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Prev Med. 2004 Jan;38(1):39-47.

Perceptions about the local neighborhood and walking and cycling among children.

Author information

  • 1Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Health Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood VIC 3125, Australia. timperio@deakin.edu.au

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This study examined associations between perceptions of the local neighborhood and walking and cycling among children.

METHODS:

Children aged 5-6 years (n=291) and 10-12 years (n=919) were recruited from 19 Australian primary schools. Parents reported their child's usual walking or cycling to local destinations and their perceptions of their neighborhood. Ten- to twelve-year-olds were asked their perceptions of traffic, strangers, road safety and sporting venues, and their perceptions of their parent's views on these issues.

RESULTS:

Five- to six-year-old boys whose parents believed there was heavy traffic in their area were 2.8 times more likely (95%CI=1.1-6.8), and 5- to 6-year-old girls whose parents owned more than one car were 70% less likely (95%CI=0.1-0.8), and whose parents believed that public transport was limited in their area were 60% less likely (95%CI=0.2-0.9) than other children to walk or cycle at least three times per week. Parental belief that there were no lights or crossings was associated with walking or cycling among 10- to 12-year-old boys (OR=0.4, 95%CI=0.2-0.7). Among older girls, parent's belief that their child needed to cross several roads to reach play areas (OR=0.4, 95%CI=0.2-0.8) and that there is limited public transport in their area (OR=0.7, 95%CI=0.4-0.97), and child's belief that there were no parks or sports grounds near home (OR=0.5, 95%CI=0.3-0.8) were associated with a lower likelihood of walking or cycling.

CONCLUSION:

Perceptions of the local neighborhood may influence children's physical activity.

PMID:
14672640
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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