Research Projects Using Growing Up Data

An ecological examination of factors related to active school travel in young children in Aotearoa New Zealand

Publication Date:
Lead Organisation:
University of Auckland
Lead Researcher:
Melody Smith, Jinfeng Zhao, Hayley McGlashan, Harriette Carr, Debbie Hopkins, Susan Morton, Alana Cavadino, Yijun Zhang
Access Type:
Primary Classification:
Family and Whanau
Secondary Classification:
Health and Wellbeing

Active school travel (AST; i.e., walking or wheeling to school) confers significant health and environmental benefits, predominantly through increased physical activity and reduced vehicle-related pollution. AST levels in Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) have declined significantly over recent decades to the point where they are amongst the lowest worldwide.

The project will draw on our substantial body of work and experience where we have made significant advances in understanding AST associates in the 9-13 year old-age group. Less is known regarding the AST trajectory and associates in younger children, where substantial opportunities to lay foundations for ongoing AST exist.

Aims are: (1) to develop a comprehensive understanding of relationships between individual, family/household, school, and community factors with children’s AST in the Growing Up in New Zealand (GUiNZ) study, (2) to determine whether meaningful differences exist in AST between 6 and 8 years, and (3) identify factors associated with any AST change between 6 and 8 years.

Structural equation modelling will be used to identify key latent variables associated with AST at 6 years. Generalised linear mixed models will be used to explore differences in AST between 6 and 8 years and factors associated with changes in AST. Knowledge transfer will occur through academic and community pathways, including presentation(s), a policy briefing, an infographic for GUiNZ families, and an academic journal article.