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Title: The contribution of active travel to school to physical activity in children and adolescents
Author: Southward , Elissa Fay
ISNI:       0000 0004 5372 4491
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2014
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Active travel is a possible method to increase physical activity in children and adolescents and it has been associated with higher physical activity in youth. However, it is unclear what the precise contribution of the journey is to daily physical activity relative to other activity before and after school. The aim of this thesis is to explore and quantify the contribution of school specific active travel to physical activity in children and adolescents aged 10-16 years. Participants were from the PEACH Project (Personal and Environmental Associations with Children's Health) in Bristol, England. One thousand three hundred and seven UK primary school children had been recruited in their final year (Y6, 10-11 years), of whom 953 were followed-up the first year of secondary school (Y7, 11-12 years) and finally 585 were followed-up the final year of secondary school (Y11 , 15-16 years). Longitudinal analyses in Chapter 4 showed a change from active to passive travel between Y6 and Y7 was associated with decreased weekday physical activity. There was little change in travel mode between Y7 and Y11, and physical activity decreased over this time; however children who walked to/from school still had the greater physical activity compared to car/bus users. In Chapter 5, analyses based on combined accelerometry, GPS and GIS showed that the journey was a major contributor to children's daily physical activity levels in Y7. A comparison of two GPS models in Chapter 6, found a 12.7% loss of data, due to signal acquisition and dropout issues, in GPS data measured by the Garmin Foretrex 201 compared with the BT QStarz (used in Y11); therefore, journey MVPA, duration and distance were likely underestimated in Y6 and Y7. Longitudinal analyses in Chapter 7 showed that as physical activity levels decreased with age, journey related physical activity increased and became an increasingly important contributor to physical activity. Physical activity acquired during the school journey was similar for both boys and girls, but since girls were less active than boys overall, the journey contributed a greater proportion of their daily MVP A. This thesis confirms the important role of active travel in contributing to children's weekday physical activity and suggests that interventions which aim to maintain and increase active travel between primary and secondary school may be an important public health target to reducing the decline in physical activity levels seen throughout adolescence, especially in girls.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available