Gender differences in personal, social and environmental influences on active travel to and from school for Australian adolescents

Evie Leslie, Peter Kremer, John Toumbourou, Joanne Williams

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    68 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Active travel (walking or cycling for transport) is an important contributor to adolescents overall physical activity (PA). This study examines associations between personal, social and environmental variables and active travel to and from school using data from a large observational study to examine active travel in 2961 year 6 and 8 students (48.7% male), aged 10-14 years (M = 11.4, SD = 0.8. yrs) from 231 schools. Participants completed an on-line survey and all reported living within 2. km of school. Data collected included mode of travel to and from school, self-reported health, and PA variables. Social environmental variables included having playgrounds, parks or gyms close by, feeling safe to walk alone, barriers to walking in the neighbourhood (e.g. traffic, no footpaths), peer and family support for PA, existence of sports teams/scout groups, community disorder and perceived neighbourhood safety. Results showed that while more girls (44.3%) than boys (37.4%) walked to school, lower proportions rode bikes (8.3% vs 22.4%) and hence fewer were active travellers overall. Logistic regression models, adjusted for age, location and socio-economic status were conducted for active travel to/from school, separately for boys and girls. Predictors for boys and girls being 'active travellers' to/from school included recreational facilities close to home, higher perceived safety of the neighbourhood and higher community disorder. For boys, social support from friends, scout groups available and higher enjoyment of physical activity was also important. These findings suggest areas for future research and may be used to guide strategies to increase active travel to and from school.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)597-601
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
    Volume13
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010

    Keywords

    • Active transport
    • Children
    • Health behaviour
    • Public health

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