School bag weight as a barrier to active transport to school among New Zealand adolescents
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-29, 14:53 authored by Sandra Mandic, Roman Keller, Enrique Garcia BengoecheaEnrique Garcia Bengoechea, Antoni Moore, Kirsten J. Coppell
Background: Excessive school bag weight is a barrier to active transport to school (ATS). This study examined parents’ and adolescents’ perceptions of school bag weights and actual school bag weights for adolescents in New Zealand. Methods: Parents (n = 331; 76.7% women) completed a survey. Adolescents (n = 682; age 15.1 1.4 years; 57.3% boys) completed a survey, underwent anthropometry, and had their school bags weighed. Results: Overall, 68.3% of parents perceived that adolescents’ school bags were too heavy to carry to school. This parental perception differed by adolescents’ mode of transport to school (active/motorized/combined: 35.1%/78.4%/68.8%, p < 0.001). Adolescents perceived that their school bags were too heavy to carry to walk (57.8%) or cycle (65.8%) to school. Adolescent perceptions differed by mode of transport to school (for walking (active/motorized/combined): 30.9%/69.2%/55.9% agree, p < 0.001; for cycling: 47.9%/72.8%/67.7%; p < 0.001). Actual school bag weight was, on average, 5.6 2.1 kg. Relative school bag weight (% of body weight) was higher for boys and underweight adolescents compared to their counterparts. Neither absolute nor relative school bag weight differed by mode of transport to school. Conclusions: School bag weight was perceived a barrier to ATS and was a greater perceived barrier among users of motorized versus active transport. Perceptions of school bag weights should be considered in future ATS interventions.