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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

Welcome to spring from the USC Prevention Research Center. It is time to bid goodbye to the El Nino rains and hello to drier and warmer spring weather. In keeping with our Centerís theme, "Promoting Health Through Physical Activity," we provide information about physical activity applied research, meetings in South Carolina and elsewhere, community ideas and tips, and cool web sites. One of our goals for the USC Center is to share ways to promote physical activity with community practitioners and researchers. We hope you enjoy this monthís newsletter. Barb Ainsworth and Fran Wheeler



NEWS FROM THE USC PREVENTION RESEARCH CENTER: Regina Fields Joins PRC Staff, Physical Activity and Public Health Courses for 1998



WHATíS HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON: Race Initiative, Budget Debate, ISTEA, Spring Recess

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: National Conference on Health Education and Health Promotion, ACSM Health and Fitness Summit and Exposition, ACSM Annual Meeting

RESEARCH NOTES: Measuring Physical Activity in Older Minority Women, Lifestyle Changes Reduce Need for Blood Pressure Drugs in the Elderly, Overweight Kids and Television, Lifelong Lifestyles for Health, Physical Activity Patterns Track During Childhood, Measure Your Steps Walked with a Digiwalker.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Sunshine Alert, March for Parks in April, NGA Womenís Health Campaign, NHLBI Report on Behavioral Science

WEB SITES OF INTEREST: Healthy Ideas, Food Insight



REGINA FIELDS JOINS PRC STAFF: Regina M. Fields, C.H.E.S, has joined the staff of USC Prevention Research Center, as Program Consultant. Regina came to USC from the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, where she has been the stateís physical activity consultant since 1994. In the Prevention Research Center, she will be involved in professional education and training, dissemination of information to practitioners, and will serve as liaison to community programs and projects related to physical activity. She can be reached at (803) 777-4159 or email (rmfields@sph.sc.edu).

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND PUBLIC HEALTH COURSES FOR 1998: The 8-day Postgraduate Course on Research Directions and Strategies and the 5-day Practitionersí Course on Community Interventions are scheduled for the Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island, SC. The Research course is September 22-30, 1998; the Practitioner course is September 22-27, 1998. Once again, the faculty is world-class, the accommodations are first class, and the opportunities to learn and share are outstanding. For more information, or to obtain an application packet, contact Merry Cobb by phone (803-777-7453), or fax (803-777-8422), or e-mail (mdcobb@sph.sc.edu). (Donít delay Ė the application deadline is May 15, 1998.)


POSITION AVAILABLE: The Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity is searching for a Branch Chief for the Physical Activity and Health Branch. The Chief has overall responsibility for setting operational policy for the Branch, supervising 21 staff and directing Branch activities to support the goals and objectives of the Division. Branch activities include surveillance and epidemiologic research, practical intervention research and evaluation, technical assistance and consultation to state and local health departments and governments of other countries, integration of clinical and preventive efforts for physical activity and nutrition, collaborative work on obesity and weight gain prevention, as well as balancing the benefits of physical activity with injury risk. For more information contact Julie Will, Ph.D., by telephone (770-488-6024) or fax (770-488-6000) or email (jxw6@cdc.gov), or on the Internet at http://www.cdc.gov/hrmo/hrmo.htm. Applications must be submitted by April 28, 1998.


NATIONAL AWARDS PROGRAM: The National Association of Governorsí Councils on Physical Fitness and Sports (NAGCPFS) has announced the recipients of their first annual National Awards Program. The Oregon Governorís Council on Physical Fitness and Sport received the 1998 State Governorís Council Award. The Council was established in 1992 and offers many programs, including Fitness Day in Oregon, a statewide event highlighting the Councilís objective of "Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle for All Oregonians," Shape Up Across Oregon, an exciting physical activity program with a special focus on youth and families. Ms. Marilyn Roofner, Chairperson of the Florida Governorís Council of Physical Fitness, received the State Council Member of the Year Award. Ms. Roofner has championed the Walk About Florida Program and the Model Physical Education Programs at elementary, middle and high schools in Florida. She also has helped with corporate sponsorship of several events organized by the Council. These awards were presented by Dan Jansen, Olympic Gold Medalist, at the NAGCPFS Annual Meeting on March 6, 1998.


