A systematic review in device-measured physical activity during active commuting to/from school: practical considerations to assess when, where, and how much it occurs

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Abstract

Active commuting to/from school (ACS) is an efficient manner to increase daily physical activity (PA) levels. However, there seems to be no consensus on the best methodology to accurately assess ACS-PA. Therefore, this systematic review aimed (1) to compile and review the methodologies used in device-measured ACS-PA in young people, including the definition of the times (i.e. start/end times) and the locations (i.e. home/school) of the trips (i.e. when and where), and how to quantify the ACS-PA mode, intensity, and volume with devices (e.g. accelerometers, pedometers), (2) to analyse the strengths and limitations of these methodologies, and (3) to propose practical recommendations for ACS-PA measurement. A systematic search was carried out up to 2021 in five different databases. The systematic search yielded 6,274 references, of which 27 papers met the inclusion criteria (See PMC7459731). Methodologies used to assess ACS-PA were heterogenous, especially on how to determine the times when ACS takes place. The start/end times of the trips were mainly identified using predefined time intervals, even though GPS-based detection were also used in some studies. Regarding how to quantify the ACS-PA, the main mode of ACS assessed was walking and the most used device was the accelerometer to quantify the PA intensity. This systematic review provides the strengths and limitations of each method, proposes solutions to appropriately measure ACS-PA, and includes a decision tree for helping researchers’ decision-making. PROSPERO registration number CRD42020162004A.

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Campos-Garzón, P., Saucedo-Araujo, R. G., Sevil-Serrano, J., Migueles, J. H., Barranco-Ruiz, Y., & Chillón, P. (2023). A systematic review in device-measured physical activity during active commuting to/from school: practical considerations to assess when, where, and how much it occurs. Transport Reviews, 43(5), 888–913. https://doi.org/10.1080/01441647.2023.2175276

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