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Am J Prev Med. 2007 Aug;33(2):98-105.

National prevalence and correlates of walking and bicycling to school.

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  • 1Program Evaluation Across the Nation Using Technology, Farmington, Maine, USA.



Active travel to school provides youth with an opportunity to accumulate minutes of physical activity toward meeting recommended levels.


The study included a nationally representative sample of U.S. children, aged 9 to 15 years, and one of their parents from 2004 (2256 pairs aged 11 to 15 and 5177 pairs aged 9 to 13). The objective was to estimate the prevalence of living within a mile of school, and of those who lived within a mile, the prevalence of active travel to school. Geographic, demographic, attitudinal, and behavioral correlates of active travel (defined as walking or bicycling to school one or more times during a usual week) were identified.


Nearly 35% of children live within a mile of school. Among those, 47.9% were classified as active travelers. Adjusted correlates were identified from each domain (three demographic, two geographic, two attitudinal, five behavioral), explaining approximately 10% of the variance in logistic regression models.


More than a third of youth aged 9 to 15 years live within a mile of school, but less than half of these students walk or bike to school even 1 day per week. The lowest proportions of active travelers among the independent correlates include students in the South, students living in rural areas, and students of parents with an advanced degree.

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