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Objectives: To investigate whether active school transport was associated with fast food consumption, and to examine differences across racial/ethnic groups. Methods: Adolescent data (n = 3194) from the 2009 California Health Interview Survey were analyzed with logistic regression models to examine the association between active school transport (AST) and fast food intake across racial/ethnic groups. Results: In the overall sample, AST during 1–2 days in the past week was associated with greater likelihood of fast food intake (OR: 1.58; 95% CI: 1.03–2.43), compared with zero days of AST, controlling for demographic and other factors. The association between AST and fast food intake differed significantly by race/ethnicity (p < 0.01). Among Latino adolescents, greater frequency of AST was significantly associated with greater likelihood of fast food intake (1–2 days OR, 2.37, 95%CI: 1.05–5.35; 3–4 days OR, 2.78, 95% CI: 1.04–7.43; 5 days OR, 2.20, 95%CI: 1.23–3.93). Among White and Asian adolescents, there was a curvilinear pattern: relative to adolescents who reported zero days of AST, those who did AST 1–2 days/week had greater likelihood of fast food intake, but AST of 3–4 days and 5 days/week was associated respectively, with higher and lower likelihood of fast food intake among both groups. Conclusions: AST appears to be a risk factor for fast food intake, and may expose some ethnic groups more than others to increased opportunity to purchase and consume fast food. Programs and policies to promote AST among adolescents should incorporate efforts to encourage healthy eating and discourage concentration of fast food outlets near schools.


Institute for Health and Ageing

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Journal Article

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