Trends in Australian children traveling to school 1971-2003: Burning petrol or carbohydrates?

Hidde P. van der Ploeg*, Dafna Merom, Grace Corpuz, Adrian E. Bauman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: To determine how Australian children traveled to and from school between 1971 and 2003. Methods: The 1971 (n = 4284), 1981 (n = 4936), 1991 (n = 662) and 1999-2003 (n = 816) Household Travel Surveys from the New South Wales Government Department of Planning were used to determine the mode of transport kids (5-14 years) took to and from school in the area of Sydney (Australia). Results: The results showed that the percentage of children aged 5-9 that walked to school was 57.7, 44.5, 35.3 and 25.5 in 1971, 1981, 1991 and 1999-2003, respectively. The percentage of children aged 5-9 that were driven to school by car in the four surveys was 22.8, 37.3, 53.9 and 66.6, respectively. The results for children aged 10-14 were similar, walking decreased from 44.2% to 21.1% and car use increased from 12.2% to 47.8% over the study period. Similar results were found for travel from school and there were no major differences between boys and girls. Conclusion: Between 1971 and 2003, Australian children's mode of travel to and from school has markedly shifted from active (walking) to inactive (car) modes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-62
Number of pages3
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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