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Active transportation to school in Canadian youth: should injury be a concern?
  1. Kathleen Gropp1,
  2. Ian Janssen1,2,
  3. 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}


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.

  • Active transportation
  • adolescent
  • child
  • health promotion
  • physical activity
  • head injury
  • socioeconomic status
  • psychological
  • surveillance

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  • 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.

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