Children and active travel

This page lists articles that explore children's levels of physical activity and active travel. You can read our overview of the evidence in this area.

Physical activity and diet relative to socio-economic status and gender in British young people
Thomas, N., Cooper, S., Baker, J., Davies, B.
Health Education Journal, September 2006, Volume 65, Issue 3, pages 223-235
This paper examines the physical activity levels and dietary habits of British young people according to socio-economic status, finding that boys were more active than girls, but socio-economic status did not influence time spent in physical activity.
Keywords: Physical Activity, Diet, Socio-economic Status, Young People

Promoting physical activity participation among children and adolescents
Salmon, J., Booth, M., Phongsavan, P., Murphy, N., Timperio, A.
Epidemiologic Reviews, 2007, Volume 29, Issue 1, pages144-159
This study summarises the evidence of the effectiveness of physical activity interventions, finding that interventions in the school setting were not effective, although more research is needed.
Keywords: Adolescents, Children, Physical Activity, Exercise, Health Education, Health Promotion, Schools

The contribution of active play to the physical activity of primary school children
Brockman, R., Jago, R., Fox, K.
Preventive Medicine, August 2010, Volume 51, Issue 2, pages 144-147
This paper examines the association between active play and physical activity of 10-11-year-old children, finding an association with active play just after school potentially being a critical period.
Keywords: Active Play, Physical Activity, Children, Leisure, Accelerometer

A place to play: socioeconomic and spatial factors in children's physical activity
Ziviani, J., Wadley, D., Ward, H., Macdonald, D., Jenkins, D., Rodger, S.
Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, March 2008, Volume 55, Issue 1, pages 2-11
This paper investigates any socio-environmental and spatial factors that may contribute to physical inactivity and obesity in children.
Keywords: Physical Inactivity, Obesity, Children, Socio-Environmental Factors, Socio-Economic Status

Independent mobility in relation to weekday and weekend physical activity in children aged 10-11 years: The PEACH Project
Page, A., Cooper, A., Griew, P., Davis, L., Hillsdon, M.
International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2009, Volume 6, Issue 2
Full report available
This paper investigates the relationship between independent mobility of children and their levels of physical activity, finding that independent mobility was positively correlated with weekday physical activity for both boys and girls.
Keywords: Physical Activity, Independent Mobility, Children

Children's active free play in local neighbourhoods
Veitch, J., Salmon, J., Ball, K.
Health Education Research, November 2007, Volume 23, Number 5, pages 870-879
This paper examines children's access to public spaces in their neighbourhood and how they vary by age, sex, and socio-economic status, finding that those in lower socio-economic neighbourhoods had to travel further to access public open spaces, hence inhibiting their independent mobility and active free play.
Keywords: Independent Mobility, Neighbourhood, Socio-economic status, Active Play

Perceptions about the local neighborhood and walking and cycling among children
Timpeiro, A., Crawford, D., Telford, A., Salmon, J.
Preventive Medicine, January 2004, Volume 38, Issue 1, pages 39-47
This paper examines the association between walking/cycling amongst children and perceptions of the local neighbourhood, finding that parents' perceptions of physical aspects of the local neighbourhood may influence children's physical activity.
Keywords: Physical Activity, Neighbourhood, Physical Environment, Walking, Cycling, Children, Transport, Perceptions, Safety

Do attributes in the physical environment influence children's physical activity? A review of the literature
Davison, K., Lawson, C.
International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2006, Volume 3, Issue 19
Full report available
This paper shows that, based on a literature review, there is an association between physical activity amongst children and their local physical environment.
Keywords: Physical Activity, Children, Literature Review, Infrastructure, Physical Environment

The therapeutic value of children's everyday travel
Mackett, R.
Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, February-March 2005, Volume 39, Issues 2-3, pages 205-219
This paper examines the relationship between travel and physical activity, using motion-sensor technology and travel diaries.
Keywords: Children, Physical Activity, Walking, Car Use, Travel

Policy options to support physical activity in schools
François Lade, Claire M.A Leblanc
Canadian Journal of Public Health, Volume 101, Issue 8 (2010)
This paper reviews policies aimed at increasing physical activity levels in schools, as well as introducing other interventions yet to be tested.
Keywords: Policies, Physical Activity, School

