Off-Road Vehicle Ridership and Associated Helmet Use in Canadian Youth: An Equity Analysis

Authors

  • Colleen M. Davison PhD,

    1.  Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
    2.  Clinical Research Centre, Kingston General Hospital, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
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  • Wendy Thompson MSc,

    1.  Injury Section of the Health Surveillance and Epidemiology Division, Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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  • Michael Torunian MA,

    1.  Strategic Policy and Research Section in the Division of Childhood and Adolescence, Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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  • Patricia Walsh MA,

    1.  Strategic Policy and Research Section in the Division of Childhood and Adolescence, Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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  • Steven McFaull MSc,

    1.  Injury Section of the Health Surveillance and Epidemiology Division, Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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  • William Pickett PhD

    1.  Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
    2.  Clinical Research Centre, Kingston General Hospital, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
    3.  Department of Emergency Medicine, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
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  • Funding and Disclosures: Colleen M. Davison was supported by an Emerging Researcher Award from the Population Health Improvement Research Network of Ontario. This study was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Health Canada, which funded Cycle 6 of the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children Study (HBSC) in Canada. Additional support included operating grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF), and the CIHR Team in Child and Youth Injury (grant numbers M0P97962 and PCR101415), and support from the Injury Section, Health Surveillance and Epidemiology Division of the Public Health Agency of Canada. HBSC is coordinated internationally by Dr. Candace Currie, University of St. Andrews, Scotland, with international data coordination performed by Dr. Oddrun Samdal, University of Bergen, Norway. HBSC in Canada is directed by Drs. John Freeman and William Pickett, and coordinated by Matthew King, Queen's University.

  • Acknowledgments:  We thank Dr. Ian Janssen and Mr. Andrei Rosu for the collection of geographic information integral to this analysis.

  • For further information, contact: Colleen M. Davison, PhD, Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen's University; Carruthers Hall, 203; 62 Fifth Field Company Lane; Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6; e-mail: colleen.davison@queensu.ca.

Abstract

Purpose: In North America, the use of off-road vehicles by young people is increasing, as are related injuries and fatalities. We examined the prevalence of off-road ridership and off-road helmet use in different subgroups of Canadian youth in order to better understand possible inequities associated with these health risk behaviors.

Methods: Data came from Cycle 6 (2009-2010) of the WHO Health Behavior in School-Aged Children Study (HBSC). Participants (n = 26,078) were young people from grades 6-10 in 436 Canadian schools. Students were asked, for a 12-mo recall period, how frequently they rode off-road vehicles and how often they wore a helmet while riding. Engagement in off-road ridership and helmet use were estimated by age group, gender, urban-rural geographic location, socioeconomic status, and how long participants had lived in Canada.

Findings: About half of the sample reported riding off-road vehicles (12,750; 52%). Among riders, 5,691 (45%) always wore helmets. Riders were more often older students, male and born in Canada. Students in rural areas and small towns were much more likely to ride off-road vehicles than their urban peers (RR, 95% CI: 1.28 [1.23–1.33]). Helmet use was less common among females, new immigrants, older students, and those in lower socioeconomic groups. There was little reported difference in helmet use by urban-rural location.

Conclusions: Risks associated with the use of off-road vehicles and with nonhelmet use are not equitably distributed across Canadian youth. Factors characterizing off-road ridership (notably urban-rural location) are distinct from factors for helmet use. Preventive interventions should target population subgroups.

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