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Cross sectional analysis of the association between mode of school transportation and physical fitness in children and adolescents

17 Jul 2013

ObjectiveTo investigate the associations between body composition, cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness in relation to travel mode to school in children and adolescents.MethodChildren and adolescents from 40 elementary schools and 23 high schools representing all regions in Norway were invited to participate in the study. Anthropometry, cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness were tested at the school location. Questionnaires were used in order to register mode of transport to school, age, gender and levels of leisure time physical activity.
Results:
A total of 1694 (i.e. 60% of all invited participants) children and adolescents at a mean age of 9.6 and 15.6 respectively (SD = 0.4 for both groups) were analyzed for associations with physical fitness variables. Males cycling to school had lower sum of skin folds than adolescents walking to school. Higher cardiorespiratory fitness in adolescents and male cyclists compared to walkers and passive commuters were observed. Among children, cycling and walking to school, higher isometric muscle endurance in the back extensors compared to passive commuters was observed.
Conclusion:
Based on this national representative cross-sectional examination of randomly selected children and adolescents there is evidence that active commuting, especially cycling, is associated with a favourable body composition and better cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness as compared to passive commuting.

Date: 
17 July 2013

Click here to view the full article which appeared in International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity