Determinants of Active Transportation among 10 – 12 Year Old School Children in Nairobi City County, Kenya
Onyango, Sylvester William Hayker
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Active Transportation (AT) contributes significantly to the health and wellbeing among children and youth. This benefit can in turn be carried over to adulthood. AT is an important factor in increasing levels of physical activity (PA) in children. The objectives of this study were to; assess AT to school and other destinations, determine barriers of AT to school and other destinations, examine the effects of socio-economic status on AT, determine difference in pedometer step count data and analyse difference in pedometer Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) rates data for 10 – 12 year old children in high socio-economic status (HSES), mid socio-economic status (MSES) and low socio-economic status (LSES) regions in Nairobi City County. A cross-sectional descriptive research design was used to determine the participation in AT and resultant PA rates. Stratified random sampling was used to get 1,200 school children (boys and girls) aged 10 – 12 year old. Of the number sampled, 877 returned complete parental conscent forms and duly filled questionnaires, attaining a response rate of 78.2%. Data on PA and MVPA was collected using PiezoRx® pedometer sets while data on AT, demographic characteristics, parents and children’s views collected through questionnaires. Chi-square test was used to compare the children’s responses on AT as well as rates of PA. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) Test was used to ascertain difference in PA and MVPA across regions in Nairobi City County. A p-value of ≤0.05 was considered significant in the testing of hypotheses. Majority of the children 629 (71.7%) walked to and from school while 1 (0.1%) rode a bicycle to and from school. More children in LSES used AT to and from school and other destinations than the children from MSES and HSES. AT to and from school showed strong statistical association significance across the three regions of Nairobi City County. Safety affected AT choice more for children in LSES 214 (24.4%) than MSES 357 (40.7%) and HSES 306 (34.9%). Among the socioeconomic factor indicators, only the level of education of a parent/guardian and family ownership of vehicles determined the children’s choice of transport mode. Ownership of motorcycles and/or bicycles had no significant difference on the children’s choice of transportation mode. Most children achieved the recommended pedometer step counts on the first day x̅=13,502.43 and a weekly x̅=12,490.53 of wearing the pedometer. The study recommends that Nairobi City County in liaison with all stakeholders develop interventions for increasing AT among school going children. This should be done by developing safe routes to school, walking and cycling programmes that ensure local environment of schools’ catchment regions provide opportunities for children to walk and cycle. The results from this research may inform policy formulation on development of future school transportation systems and physical characteristics of schools.