Aerobic fitness and mode of travel to school in English schoolchildren
Voss, C., Sandercock, G.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, February 2010, Volume 42, Issue 2, pages 281-287
This paper demonstrates the positive relationship between walking/cycling to school and physical fitness by studying over 6,000 schoolchildren in the East of England.
Keywords: Cycling, Walking, Commuting, Physical Activity, Physical Fitness, School

A systematic review of interventions for promoting active transportation to school
Chillon, P., Evenson, K., Vaughn, A., Ward, D.
International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2011, Volume 8, Issue10
Full report available
The authors of this paper conducted a thorough literature review of existing research to identify what interventions are being implemented to encourage active travel amongst school children.
Keywords: Active Travel/Transport, Children, Literature Review, Research Review, Intervention(s)

Physical activity from childhood to adulthood - a 21-year tracking study
Telama, R., Yang, X., Viikari, J., Valimaki, I., Wanne, O., Raitakari, O.
 2005 Apr;28(3):267-73
This paper explores the connection between physical activity in childhood and physical activity in adulthood.
Keywords: Physical Activity, Children, Childhood, Adulthood

Fun, fast and fit: influences and motivators for teenagers who cycle to high school
Orsini, A.
Children, Youth and Environments, 2006, Volume 16, Issue 1, pages 121-132
Full report available
This paper explores the influences and motivations of six Vancouver teenagers, old enough to drive, who regularly choose to cycle to school.
Keywords: Teenagers, Motivation(s), Influence(s), Cycling, School

Are parental health habits transmitted to their children? An eight year longitudinal study of physical activity in adolescents and their parents 
Anderssen, N., Wold, B., Torsheim, T.
Journal of Adolescence, August 2006, Volume 29, Issue 4, pages 513-524
There is no evidence from this longitudinal study to suggest a relationship between adolescents' leisure-time physical activity and their parents' leisure-time physical activity over an eight-year period.
Keywords: Longitudinal, Two-Generational, Leisure, Physical Activity, Adolescence

Obesity prevention programs for children and youth: why are their results so modest?
Thomas, H.
Health Education Research, 2006, Volume 21, Issue 6, pages 783-795
This paper critically explores the reasons for modest results in obesity prevention in children and youth programs, citing methodological limitations, programme design and implementation issues, among other factors.
Keywords: Obesity, Children, Youth, Evidence, Constraints

A controlled trial of a school-based environmental intervention to improve physical activity in Dutch children: JUMP-in, kids in motion
Jurg, M., Kremers, S., Candel, M., van der Wal, M., de Meij, J.
Health Promotion International, 2006, Volume 21, Issue 4, pages 320-330
This paper examines the effects of a physical activity programme, JUMP-in, on levels of physical activity amongst Dutch primary school children.
Keywords: Children, Physical Activity, Program(me)

Active commuting to school and cognitive performance in adolescents
Martinez-Gomez, D., Ruiz, J., Gomez-Martinez, S., Chillon, P., Rey-Lopez, JP., Diaz, L., Castillo, R., Veiga, O., Marcos, A.
 2011 Apr;165(4):300-5. doi: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.244. Epub 2010 Dec 6.
This paper examines the association between active commuting to school and cognitive performance, finding an association for girls, but not for boys.
Keywords: Active Travel/Transport, School, Commuting, Adolescents, Gender Differences, Cognitive Performance

Determinants of change in physical activity in children and adolescents: a systematic review
Craggs, C., Corder, K., van Sluijs, E., Griffin, S.
American Journal of Preventive Medicine, June 2011, Volume 40, Issue 6, pages 645-658
This paper reviews the evidence regarding determinants of change in physical activity in children and adolescents.
Keywords: Physical Activity, Determinants, Children, Adolescents

Gender differences in children's pathways to independent mobility
Brown, B., Mackett, R., Gong, Y., Kitazawa, K., Paskins, J.
Children's Geographies, 2008, Volume 6, Issue 4, pages 285-401
This paper explores the independent mobility of boys and girls in two parts of Greater London, and found that boys enjoyed greater mobility and became independent much earlier than girls.
Keywords: Children, Independent Mobility, Social Networks, Peer Groups, Gender Differences