Influence of distance, area, and cultural context in active commuting: Continental and insular children

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Abstract

Commuting by walking or cycling is a way to increase physical activity levels. The objective of this article was to determine the modes of commuting to school and the distance and time of the way to school among children from Easter Island and from the mainland (Valparaíso), in Chile. A total of 666 children and adolescents aged 10 to 18 years old (208 from Easter Island and 458 from Valparaíso) participated and completed a valid questionnaire including data about age, gender, usual commuting mode to and from school, distance, and travel time. There are important differences in the mode of commuting between students of Valparaíso and Easter Island. Private transport is more commonly used in Valparaíso than in Easter Island (p<0.001). Furthermore, it was observed that cycling and public transportation are not used as mode of commuting in Valparaíso and Easter Island respectively. Students from Easter Island, who travel more distance and during more time, are more active than students from Valparaíso (going 24.8% and 17.6%; from: 61% and 28.8% respectively). This situation is influenced by the geographic context of the island, the distances from home to school, and the type of commuting, which fosters the level of active commuting. On the other hand, the passive modes of commuting to school are higher in the mainland urban setting of Valparaíso. It is necessary to study the diverse contexts of the Easter Island population, but, for now, the rural setting of Easter Island seems to be associated with a greater level of active commuting to school.

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Rodríguez-Rodríguez, F., Jara, O. P., Kuthe, N. M., Herrador-Colmenero, M., Ramírez-Vélez, R., & Chillón, P. (2019). Influence of distance, area, and cultural context in active commuting: Continental and insular children. PLoS ONE, 14(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0213159

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