Purpose: To investigate whether associations between daily vigorous physical activity (VPA) and the built environment are patterned according to family social class. Methods: We used self-reported daily VPA measured in 6046 11 to 15-year-old boys and girls in 80 schools. Multi-level stratified logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between daily VPA and objective exercise resources within 2 km from each school. Results: Total length of walking and cycling paths was the strongest built environment correlate of daily VPA. Overall, girls were significantly less likely to achieve daily VPA than boys. Among children from low family social class backgrounds, girls were less likely to achieve daily VPA than boys (OR = 0.40; CI: 0.28-0.57). Additionally, children from low family social class backgrounds attending schools with low exposure to walking and cycling paths had the lowest odds (OR =0.51; CI: 0.29-0.88) of achieving daily VPA than those attending schools with higher exposure to paths. Conclusions: Findings of this study suggest that a lack of supportive physical activity support in school surroundings may have a greater impact on children of low socioeconomic backgrounds than those from more privileged families. Thus, socioeconomic context needs to be considered as part of the physical activity landscape when exploring individual physical activity behavior.
schools; youth; physical activity; diet; built environment