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The present study analysed the prevalence, potential correlates and physical activity (PA), body mass index (BMI), and academic performance outcomes, of active commuting to and from school (ACS), considering the home-to-school distance. A total of 391 Portuguese adolescents (189 boys, aged 14-18 years) completed a questionnaire about their active and passive commuting behaviours; potential correlates and perceived barriers of ACS; PA, BMI and academic performance. Multinomial regressions analyses were performed for ‘no walk/cycle’, ‘one-way commuters’ and for ‘both-ways commuters’ living near ( < 2 miles) school. The prevalence of one-way and both-ways active commuters decreased as the distance to school increased to more than two miles (66.5% to 23.5%). For the ‘near group’, walking to (47.8%) and from (55.5%) school was much more common than cycling ( < 1%). The barrier with the greatest effect for one-way and both-ways active commuters was ‘distance’, followed by ‘stuff to carry’, ‘don’t enjoy walking/cycling’. No significant relations were found between walking or cycling one-way or both-ways and total PA, BMI and academic performance. To increase ACS, results suggest interventions promoting bicycling use and addressing multiple perceived barriers, such as ‘PA and ACS attitudes’, ‘stuff to carry’, perceptions of ‘hot and sweaty’ and ‘distance’.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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