Lee, C., & Li, L. (2014). Demographic, Physical Activity, and Route Characteristics Related to School Transportation: An Exploratory Study. American Journal of Health Promotion, 28(sp3), S77-S88.
PURPOSE: To investigate the demographic, physical activity, and route characteristics related to children's school trips. DESIGN: Cross-sectional exploratory study. SETTING: Eighteen elementary schools in the Austin Independent School District, Austin, Texas. SUBJECTS: One hundred twelve children aged 7 to 12 years. MEASURES: Accelerometer and Global Positioning System (GPS) devices provided objective measures of school travel and physical activity. Parental survey (response rate = 34.2%) provided children's demographic and household information. ANALYSIS: Generalized linear regression analyses were used for unadjusted and adjusted models estimating correlates of total moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and school trip-related MVPA's contribution rate. RESULTS: Walking trips were .44 miles (.71 km) on average. Those who walked to school had about 11 more minutes of daily MVPA than nonwalkers (35.03 vs. 24.06) and higher proportions of their daily MVPA obtained from school commute trips (21.78% vs. 2.41%). School trips accounted for 11.2% of total daily MVPA on average, 12.9% for those who met the physical activity recommendation, and 35.2% for the sedentary children who belonged to the lowest MVPA quartile. CONCLUSION: Active school commuting appears to be a valuable means to promote physical activity, and its contributions toward total physical activity vary across different demographic groups and community settings. Objective and detailed data from GPS and accelerometer units can facilitate the assessment of route/trip characteristics and physical activity implications of school transportation.