Evaluating the Effects of Active Morning Commutes on Students' Overall Daily Walking Activity in Singapore: Do Walkers Walk More?

Walking has multiple health benefits. One way to increase students’ walking activity is by encouraging active morning commutes. However, students may compensate for active commutes by walking less throughout the day, rendering such initiatives ineffective in increasing overall walking activity. This study aims to assess how morning commuting modes affect students’ walking levels, hypothesizing that gains in walking from active morning commutes may not be sustained throughout the day due to compensatory behavior. The study analyzed objectively measured, sensor-collected data of 5600 children (ages 7 to 18) in Singapore for up to four consecutive weekdays between September and November 2015. Potential confounders of age, socioeconomic status, and built environment characteristics, as well as home-school distance as an effect modifier, were examined. The authors used linear mixed effects models to analyze differences in step count between students with different morning modes, as well as to analyze ‘within students’ variations when students switched between different modes over different days. Students who walked or took public transport walked more than their driven peers during morning commuting hours, by 96.1 steps per hour (95% CI = 71.5, 120.8) and 54.1 steps per hour (95% CI = 32.2, 75.9) respectively. Students who switched morning commute modes from car to public transport took 47.6 more morning steps per hour (95% CI = 10.3, 84.9) when using public transport, compared to when driven. However, the relationship between morning travel modes and step count per hour across the full day was less clear-cut. Both the ‘between students’ and ‘within students’ analyses suggest that taking more active morning modes, after controlling for all possible confounders and modifers, was not associated with higher step counts over the entire day. Encouraging students to walk more through more active morning commutes alone may have limited effectiveness in increasing overall daily walking activity.


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  • Accession Number: 01667409
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 4 2018 4:55PM