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Anna E. Mathews, Delores Pluto, Olga Ogoussan and Jorge Banda

Background:

When promoting active travel to school, it is important to consider school and district policies as well as attitudes of school and district administrators.

Methods:

School principals and district officials in South Carolina participated in the School Travel Survey. Frequency distributions and Chi-squared tests were used to analyze the data.

Results:

Three hundred fourteen persons responded to the survey (53.2% response rate). Sixty-five percent of district officials reported having a clear position about students walking to school, 80.0% of which were supportive. Seventy-two percent of principals reported having a clear position about walking to school, 67% of which were supportive. These positions were most commonly communicated either orally or through memos or other written documentation rather than through official, written policies or directives. Respondents who personally supported walking to school were more likely to believe that walking to school benefited students' health (χ2 = 8.82, df = 1, P = .003) and academic performance (χ2 = 14.87, df = 1, P < .0001).

Conclusions:

Promotion of walking to school should encourage schools and districts to develop official, written directives or policies. Promotional efforts may benefit from linking active travel to academic performance and health.

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Madhura Phansikar and Sean P. Mullen

( Angevaren et al., 2007 ). Although LTPA is beneficial for improving a variety of health outcomes, it is less clear whether non-LTPA offers similar benefits. One type of non-LTPA is known as active travel , generally described as walking or cycling to and from places for 10 or more minutes. Although active

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Barry Lambe, Niamh Murphy and Adrian Bauman

Background:

There is a paucity of intervention studies assessing active travel to school as a mechanism to increase physical activity. This paper describes the impact of a community-wide intervention on active travel to primary schools in 2 Irish towns.

Methods:

This was a repeat cross-sectional study of a natural experiment. Self-report questionnaires were completed by 5th and 6th grade students in 3 towns (n = 1038 students in 2 intervention towns; n = 419 students in 1 control town) at baseline and by a new group of students 2 years later at follow-up. The absolute change in the proportion of children walking and cycling to school (difference in differences) was calculated.

Results:

There was no overall intervention effect detected for active travel to or from school. This is despite an absolute increase of 14.7% (1.6, 27.9) in the proportion of children that indicated a preference for active travel to school in the town with the most intensive intervention (town 2).

Conclusions:

Interventions designed to increase active travel to school hold some promise but should have a high-intensity mix of infrastructural and behavioral measures, be gender-specific, address car dependency and focus on travel home from school initially.

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Ipek N. Sener and Richard J. Lee

Background:

Active travel has been linked with improved transportation and health outcomes, such as reduced traffic congestion and air pollution, improved mobility, accessibility, and equity, and increased physical and mental health. The purpose of this study was to better understand active travel characteristics, motivators, and deterrents in the El Paso, TX, region.

Methods:

A multimodal transportation survey brought together elements of transportation and health, with a focus on attitudinal characteristics. The analysis consisted of an initial descriptive analysis, spatial analysis, and multivariate binary and ordered-response models of walking and bicycling behavior.

Results:

The motivators and deterrents of active travel differed for walkers, bicyclists, and noncyclists interested in bicycling. The link between active travel and life satisfaction was moderated by age, with a negative association for older travelers. This effect was stronger for bicycling than it was for walking.

Conclusions:

Based on the findings, several interventions to encourage walking and bicycling were suggested. These included infrastructure and built environment enhancements, workplace programs, and interventions targeting specific subpopulations.

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Jenna Rachel Panter and Andy Jones

Background:

Walking and cycling for transport, or ‘active travel,’ has the potential to contribute to overall physical activity levels. However, a wide range of factors are hypothesized to be associated with adult’s active travel behavior. This paper describes current knowledge of the psychological and environmental determinants of active travel in adults, and considers ways in which the 2 domains can be better integrated.

Methods:

Quantitative studies were reviewed which examined psychological and environmental influences on active travel in an adult population. Studies were classified according to whether they examined psychological, environmental or both types of factor.

Results:

Fourteen studies were identified which examined psychological correlates of active travel behavior in adults, and 36 which examined environmental correlates. Seven studies were identified which considered both domains, of which only 2 of explored the interactions between personal, social and environmental factors. The majority of the evidence is helpful in identifying correlates rather than determinants of active travel behavior.

Conclusions:

To further our understanding of the influences of active travel, there is a need for more research which integrates both individual and environmental domains and examines how they interact.

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Wendy Y. Huang, Stephen H. Wong and Gang He

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.

