Adolescent active travel and physical activity: Role of social media, norms and the environment

Sharon Levi, Riki Tesler, Liri Findling, Orna Baron-Epel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: An active lifestyle, including regular participation in physical activity and use of active travel, are associated with adolescent health and well-being; however, global levels of adolescent physical activity are low. This study was designed to further understand factors contributing to adolescent active travel behaviors, including policy, environment, community, social media platforms and social norms. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey at secondary schools across Israel during advanced stages of the COVID-19 pandemic (N = 2911; [ages 13–17]). Linear regression analyses investigate important factors associated with these behaviors. Discriminant analysis was used to determine which of the investigated variables made the greatest contribution to youth physical activity and active travel. Results: Adolescent physical activity and active travel are associated with correlates at the community, interpersonal and personal levels of influence in line with the ecological model. Participation, messaging and message-sharing on social media platforms related to physical activity were associated with active behaviors. There is evidence regarding the cumulative effects of different active travel behaviors and physical activity. Adolescent active school travel is associated with active leisure travel, while engaging in active school travel and active leisure travel are associated with physical activity. Conclusions: The findings regarding contribution of the environment, community, social norms and social media platforms to both physical activity and active travel behaviors support design of multilevel health promotion interventions for youth. Programs incorporating social media platforms and peer-to-peer communication in support of active travel may offer new opportunities to promote active and healthy adolescent behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101796
JournalJournal of Transport and Health
StatePublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Ltd


  • Active leisure travel
  • Adolescent health
  • Discriminant analysis
  • Report card
  • Social media platforms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Transportation
  • Pollution
  • Safety Research
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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