Active Transportation and Bullying in Canadian Schoolchildren: A Cross Sectional Study

Key takeaway: Exposure to bullying may be a barrier to biking and walking to school.


  • In the study population, 68% of students in grades 6-10 identified worrying about being bullied or attacked on the way to school as a barrier to walking or biking. This barrier was more commonly identified among girls (73.5%) and younger students grade 8 or below (74.1%).
  • A lower percentage of students who currently walked or biked to school identified worry about being bullied or attacked as a barrier (68%), while it was more of a barrier for students currently using public transportation (71.0%) or private modes (69.9%).
  • The odds of any type of being a victim of any type of bullying (verbal, relational, physical, cyber) for those walking or biking to school were 1.25 times the odds for those who did not engage in active transportation, and this association remained even after adjustment for confounding variables (factors like age, BMI, gender, neighborhood trust, parental trust, communication and engagement in arguments with parents, and sense of belonging at school).
  • Participation in active transportation and perpetration of bullying were associated but this relationship was not statistically significant.


  • This cross-sectional study analyzed reports from the 2009-2010 Canadian Health Behavior in School-Aged Children study for 3,997 students in grades 6-10 who lived close to school and were not eligible to ride school buses. The study examined associations between active transportation and experiences of bullying.
  • Students were identified as perpetrators or victims of bullying if they reported experiencing bullying at least 2-3 times per month. Survey participants also answered whether worrying about being bullied or attached was an impediment to active transportation.

Cosma, I., Kukaswadia, A., Janssen, I., Craig, W., and Pickett, W. (2015). Active transportation and bulling in Canadian schoolchildren: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 15(99). 

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