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The influence of the built environment on outcomes from a “walking school bus study”: a cross-sectional analysis using geographical information systems

Nicolas M. Oreskovic, Jeff Blossom, Alyssa I. Robinson, Minghua L. Chen, Doris K. Uscanga, Jason A. Mendoza
  • Nicolas M. Oreskovic
    Center for Child and Adolescent Health Research and Policy, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Departments of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Harvard Medical School, Boston, United States | noreskovic@mgh.harvard.edu
  • Jeff Blossom
    Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis, Cambridge, United States
  • Alyssa I. Robinson
    Center for Child and Adolescent Health Research and Policy, Massachusetts; General Hospital, Boston, United States
  • Minghua L. Chen
    Center for Child and Adolescent Health Research and Policy, Massachusetts; General Hospital, Boston, United States
  • Doris K. Uscanga
    Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, United States
  • Jason A. Mendoza
    Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle; University of Washington, Seattle, United States

Abstract

Active commuting to school increases children’s daily physical activity. The built environment is associated with children’s physical activity levels in cross-sectional studies. This study examined the role of the built environment on the out- comes of a “walking school bus” study. Geographical information systems was used to map out and compare the built envi- ronments around schools participating in a pilot walking school bus randomised controlled trial, as well as along school routes. Multi-level modelling was used to determine the built environment attributes associated with the outcomes of active commuting to school and accelerometer-determined moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MPVA). There were no differ- ences in the surrounding built environments of control (n = 4) and intervention (n = 4) schools participating in the walking school bus study. Among school walking routes, park space was inversely associated with active commuting to school (β = -0.008, SE = 0.004, P = 0.03), while mixed-land use was positively associated with daily MPVA (β = 60.0, SE = 24.3, P = 0.02). There was effect modification such that high traffic volume and high street connectivity were associated with greater moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. The results of this study suggest that the built environment may play a role in active school commuting outcomes and daily physical activity.

Keywords

built environment, children, geographical information systems, active commuting, physical activity, United States of America.

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Submitted: 2014-12-05 12:25:42
Published: 2014-11-01 00:00:00
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Copyright (c) 2014 Nicolas M. Oreskovic, Jeff Blossom, Alyssa I. Robinson, Minghua L. Chen, Doris K. Uscanga, Jason A. Mendoza

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