Associations between environmental characteristics and active commuting to school among children: A cross-sectional study

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Abstract

Background
Active commuting to school can contribute to active living among children, and environmental characteristics might be related to transportation mode to school.
Purpose
The purpose of this study is to explore the association between physical and social environmental characteristics in the home, neighborhood, and school environment and walking and bicycling to school.
Method
Data were collected among parents (n = 5,963) of children of primary schools in four Dutch cities. Parents reported mode of transportation to school, and individual, home environmental, neighborhood, and school environmental characteristics. Social as well as physical characteristics were included for the home and neighborhood environment. Multilevel multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted to quantify the association between environmental characteristics and walking and bicycling to school.
Results
Three quarter of all children usually commute to school by active transportation, but age and distance from home to school were important prerequisites. Besides home environmental characteristics, lower neighborhood socioeconomic status was negatively associated with walking [odds ratio (OR) = 0.51] and bicycling (OR = 0.86). Perceived social safety was positively related to walking and bicycling (OR = 1.04 for both), as was perceived social cohesion (OR = 1.04 and 1.02 for walking and bicycling). Living in the city center was positively associated with walking (OR = 1.91), whereas living in a city green neighborhood was negatively associated with walking and bicycling (OR = 0.48 and 0.76, respectively). Traffic safety as perceived by school boards was positively associated with bicycling (OR = 1.25).
Conclusion
This study shows that there is a relation between several characteristics in the home, neighborhood, and school environment and walking and bicycling to school among Dutch primary school children. Especially the social neighborhood characteristics were related to active commuting. Therefore, apart from providing a physical infrastructure that facilitates safe and convenient active commuting to school, policy makers should be aware of opportunities to facilitate active commuting by social initiatives in local communities.
Keywords: Children, Physical activity, Active commuting, Environment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)538-555
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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Cross-Sectional Studies
Odds Ratio
Parents
Administrative Personnel
Logistic Models
Exercise

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@article{9862ce7d067b4a0fb889520704a913a3,
title = "Associations between environmental characteristics and active commuting to school among children: A cross-sectional study",
abstract = "BackgroundActive commuting to school can contribute to active living among children, and environmental characteristics might be related to transportation mode to school.PurposeThe purpose of this study is to explore the association between physical and social environmental characteristics in the home, neighborhood, and school environment and walking and bicycling to school.MethodData were collected among parents (n = 5,963) of children of primary schools in four Dutch cities. Parents reported mode of transportation to school, and individual, home environmental, neighborhood, and school environmental characteristics. Social as well as physical characteristics were included for the home and neighborhood environment. Multilevel multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted to quantify the association between environmental characteristics and walking and bicycling to school.ResultsThree quarter of all children usually commute to school by active transportation, but age and distance from home to school were important prerequisites. Besides home environmental characteristics, lower neighborhood socioeconomic status was negatively associated with walking [odds ratio (OR) = 0.51] and bicycling (OR = 0.86). Perceived social safety was positively related to walking and bicycling (OR = 1.04 for both), as was perceived social cohesion (OR = 1.04 and 1.02 for walking and bicycling). Living in the city center was positively associated with walking (OR = 1.91), whereas living in a city green neighborhood was negatively associated with walking and bicycling (OR = 0.48 and 0.76, respectively). Traffic safety as perceived by school boards was positively associated with bicycling (OR = 1.25).ConclusionThis study shows that there is a relation between several characteristics in the home, neighborhood, and school environment and walking and bicycling to school among Dutch primary school children. Especially the social neighborhood characteristics were related to active commuting. Therefore, apart from providing a physical infrastructure that facilitates safe and convenient active commuting to school, policy makers should be aware of opportunities to facilitate active commuting by social initiatives in local communities.Keywords: Children, Physical activity, Active commuting, Environment",
author = "M.J. Aarts and J.J.P. Mathijssen and {van Oers}, J.A.M. and A.J. Schuit",
year = "2013",
doi = "10.1007/s12529-012-9271-0",
language = "English",
volume = "20",
pages = "538--555",
journal = "International Journal of Behavioral Medicine",
issn = "1070-5503",
publisher = "Springer",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Associations between environmental characteristics and active commuting to school among children

T2 - A cross-sectional study

AU - Aarts, M.J.