RACE INITIATIVE: President Clintonís new Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Initiative sets a national goal of eliminating, by the Year 2010, longstanding disparities in health status that affect racial and ethnic minority groups. The President announced that the federal government will set high national health goals for ALL Americans, ending the practice of lower, separate goals for minorities. The initiative will focus on six areas: infant mortality, cancer screening and management, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and child and adult immunization rates. Four hundred million dollars is allocated to develop new approaches, including $150 million (over 5 years) for community grants. A new $250 million (over 5 years) is earmarked for strengthening public health programs that have proven successful in addressing the targeted problem areas. Grantmakers in Health, an association of over 130 foundations with over $42 billion in assets, will team up with the Department of Health and Human Services to co-host a conference later this spring to help coordinate public and private efforts in closing the gap in minority health.

BUDGET DEBATE: The use of tobacco settlement funds and projected budget surpluses have been the subject of intense debates on Capitol Hill. With mounting concerns about the future of the Medicare and Social Security programs, coupled with pressures for tax cuts, there is cause for worry about funding for discretionary health programs. If no settlement money is available and current programs bump up against tough budget caps, the impact could be significant for agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control.

ISTEA: The Senate passed re-authorization of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) (S1173) on March 12, 1998. This bill includes funding for key public health activities, including injury prevention, physical activity, public transportation, and clean air. The bill provides $1.3 billion to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, as well as $631 million for bicycle trails, walking paths, car pool parking, and other community transportation enhancements. The House is expected to move quickly on its version of ISTEA re-authorization, HR 2400. The House and Senate bills are significantly different, so expect reconciliation in conference committee later in the spring.

SPRING RECESS: House and Senate Members are heading home on April 3, 1998, for two weeks. Itís a great time to make an appointment to see your Senator or Representative and let them know how much you value his/her support for public health programs and for initiatives (such as ISTEA) that support physical activity.


NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON HEALTH EDUCATION AND HEALTH PROMOTION and SOPHE MIDYEAR SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE. Theme: Health Promotion Futures: Investing for the New Millennium. May 19-22, 1998. San Antonio, Texas. Cost is $95 (higher for special post-conference workshops). For more information, contact the Association of State and Territorial Directors of Health Promotion and Public Health Education at (202) 289-6639 or http://www.astdhpphe.org.

AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SPORTS MEDICINE, HEALTH AND FITNESS SUMMIT AND EXPOSITION: Theme: Bridging the Gap Between Science and Practice. April 29 Ė May 3, 1998. Austin, Texas. Cost is $265 for members, $285 for non-members. For more information, contact ACSM at (317) 637-9200.

AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SPORTS MEDICINE, 45th ANNUAL MEETING. June 3-6, 1998. Orlando, Florida. Cost is $170 for members, $325 for non-members (costs go up after April 15). For more information, contact ACSM at (317) 637-9200.


MEASURING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN OLDER MINORITY WOMEN. Findings from an exploratory meeting of 53 physical activity measurement experts recommend that physical activity surveys for older and minority women should be designed to reflect their lives, cultural interests, and be more sensitive to their multiple life roles. Surveys should also be designed to reflect national physical activity and public health goals. The meeting was part of the Womenís Health Initiative of the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control funded research to develop and validate physical activity surveys for minority women ages 40 and older. See Masse et al., Measuring Physical Activity in Midlife, Older and Minority Women: Issues From an Expert Panel. Journal of Womenís Health 1: 57-67, 1998.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES REDUCE NEED FOR BLOOD PRESSURE DRUGS IN THE ELDERLY. Investigators in TONE (Trial of Nonpharmacologic Interventions in the Elderly) have shown that elderly, previously hypertensive individuals who lose weight and cut down on salt can lessen and even eliminate the need for blood pressure-lowering medications. At the end of this 30-month study, 30% of the participants were able to control their blood pressure without medication. This study has important implications for physicians and public health professionals because it shows that older people with hypertension are able to make and to sustain lifestyle changes Ė even after decades of physical inactivity and unhealthy eating habits. In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Jeremiah Stamler suggests that sufficient evidence exists for primary prevention of hypertension throughout the life span by modification of diet, eating habits and exercise. See Whelton et al., Sodium Reduction and Weight Loss in the Treatment of Hypertension in Older Persons: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Nonpharmacologic Interventions in the Elderly (TONE). Journal of the American Medical Association 279: 839-846 (1998).

OVERWEIGHT KIDS AND TELEVISION: Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and NHLBI used data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to estimate amounts of physical activity and television watching among more than 4000 US children. Overall, approximately 20% of children reported less than 3 bouts of vigorous activity each week, while 26% of children watched 4 or more hours of television daily. Increased television watching was associated with increased body weight index and body fatness. Thus, it appears that the increasing prevalence of obesity among children and the increasing popularity of sedentary leisure time activities may well be related. See Andersen et al., Relationship of Physical Activity and Television Watching with Body Weight and Level of Fatness Among Children. Journal of the American Medical Association 279: 938 Ė 942 (1998).