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Anna Goodman, James Paskins and Roger Mackett

Background:

Children in primary school are more physically active in the spring/summer. Little is known about the relative contributions of day length and weather, however, or about the underlying behavioral mediators.

Methods:

325 British children aged 8 to 11 wore accelerometers as an objective measure of physical activity, measured in terms of mean activity counts. Children simultaneously completed diaries in which we identified episodes of out-of-home play, structured sports, and active travel. Our main exposure measures were day length, temperature, rainfall, cloud cover, and wind speed.

Results:

Overall physical activity was higher on long days (≥ 14 hours daylight), but there was no difference between short (< 9.5 hours) and medium days (10.2–12.6 hours). The effect of long day length was largest between 5 PM and 8 PM, and persisted after adjusting for rainfall, cloud cover, and wind. Up to half this effect was explained by a greater duration and intensity of out-of-home play on long days; structured sports and active travel were less affected by day length.

Conclusions:

At least above a certain threshold, longer afternoon/evening daylight may have a causal role in increasing child physical activity. This strengthens the public health arguments for daylight saving measures such as those recently under consideration in Britain.

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Yong Yang, Xue Hong, James G. Gurney and Youfa Wang

Background:

Active travel to school (ATS) is positively associated with various health indicators. The rapid social, economic, and environmental changes in China provide a unique setting to study changes and predictors of ATS over time.

Methods:

Using logistic regression modeling, we analyzed data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey during 1997 to 2011 (N = 9487, ages 6 to 17 years) to estimate the change over time in ATS and to identify associated factors.

Results:

The prevalence of reported ATS among children dropped from 95.8% in 1997 to 69.3% in 2011. ATS was common in children living closer to school, in middle school, from low-income households, with low parental education status, and those without a private vehicle. Children who were living in a metropolitan area and who had more than 40 minutes of total PA per day were less likely to report ATS.

Conclusions:

The decrease of ATS had been concurrent with the increase of the children living at a longer distance from school and the increase of household owning private vehicles which were associated with the rapid urbanization and economic growth in China. Factors associated with the decreased ATS in China are similar to other countries but the underlying reasons may be different.

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Casey P. Durand, Kelley K. Pettee Gabriel, Deanna M. Hoelscher and Harold W. Kohl III

Background:

The potential for adults to accrue significant physical activity through public transit use is a topic of interest. However, there are no data on analogous questions among children. The goal of this analysis was to quantify patterns of transit use and correlates of transit-related physical activity among children aged 5 to 17 years.

Methods:

Data for this cross-sectional study came from the 2012 California Household Travel Survey. Probit regressions modeled the probability of transit use; negative binomial regressions modeled minutes/day in transit-related active travel.

Results:

Public transit use accounted for 3% of trips in California in 2012. Older Hispanic youth and those residing in areas with greater housing density and county size had a higher probability of transit use. Driver licensure, home ownership, household income, and vehicles in household were negatively correlated with public transit use. Race/ethnicity, income, and transit type were correlated with time spent in active travel to/from transit.

Conclusions:

Given its importance as a source of physical activity for some children, researchers should consider assessment of public transit-related activity in physical activity measurement instruments. Efforts to encourage active travel should consider how to incorporate transit-related activity, both from a measurement perspective and as an intervention strategy.

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Melissa Bopp, Christopher Bopp and Megan Schuchert

Background:

Active transportation (AT) has been associated with positive health outcomes, yet limited research has addressed this with college students, a population at-risk for inactivity. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between AT behavior and objectively measured fitness outcomes.

Methods:

A volunteer, convenience sample (n = 299) of college students from a large northeastern university completed a survey about their AT habits to and on campus and psychosocial constructs related to AT and participated in a laboratory-based fitness assessment (cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, body composition).Off-campus students were dichotomized as nonactive (0−1 AT trips/day) or active travelers (> 1 AT trips/day) to campus; t-tests compared nonactive and active travelers for psychosocial and fitness variables.

Results:

Students were 56.3% male, 79.2% non-Hispanic White, and primarily living off-campus (87%). Most students (n = 177, 59.2%) reported active travel between classes. Off-campus students were primarily active travelers (76.1%). Active travelers to campus had greater cardiovascular fitness (P = .005), were more flexible (P = .006) and had lower systolic blood pressure (P = .05) compared with nonactive travelers.

Conclusion:

This study documents a relationship between AT behavior and objectively measured fitness among college students and provides a rationale for targeting this behavior as a method for improving health outcomes.