Proximity to School and Physical Activity Among Middle School Girls: The Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls Study

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

Proximity to routine destinations is an important correlate of physical activity. We examined the association between distance from school and physical activity in adolescent girls.

Methods:

We mapped the addresses of 1554 sixth-grade girls who participated in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG) Study and calculated the shortest distance from home to school along the street network. Using a hierarchical design we examined the association between MET-weighted moderate to vigorous physical activity (MW- MVPA) and distance to school, while controlling for potential confounders.

Results:

Distance to school was inversely associated with weekday MW- MVPA for middle school girls. For every mile the girls lived from their schools, they engaged in an average of 13 fewer MET-weighted minutes per week.

Conclusions:

Distance to school is inversely associated with MW-MVPA. The most adversely affected girls lived more than 5 miles from school. Time spent commuting could explain reduced time for physical activity.

Cohen, Ashwood, and Overton are with the RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA. Scott is with the UCLA/RAND Center for Adolescent Health Promotion, Los Angeles, CA 90024. Evenson is with the Dept of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Voorhees is with the Dept of Public and Community Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. Bedimo-Rung is with the Louisiana State University School of Public Health, New Orleans, LA 70112. McKenzie is with the Dept of Exercise & Nutritional Science, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182.