Background: Physical activity (PA) is important to adolescents' health. Parent transportation to activity locations is a practical strategy for increasing youth PA that has rarely been examined.
Design: Cross-sectional surveys of students and parents.
Setting/participants: Ethnically diverse students (N=1678; 712 boys, 966 girls; M age=13.0 years) from 24 middle schools (grades six to eight) and their parents completed surveys (response rate=72%).
Main outcome measures: Frequency of parents transporting adolescents to PA locations was studied in relation to adolescents' reported participation in PA during the previous week and their involvement in sports and activity lessons during the past year.
Results: Parents transported adolescents to PA locations 2.13 times per week, with boys being transported more often than girls (p=0.03). Ethnic/racial differences in frequency of transport were evidenced (p=0.002). Parent transportation for PA significantly contributed to girls' total PA (p=0.001) and their participation in sports/activity lessons (p=0.001). Transportation contributed marginally (p=0.06) to boys' total PA, but significantly to their participation in sports/activity lessons (p=0.001).
Conclusions: Parent provision of transportation to activity locations is associated with out-of-school PA in a diverse adolescent population. This variable should be targeted for intervention.