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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

Greetings! August is the month when the hot, muggy days of summer hang on to remind us that fall is just around the corner. It is also the time when schools begin. We hope the transitions are easy for you. This month, the USC Prevention Research Center Notes marks its first year of distribution in its current format. We hope you have enjoyed our timely news items about physical activity and public health. In this issue we present great ideas about promoting physical activity among youth, superb grant opportunities for women and youth, research briefs and more. Read on!

Barbara Ainsworth, Director (bainsworth@sph.sc.edu)
Fran Wheeler, Deputy Director (fcwheele@sph.sc.edu)
Regina Fields, Editor (rmfields@sph.sc.edu)



NEWS YOU CAN USE: Walk our Children to School Week, Women’s Sports Foundation Grants, Tiger Woods Foundation, Cheap Sunglasses


RESEARCH NOTES: Exercise Vs. Lifestyle P.A., P.A. Measurement, Why Do Adolescents Participate? Functional Ability in Elderly


UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: Physical Activity and Health Communications, Reminder: Pro Bike/Pro Walk 1998, Active People in Healthy Communities

OTHER NOTES: Update on National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity

WEBSITES OF INTEREST: PE Central, Active for Life



WALK OUR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL WEEK: The Partnership for a Walkable America is encouraging local organizations or individuals to participate in "Walk Our Children to School Week" during September 21 - 25, 1998. The event is easy and quick to organize, and among other things has the benefits of making citizens aware of the availability (or lack) of safe pedestrian routes in their communities. Organizing materials are available by faxing a request to Harold Thompson, National Safety Council, at 630-775-2185. Include the name of the community leader (i.e., mayor, town councilman) who will lead the walk; name of the city/town/community that will participate; and your name, organization, mailing address, phone/fax, and e-mail. For information about the Partnership, see http://www.walktoschool.org/ (Thanks to Rich Killingsworth for this update)

WOMEN’S SPORTS FOUNDATION GRANTS: Several grants are available through the Women’s Sports Foundation. Anyone is eligible, and the application due date is September 15, 1998. Grants include: Quaker Rice Cakes Nutrition and Exercise Research Grant, $5000, for research related to nutrition and exercise in women's sports; Evian Research Grant on Rehydration in Women’s Sports, $5000; Women’s Sports Foundation Girls and Women in Sports Research Grant, average between $1000 - $2000; Lilo Leeds Women’s Sports and Fitness Participation Research, $500, psychological or sociological research that creates a greater understanding of the factors that influence the participation of girls and women in sports and fitness activities. For information and application forms, call the Foundation at 516-542-4700. (Thanks to Christine Wells for this information)

TIGER WOODS FOUNDATION: Founded by Tiger Woods and his father in 1996, the Foundation’s goals are to be met by "supporting programs that focus on creating positive environments for underprivileged youths and that emphasize the importance of parental involvement and responsibility in the lives of children." Program areas are Children, Family Health and Welfare, Education, Parenting and Youth Development. One of the Youth Development Objectives is to, "Develop maximum human potential through cultural studies, recreation, physical fitness and other productive leisure activities." Proposals are reviewed quarterly. For information about applying, see http://cbs.sportsline.com/u/fans/celebrity/tiger/course/foundation.html.

CHEAP SUNGLASSES: In their July 1998 issue, Consumer Reports on Health points out that individuals who spend time in the sun should be sure that their sunglasses block ultraviolet light in addition to visible light. This is especially important for those of us who like to engage in various forms of physical activity during the summer months. Exposure to ultraviolet light increases the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. At a minimum, lenses should be labeled "Meets ANSI Z80.3 General Purpose UV Requirements," but a "Special Purpose" or "blocks UV up to 400 nm" label would be even better for those who spend a great deal of time in the sun or who have light-colored eyes.


RECESS: Senators and Representatives are home for summer recess now -- this is a perfect opportunity to contact legislators to educate them about successful initiatives and funding needs in your area. The Senate reconvenes on August 31, and the House on September 9. Don’t know who your congress people are? Find them by entering your zip code at http://congress.org.

RESEARCH NOTES EXERCISE VS. LIFESTYLE P.A.: 235 sedentary men and women participated in Project Active, a randomized clinical trial, designed to evaluate the effectiveness of primary care practice-based interventions to promote physical activity. Participants were assigned to either a structured and supervised exercise class or a life style group. The lifestyle group "participated in a behavioral, group process intervention designed to help them integrate more physical activity into their daily routines." One of the primary differences between the two interventions is that the lifestyle intervention emphasized skill development and the accumulation of moderate level activity throughout the day. The study included six months of intensive intervention, 18 months of follow-up intervention and incorporated the stages of motivational readiness and social cognitive theory. Although the increase in cardiorespiratory endurance was significantly greater for the structured intervention, after six months of intensive intervention researchers determined that the two different interventions were equally effective in increasing physical activity. See Dunn et al. "Six-month physical activity and fitness changes in Project Active, a randomized trial". Medicine & Science in Exercise & Sport 30(7): 1076-1083. 1998.

