the local context when developing strategies to promote ACS. Future studies are needed to replicate these relationships and investigate the longitudinal impact of improving active transportation infrastructure and policies.