Meet Professor Guy Faulkner – Featured Researcher for November
Earlier this year, the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility welcomed Professor Guy Faulkner to our Core Research Membership. Last week, a study led by Dr. Faulkner, “Sports day in Canada: A longitudinal evaluation,” won the annual Pittu Laungani award for best paper in the International Journal of Health Promotion and Education. Take a moment to learn a bit about his work.
Q. Professor Faulkner, what is your role and research focus?
A. “I am currently a Professor in the School of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia, and also a Canadian Institutes of Health Research-Public Health Agency of Canada (CIHR-PHAC) Chair in Applied Public Health. Broadly, my research has focused on two inter-related themes: the development and evaluation of physical activity interventions; and physical activity and mental health.”
Q. You are particularly interested on an important issue in North America. Could you describe it?
A. “I have a particular interest in the concept of independent mobility among children and youth – often defined as actively traveling to a destination (e.g., to and from school) without adult supervision. Being unescorted generates greater opportunities for children to be active, particularly since they are not dependent on adults to leave the vicinity of their homes. Subsequently, independent mobility has been found to foster personal growth and development, by helping children develop road and traffic safety skills, motor skills, and higher acquisition, processing and structuring of environmental knowledge. In addition, independent mobility also helps children socialize with their peers and helps develop emotional bonds between children and the natural environment. My own previous research and the work of others also demonstrate that children who are afforded more independent mobility are more physically active. However, internationally there has been a decline in opportunities for independent mobility. Working against independent mobility, is parental, caregiver, and even community anxiety (perhaps intensified through media exposure) with respect to the safety of children and youth. I’m particularly interested in the gendered nature of independent mobility – exploring why girls have lower mobility than boys, and how mothers and fathers negotiate (or not) the independent mobility of their sons and daughters.”
Q. Could you describe a current project?
A. "A current research project, funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, is looking at the relationships between active transportation, independent mobility and the physical activity levels of children in grades 4 to 6, as well as the correlates of independent mobility and physical activity to inform the development of more effective interventions that promote independent mobility. Since children’s active transportation varies between regions, schools are being recruited across urban, suburban and rural areas in Vancouver, Ottawa, and Trois-Rivières. Children and parents will complete surveys about transportation and independent mobility and children will wear a sealed pedometer for 8 consecutive days. With the help of their parent, they will be asked to draw the route that they usually take to get to and from school and other locations on a customized map. The study has just started in Vancouver and data collection ends before the summer of 2017. Future qualitative research is also planned to explore how child and parental perceptions of independent mobility change over time."