AU - Mathijssen, J.J.P.

AU - van Oers, J.A.M.

AU - Schuit, A.J.

PY - 2013

Y1 - 2013

N2 - BackgroundActive commuting to school can contribute to active living among children, and environmental characteristics might be related to transportation mode to school.PurposeThe purpose of this study is to explore the association between physical and social environmental characteristics in the home, neighborhood, and school environment and walking and bicycling to school.MethodData were collected among parents (n = 5,963) of children of primary schools in four Dutch cities. Parents reported mode of transportation to school, and individual, home environmental, neighborhood, and school environmental characteristics. Social as well as physical characteristics were included for the home and neighborhood environment. Multilevel multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted to quantify the association between environmental characteristics and walking and bicycling to school.ResultsThree quarter of all children usually commute to school by active transportation, but age and distance from home to school were important prerequisites. Besides home environmental characteristics, lower neighborhood socioeconomic status was negatively associated with walking [odds ratio (OR) = 0.51] and bicycling (OR = 0.86). Perceived social safety was positively related to walking and bicycling (OR = 1.04 for both), as was perceived social cohesion (OR = 1.04 and 1.02 for walking and bicycling). Living in the city center was positively associated with walking (OR = 1.91), whereas living in a city green neighborhood was negatively associated with walking and bicycling (OR = 0.48 and 0.76, respectively). Traffic safety as perceived by school boards was positively associated with bicycling (OR = 1.25).ConclusionThis study shows that there is a relation between several characteristics in the home, neighborhood, and school environment and walking and bicycling to school among Dutch primary school children. Especially the social neighborhood characteristics were related to active commuting. Therefore, apart from providing a physical infrastructure that facilitates safe and convenient active commuting to school, policy makers should be aware of opportunities to facilitate active commuting by social initiatives in local communities.Keywords: Children, Physical activity, Active commuting, Environment

AB - BackgroundActive commuting to school can contribute to active living among children, and environmental characteristics might be related to transportation mode to school.PurposeThe purpose of this study is to explore the association between physical and social environmental characteristics in the home, neighborhood, and school environment and walking and bicycling to school.MethodData were collected among parents (n = 5,963) of children of primary schools in four Dutch cities. Parents reported mode of transportation to school, and individual, home environmental, neighborhood, and school environmental characteristics. Social as well as physical characteristics were included for the home and neighborhood environment. Multilevel multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted to quantify the association between environmental characteristics and walking and bicycling to school.ResultsThree quarter of all children usually commute to school by active transportation, but age and distance from home to school were important prerequisites. Besides home environmental characteristics, lower neighborhood socioeconomic status was negatively associated with walking [odds ratio (OR) = 0.51] and bicycling (OR = 0.86). Perceived social safety was positively related to walking and bicycling (OR = 1.04 for both), as was perceived social cohesion (OR = 1.04 and 1.02 for walking and bicycling). Living in the city center was positively associated with walking (OR = 1.91), whereas living in a city green neighborhood was negatively associated with walking and bicycling (OR = 0.48 and 0.76, respectively). Traffic safety as perceived by school boards was positively associated with bicycling (OR = 1.25).ConclusionThis study shows that there is a relation between several characteristics in the home, neighborhood, and school environment and walking and bicycling to school among Dutch primary school children. Especially the social neighborhood characteristics were related to active commuting. Therefore, apart from providing a physical infrastructure that facilitates safe and convenient active commuting to school, policy makers should be aware of opportunities to facilitate active commuting by social initiatives in local communities.Keywords: Children, Physical activity, Active commuting, Environment

U2 - 10.1007/s12529-012-9271-0

DO - 10.1007/s12529-012-9271-0

M3 - Article

VL - 20

SP - 538

EP - 555

JO - International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

JF - International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

SN - 1070-5503

IS - 4

ER -