An empirical examination of the ecological and cognitive active commuting framework: A social marketing formative research study
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Purpose Evidence indicates that active school travel (AST) including walking can effectively lower levels of obesity among school-age children. Yet Queensland has been identified as one of the most inactive states in Australia where only 5 per cent of Years 1 and 5 children engaged in AST on a daily basis. The purpose of this paper is to explain walking to school behaviour among Queensland children by investigating the explanatory potential of the ecological and cognitive active commuting (ECAC) model. Design/methodology/approach An online survey of 537 carers in Queensland, Australia was conducted to collect data about demographics and the variables in the ECAC model. Structural equation modelling was used to analyse the ECAC model and the pathways between variables. Findings The results indicate that the ECAC model explained 53.4 per cent of the variance in walking to school. Social norms are the dominating factor in the model. Distance to school affects how the ECAC model works by moderating the associations among walking to school behaviours, perceived risks, and social norms. Practical implications Changing carers’ social norms and lowering the perceived risks they associate with walking to school should increase the incidence of walking to school in Queensland. Originality/value Although the ECAC model was proposed as a comprehensive framework to explain walking to school behaviour, to date, it has not been tested empirically. Informed by a modified ECAC framework this study aims to empirically explore the factors that may be preventing or facilitating Queensland children from walking to school.
Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified