Predictors and Patterns of Physical Activity from Transportation Among United States Youth, 2007-2016

Key takeaways:

  • The percentage of individuals participating in any active transportation for both adolescents and young adults was higher among males, Black and Hispanic racial and ethnic groups, and low-income participants.
  • A higher percentage of low-income youth and youth of color participated in active transportation compared with white and high-income peers.
  • Young adults and females were less likely to participate in any active transportation.
  • This study may suggest that active transportation interventions may support healthy weight among youth, however, some variables may mitigate this effect. For example, youth from low-income families and youth of color were more likely to engage in active transportation but were also more likely to have higher body weights.
  • Black adolescents were 10 percent more likely and Hispanic adolescents were 20 percent more likely to engage in active transportation compared to white adolescents.
  • Although active transportation accounted for only 18 percent of physical activity for adolescents and 16 percent for young adults, this study suggests that active transportation can be leveraged to promote overall physical activity.


  • Using self-reported transportation physical activity data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2007-2016), this study aimed to describe active transportation patterns for U.S. adolescents (12-17 years) and young adults (18-25 years) across weight, income, education, and other study characteristics.


  • Fostering safe and accessible opportunities for youth to engage in active transportation could be used to reduce barriers to physical activity and related health disparities.
  • Safe Routes to School practitioners can normalize active transportation to schools, which can reduce youth physical activity disparity across race/ethnicity and income barriers and increase overall physical activity.


D’Agostino, Emily M., Sarah C. Armstrong, Emily P. Alexander, Truls Østbye, Cody D. Neshteruk, and

Ashley C. Skinner. “Predictors and Patterns of Physical Activity From Transportation Among United

States Youth, 2007-2016.” Journal of Adolescent Health 69, no. 2 (August 2021): 263–71.

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