An analysis of children's leisure activity engagement: Examining the day of week, location, physical activity level, and fixity dimensions

Ipek N. Sener, Rachel B. Copperman, Ram Pendyala, Chandra R. Bhat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


This paper presents a detailed analysis of discretionary leisure activity engagement by children. Children's leisure activity engagement is of much interest to transportation professionals from an activity-based travel demand modeling perspective, to child development professionals from a sociological perspective, and to health professionals from an active lifestyle perspective that can help prevent obesity and other medical ailments from an early age. Using data from the 2002 Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, this paper presents a detailed analysis of children's discretionary activity engagement by day of week (weekend versus weekday), location (in-home versus out-of-home), type of activity (physically active versus passive), and nature of activity (structured versus unstructured). A mixed multiple discrete-continuous extreme value model formulation is adopted to account for the fact that children may participate in multiple activities and allocate positive time duration to each of the activities chosen. It is found that children participate at the highest rate and for the longest duration in passive unstructured leisure activities inside the home. Children in households with parents who are employed, higher income, or higher education were found to participate in structured outdoor activities at higher rates. The child activity modeling framework and methodology presented in this paper lends itself for incorporation into larger activity-based travel model systems where it is imperative that children's activity-travel patterns be explicitly modeled-both from a child health and well-being policy perspective and from a travel forecasting perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-696
Number of pages24
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Children's activity participation
  • Discrete continuous models
  • Leisure activities
  • Physical activity
  • Structured activities
  • Unobserved factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Development
  • Transportation


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