Inj Prev 19:64-67 doi:10.1136/injuryprev-2012-040335
  • Brief reports

Active transportation to school in Canadian youth: should injury be a concern?

Open Access
  1. William Pickett1,3
  1. 1Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3Department of Emergency Medicine, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr William Pickett, Emergency Medicine Research, Queen's University, Clinical Research Centre, Angada 3, Kingston General Hospital, 76 Stuart St, Kingston, ON K7L 2V7, Canada; will.pickett{at}
  1. Contributors Each of the authors contributed to the conception of the study, its design, the analysis and interpretation of the data. KG drafted the article, with extensive critical revisions for intellectual content provided by WP and IJ. WP and IJ participated in the acquisition of the data. All authors have provided the final approval of the manuscript for publication. Each of the authors has met the listed criteria for authorship.

  • Accepted 20 April 2012
  • Published Online First 24 May 2012


Active transportation to school provides a means for youth to incorporate physical activity into their daily routines, and this has obvious benefits for child health. Studies of active transportation have rarely focused on the negative health effects in terms of injury. This cross-sectional study is based on the 2009/10 Canadian Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children survey. A sample of children aged 11–15 years (n=20 076) was studied. Multi-level logistic regression was used to examine associations between walking or bicycling to school and related injury. Regular active transportation to school at larger distances (approximately >1.6 km; 1.0 miles) was associated with higher relative odds of active transportation injury (OR: 1.52; 95% CI 1.08 to 2.15), with a suggestion of a dose–response relationship between longer travel distances and injury (p=0.02). Physical activity interventions for youth should encourage participation in active transportation to school, while also recognising the potential for unintentional injury.


  • Funding HBSC is a WHO/European Region collaborative study and was funded in Canada by the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada (Contract: 4500267124). This particular analysis was funded by an operating grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (MOP 97962), and a second operating grant cofunded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (PCR 101415). KG was supported by the Empire Life Fellowship and the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation. IJ was supported by a tier 2 Canada research chair.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the General Research Ethics Board, Queen's University and Health Sciences REB, Queen's University.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement All data from this study are available from the authors upon request.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and

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