LIFELONG LIFESTYLES FOR HEALTH: Lifelong physical activity promotes good health for girls and women, but there are many, many barriers to regular participation in our sedentary society. Education plays an important role, but supportive environments and access to appealing activities are other necessary elements. This article summarizes the major health benefits of physical acitivty for women, and calls for broad community support for changing gender stereotypes and encouraging women to be physically active. See Brehm and Iannotta, Women and Physical Activity: Active Lifestyles Enhance Health and Well-Being. Journal of Health Education 29: 89-92 (1998)

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PATTERNS TRACK DURING CHILDHOOD: Results from a three-year study of children (3-4 years old) show that physical activity behaviors tend to track during early childhood and that less active children tend to remain less active than most of their peers. These findings highlight the need for parents, educators, and health care providers to become actively involved in the promotion of physical activity and fitness in children and youth. See Pate et al., Tracking of Physical Activity in Young Children. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 28: 92-96 (1996).

MEASURE YOUR STEPS WALKED WITH A DIGIWALKER: Want to know which pedometer is most accurate? Based on a study of five pedometers (Freestyle Pacer, Eddie Bauer, LL Bean, Yamax, and Accusplit), the Yamax Digiwalker was nearly 100% accurate in recording the distance and steps taken, regardless of the walking speed or surface. The others were less accurate. So what? Research in Japan using the Digiwalker showed improvements in insulin sensitivity among diabetic men who walked 10,000 steps per day as compared to men who walk much less. Similar research in the U.S. is underway. You can purchase a Digiwalker from Optimal Health Products, 4900 Broadway, San Antonio TX 78209; telephone (210) 824-4200 for less than $20. See Bassett et al., Accuracy of Five Electronic Pedometers for Measuring Distance Walked. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 28: 1071-1077 (1996).


SUNSHINE ALERT: Spring means fresh air and sunshine Ė the American Cancer Society reminds you not to forget the ABCís of sun protection. A = AWAY: Stay away from the sun in the middle of the day. B = BLOCK: Use a #15 or higher sun block. C=COVER-UP: Wear a t-shirt and a hat. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, although it is one of the most preventable. About 80% of skin cancers can be prevented by avoiding sunburn, especially in childhood and early adolescence. Be careful out there!

MARCH FOR PARKS IN APRIL: The National Parks and Conservation Associationís (NCPA) 9th annual March for Parks will be held in conjunction with Earth Day to help raise awareness and funds for national, state and local parks. Many events are planned between the dates of April 18 and 26. Check out the NPCA web site to find an event near you; their Internet address is http://www.ncpa.org.

NGA WOMENíS HEALTH CAMPAIGN: The National Governorsí Association, Governorsí Spouses Program, is about to release the 1997 Activity Report from its Womenís Health Campaign. The Governorís spouses began speaking out about womenís health issues in 1994, with their first breast cancer initiative. They expanded their efforts in 1997 to address cardiovascular disease, physical activity, osteoporosis, menopause, mental health, as well as breast cancer. Cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis are ready links to physical activity, but four states have focused efforts specifically on physical activity. These are Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, South Carolina. What are you waiting for? Contact the Womenís Health Coordinator at your state health department or call your Governorís Office and find out how to get involved in your state.

NHLBI REPORT ON BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE: The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has just released the "Report of the Task Force on Behavioral Research in Cardiovascular, Lung, and Blood Health and Disease." The report summarizes accomplishments to date, makes specific recommendations for future research and recognizes over 100 areas of significant opportunity for behavioral research. You can find the report (and download it) on the Internet at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/resources/docs/taskforc.htm.


PREVENTIONíS HEALTHY IDEAS: The publishers of Prevention magazine have a web page that provides personalized information on health and fitness. It includes information on weight loss, fitness, healthy cooking , and family health. Thereís lots of information about walking and place to sign up for a free newsletter. Check it out at http://www.prevention.com/cda/channel2002/0,,s1-678,00.html.

FOOD INSIGHT: The International Food Information Council (IFIC) has a web site that contains all sorts of information on food and food safety. Recent issues of IFICís newsletter, "Food Insight," can be accessed online. There also is a glossary with hundreds of food and health-related definitions. Check it out at http://ific.org/foodinsight/index.cfm.


Prevention Research Center
Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina
730 Devine Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29208

Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



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