UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Relationships between area-level socioeconomic status and urbanization with active transportation, independent mobility, outdoor time, and physical activity among Canadian children Delisle Nyström, Christine; Barnes, Joel D.; Blanchette, Sébastien; Faulkner, Guy E. J., 1970-; Leduc, Geneviève; Riazi, Negin A.; Tremblay, Mark S.; Trudeau, François; Larouche, Richard


Background: Active transportation (AT), independent mobility (IM), and outdoor time are promising ways to increase children’s physical activity. However, in order to create interventions to increase those forms of physical activity, it is important to understand the relationships between area-level socioeconomic status (SES) and type of urbanization with AT, IM, outdoor time, and physical activity, and this was the aim of the study. Methods: One thousand six hundred ninety-nine children in grades 4 to 6 (mean age: 10.2 ± 1.0 years) from three Canadian regions participated. AT, IM, and outdoor time were assessed using questionnaires and physical activity was measured using the SC-StepRX pedometer. Area-level SES was assessed using the median household income of the census tract in which the school was located and type of urbanization was determined for each school using standardized procedures. Generalized linear and general linear mixed models were used to examine the relationships. Results: Area-level SES and the type of urbanization were generally not related to AT, IM, or physical activity for either gender. However, we observed that both boys and girls living in lower SES areas had decreased odds of spending > 2 h outdoors on weekend days compared to their peers from higher SES areas. Girls living in suburban or rural areas were more likely to spend > 2 h outdoors on weekdays compared to their urban counterparts. Conclusions: AT, IM, and physical activity are generally not associated with area-level SES or the type of urbanization in this sample of Canadian children. The finding regarding outdoor time showing that both boys and girls of lower SES areas had decreased odds of spending > 2 h outdoors on weekends compared to their peers from higher SES areas suggest that additional efforts should be implemented to offer outdoor play opportunities in lower SES areas.

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