Changes in active travel of school children from 2004 to 2010 in New South Wales, Australia

Dafna Meron, Chris Rissel, Tracie Reinten-Reynolds, Louise L. Hardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To describe changes in mode of commuting to school among Australia students between 2004 and 2010 and in relation to body mass index (BMI) and cardio respiratory fitness. Methods: Representative cross-sectional survey of school children in grades 6, 8 and 10 in 2004 (n = 2750) and 2010 (n = 4273). Information on how many days students use active and passive travel modes to and from school and measured BMI and cardio-respiratory fitness test were collected as part of the New South Wales (NSW) Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Surveys (SPANS). Results: Active travel to school remained stable between 2004 and 2010, although there was a small increase in minutes spent on active travel. There was no association between active travel and body mass index. In 2010 there was a significant association between frequent car use and low cardio-respiratory fitness (adjusted OR = 1.7, CI 1.3-2.1). Conclusion: It is a positive finding that the generational decline in active travel may have levelled out. Student inactivity associated with regular car use is plausibly related to lower cardio-respiratory fitness, but active commuting may not be of sufficient energy expenditure to impact upon BMI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-410
Number of pages3
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Active travel
  • Body mass index
  • Fitness
  • School students


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