Active commuting to university and its association with sociodemographic factors and physical activity levels in chilean students

Yaira Barranco-Ruiz, Carolina Cruz León, Emilio Villa-González, Ximena Palma Leal, Palma Chillón, FERNANDO JAVIER RODRIGUEZ RODRIGUEZ

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4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and Objectives: Active commuting to and from university (ACU) could be a strategy to increase physical activity levels (PA) and promote health in young university students. We aimed to a) examine the patterns of commuting to university in Chilean students; b) the association between the mode of commuting to and from university and socio-demographic factors and PA-levels. Materials and Methods: A total of 496 university students (21.6 ± 2.4 years old) from two universities from Valparaíso (central coast of Chile) participated in this study. Personal data, home address, socio-economic status, PA, and the usual mode of commuting to and from the university were self-reported by a questionnaire. The commute distances were objectively measured using Google-Maps-software. Associations were examined using binary logistic regressions. Results: The main mode of commuting was by bus (to university: 55.2% vs. from university: 59.3%; p < 0.001). The least used mode was cycling (1.4% to and from university). Students living >5-km from university were less active commuters than those living in closer distances: (2–5 km, odds ratio (OR): 4.424, 95% and 95% confidence intervals (CI): 2.443–8.011, p < 0.001; 2 km, OR: 143.052, 95% CI: 55.154–371.030, p < 0.001). Students with low PA-levels were less active commuters than those with medium (OR: 1.446; 95% CI: 0.864–2.421; p = 0.160) or higher levels (OR: 1.880; 95% CI: 1.880–1.094; p = 0.022). Students who lived between 2 and 5 km, presented a significant association to be active commuters when they showed medium PA-levels (OR: 5.244, 95% CI: 1.358–20.246; p = 0.016). Conclusions: Chilean university students from Valparaíso are mainly passive commuters using public transport as the main mode of commuting to and from university; longer distances from home to the university are associated with low PA levels. ACU in distances between 2–5 km (mainly walking) could contribute to having medium PA-levels in Chilean university students. Thus, promoting the ACU walking to and from the university in such distances could be an effective strategy to increase the overall PA levels in Chilean university students.

Original languageEnglish
Article number152
JournalMedicina (Lithuania)
Volume55
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2019

Keywords

  • Active transport
  • Health promotion
  • Physical activity
  • University students
  • Young adulthood

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