Prevalence and correlates of active transportation in university students : a pilot study
Hoover, Aubrey Ann
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Active transportation (AT) affords a practical opportunity to increase physical activity levels, particularly in university students whose environment is especially conducive to an active lifestyle. To promote AT as a viable means to improve activity levels in college students, this study’s purpose was to observe existing rates of AT versus passive transportation (PT) between home and campus in Colorado State University students and to analyze any differences in the relationship between determinants of AT and transportation mode. Those determinants of the transportation decision-making process include the transportation environment, demographics and behavioral determinants. A total of 440 students completed a 14-item questionnaire including transportation patterns, demographics and behavioral characteristics. Subjects were assigned a primary mode of transport as a ratio of transport mode for the majority of days of the week related to the number of days on campus. Those with a ratio of exactly .5 (n=31) could not be assigned a primary mode and were, therefore, excluded, leaving 409 subjects. Chi square analysis of the relationship between primary mode of transport and demographic and behavioral characteristics was performed to determine any significant differences. Results revealed that 56.2% of students surveyed primarily used AT and 43.8% used PT. Differences in transportation mode were associated with distance from residence to campus, academic year, self-efficacy and perceived barriers. The majority of students living on campus and within a mile used AT, whereas those living within 1-3 miles or greater than three miles from campus used PT. Freshmen used AT almost exclusively (87.2%), while the majority of sophomores used PT, being the only group to really utilize public transport. Public transport was included with PT due to an unusually short walk time to the bus of three minutes or less. Juniors and seniors did not differ from the overall trend in their use of AT versus PT. Poor perceptions of fitness ability and weight status were associated with greater use of PT. Those selecting PT as their primary mode reported a greater number of barriers to AT; lack of enjoyment and already exercising enough were greater barriers to those using PT than those using AT. Consequently, to promote AT for physical activity in CSU students, efforts should be directed toward those living within 1-3 miles of campus and to freshmen and sophomores as they transition off campus. Additionally, behavioral interventions to improve self-efficacy in those with a poor perception of their fitness level and/or weight status and to minimize the perception of barriers – particularly those associated with PT – would constitute a valid approach.