Is active travel to non-school destinations associated with physical activity in primary school children?

Prev Med. Mar-Apr 2012;54(3-4):224-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.01.006. Epub 2012 Jan 18.


Objective: To examine associations between mode of travel to non-school destinations and physical activity in schoolchildren.

Method: Analyses of data from SPEEDY, an observational study of 9-10 year old British children. In summer 2007, children reported their usual mode of travel to four destinations (to visit family, friends, the park or the shops) and wore accelerometers for at least three days. Time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was computed for the following time segments: daily, after school, weekend and out-of-school. Associations between mode of travel and physical activity were assessed using adjusted two-level multiple regression models stratified by sex.

Results: 1859 pupils provided valid data. Boys who used active modes of travel spent significantly more time in MVPA in all time segments than boys who used passive modes. The median daily time spent in MVPA was 87 minutes (IQR 68-106) for active travellers and 76 minutes (IQR 60-93) for passive travellers. In girls, median time spent in MVPA after school was significantly higher in the active (34 minutes (IQR 27-44)) than the passive travellers (29 minutes (IQR 22-37)).

Conclusion: Active travel to non-school destinations is associated with higher overall physical activity levels in 9-10 year old schoolchildren.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity*
  • Schools
  • Time Factors
  • Transportation*
  • United Kingdom