Active commuting to school: associations with environment and parental concerns

TitleActive commuting to school: associations with environment and parental concerns
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsKerr, J, Rosenberg, D, Sallis, JF, Saelens, BE, Frank, LD, Conway, TL, ,
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Keywordsadolescents, barriers, Children, physical activity, walking

KERR J., D. ROSENBERG, J. F. SALLIS, B. E. SAELENS, L. D. FRANK, and T. L. CONWAY. Active Commuting to School:
Associations with Environment and Parental Concerns. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc.,Vol. 38, No. 4, pp. 787–794, 2006. Purpose: This
study examined the association of objective and perceived neighborhood environmental characteristics and parent concerns with
active commuting to school, investigated whether parental concerns varied by environmental characteristics, and compared the
association of the perceived environment, parental concerns, and objective environment on the outcome active commuting to school.
Methods: Randomly selected parents of children (aged 5–18 yr), in neighborhoods chosen for their variability in objectively measured
walkability and income, completed questionnaires about their neighborhood environment, concerns about children walking to school,
and children_s behavior (N = 259). Objective measures of the environment were available for each participant and each neighborhood.
Logistic regression analyses were used to investigate the relationships among environment, parental concerns, and walking or biking
to or from school at least once a week. Results: A parental concerns scale was most strongly associated with child active commuting
(odds ratio: 5.2, 95% CI: 2.71–9.96). In high-income neighborhoods, more children actively commuted in high-walkable (34%) than
in low-walkable neighborhoods (23%) (odds ratio: 2.1, 95% CI: 1.12–3.97), but no differences were noted in low-income
neighborhoods. Parent concerns and neighborhood aesthetics were independently associated with active commuting. Perceived access
to local stores and biking or walking facilities accounted for some of the effect of walkability on active commuting. Conclusion: Both
parent concerns and the built environment were associated with children_s active commuting to school. To increase active commuting
to school, interventions that include both environmental change and education campaigns may be needed.