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Parental Provision of Transportation for Adolescent Physical Activity

Study that investigates the relationship between provision of parental transport and out-of-school physical activity.

Hoefer, W. R.; McKenzie, T. L; Sallis, J. F.; Marshall, S. J. & Conway, T. L.  Department of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, Department of Psychology and Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University.  (2001).

Study investigates the impact of parental transport on physical activity for adolescents in American middle schools.  The study also seeks to establish whether there is a relationship between time spent at an activity facility and activity levels, along with demographic differences in physical activity participation. 

Method:  1678 student and parent pairs participated in the study.  Students were from Grade 6 to Grade 8.  There was a spread of ethnic diversity and level of parental education within the sample.  Students completed a 7 day physical activity checklist and indicates the intensity level at which they engaged with the activity, students also recorded the amount of structured activities they were engaged in outside of school.  Parents also completed a survey in order to indicate how often their child engaged in physical activity and how often they provided transport to these facilities. 

Findings:  Parental provision of transport was related to students’ physical activity participation.  Length of time spent at a facility was positively related tot physical activity level.  Parental transport may be more important for females than males; males took a more independent approach to transport (e.g. walking, cycling) when parental transport was not available.  It should be noted that this community was relatively dependent on cars as the main mode of transport. 

Implications:  Access to facilities and programmes is very important.  The importance of providing transport to adolescents should be emphasized to parents.  Increasing the access to local facilities and recreation areas, such as parks, that adolescents can get to on their own is also very important.

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American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2001, 21 (1), 48-51

Further Contact Details

Thomas McKenzie, Department of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University. E-mail: tmckenzie@sdsu.edu.

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