AbstractIntroduction Walking and bicycling to school yields great potential in increasing the physical activity levels of adolescents, but to date very few intervention studies have been evaluated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a multicomponent school-based physical activity intervention on adolescent active school transport (AST) and three intermediate outcomes: perceived school route safety, parent support and attitude towards bicycling. Methods In total, 1014 adolescents at 14 schools filled in a transport diary at baseline and at a two-year follow-up and were included in the primary outcome analysis. Mean age at baseline was 12.6 years (range: 11.0–14.4 years). Seven of the schools were randomized to the intervention which was designed to change the organizational and structural environment at the schools, thereby increasing non-curricular physical activity i.e. recess activity, active transport and after-school fitness program. Transport mode to school was assessed through a 5-day transportation diary. Results The proportion of active transport was high at baseline (86.0%) and was maintained at the two-year follow-up (87.0%). There was no difference in active travel between the intervention and the comparison schools after the intervention, but more students perceived parental encouragement and had a positive attitude towards bicycling at the intervention schools. This difference was however only borderline significant. Conclusion The prevalence of AST was high at both baseline and follow-up, but no difference between the intervention and comparison schools was detected. Future intervention research should ensure a high degree of involvement of students, teachers and parents, focus merely on AST and take advantage of already planned physical environment changes in well-designed natural experiments.
Journal of Transport and Health, 2014, Vol 1, Issue 3, p. 174-181