P.A. MEASUREMENT: MOSPA, a self-administered questionnaire (MOSPA= Monica’s Optional Study of Physical Activity) was designed to be used in developing countries to learn about individuals’ patterns of physical activity and includes components on physical activity, occupational activity, transportation and housework. Researchers assessed the reliability and validity of MOSPA in a Flemish population and discovered that reliability was low for moderate level of activity, and moderate to high for occupational and leisure time physical activity. Overall, the instrument was found to "be acceptably valid and reliable". See Roeykens et al. "Validity and reliability in a Flemish population of the WHO-MONICA Optional Study of Physical Activity Questionnaire. Medicine & Science in Exercise & Sport 30(7): 1071-1075. 1998.

WHY DO ADOLESCENTS PARTICIPATE?: Researchers attempted to identify variables that contribute to adolescent participation in community based cardiovascular disease prevention programs. The study surveyed ninth graders and included variables from social cognitive, empowerment and community development theories. The variables included perceived policy control, perceived self-efficacy, perceived incentive value, outcome expectancies, sense of community and community participation. It was determined that "among the independent variables, perceived incentive value, defined as the importance or value that students placed on having a heart healthy environment, was most strongly related to community participation." The results of the study are "consistent with the growing adult literature on citizen participation, which has found that adults are more likely to pursue community change when they believe the change is worthwhile and achievable and that they have the skills to achieve desired change." See Altman et al. "Psychosocial Factors Associated with Youth Involvement in Community Activities Promoting Heart Health" Health Education & Behavior, Vol. 25 (4): 489-500. 1998.

FUNCTIONAL ABILITY IN ELDERLY: Although major depression occurs among only an estimated 1-2% of the elderly community dwelling population, it has been estimated that12-20% suffer from significant depression. Through a 4 year prospective cohort study (n=1286) researchers attempted to determine if symptoms of depression contributes to a decline in functional ability. It was determined that "the severity of depressive symptoms predicted subsequent decline in physical performance." The researchers suggest "that prevention or reduction of depressed mood could play a role in reducing functional decline in older persons." See Pennix et al. "Depressive Symptoms and Physical Decline in Community-Dwelling Older Persons" JAMA. 279(21): 1720-1726. 1998.


MEAN STREETS: "Mean Streets 1998: Children at Risk" was released on August 6 by the Surface Transportation Policy Project. Focused on children’s pedestrian safety issues, the report also includes a ranking of metropolitan areas by how dangerous their streets are. An Executive Summary and ordering information is available at www.transact.org.


PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND HEALTH COMMUNICATIONS: In conjunction with their annual convention, the American Public Health Association is sponsoring a workshop on Physical Activity and Health Communications, on Sunday November 15, 1998 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Techniques for targeting populations at risk such as women, minorities, the elderly and youth will be covered. For further information, contact Barbara Campaigne, Director of Research Development at ACSM, at rdacsm@indy.net.

REMINDER – PRO BIKE/PRO WALK ’98: Just a reminder that "Creating Bicycle Friendly and Walkable Communities: Building for the Next Generation" will be held September 8 – 11, 1998 in Santa Barbara, CA. For information, call the Bicycle Federation of America at 202-463-6622.

ACTIVE PEOPLE IN HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: The theme of the 1999 annual meeting of the National Association of Governor’s Councils on Physical Fitness and Sports is "Active People in Healthy Communities: Multi-Level Approaches for Creating Change." According to the Association, "Leading experts will address the five levels of the socio-ecological model throughout the three-day conference." The conference is scheduled for March 4 – 7, 1999 in Indianapolis. For more information, call the Association at 317-237-5630.


UPDATE ON NATIONAL COALITION FOR PROMOTING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY (NCPPA): The NCPPA State Coalitions Committee has been formed and is getting organized. Cindy Porteous, Executive Director of the National Association of Governor’s Councils on Physical Fitness, is Chair of the committee, and Mark Robertson with ACSM is Staff Liaison. A committee operating code and set of objectives are currently being finalized. The goal of the committee is to "encourage and support state coalitions in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, and assist in establishing state coalitions where an existing state physical activity organization has been contacted and has not expressed an interest in affiliating with NCPPA."


PE CENTRAL: Created and maintained by the Health and Physical Education Program at Virginia Tech, the goal of PE Central is to provide the latest information about contemporary developmentally appropriate physical education programs for children and youth. Among many items, the site includes lesson plans, assessment ideas, instructional resources and information on conferences and workshops. Find it all at http://pe.central.vt.edu.

ACTIVE FOR LIFE: The Health Education Authority in the United Kingdom launched the "Active for Life" campaign in 1996, and it continues today.


This and past issues of the "University of South Carolina Prevention Research Center Notes" are available at our website, http://prevention.sph.sc.edu. If you have an item you’d like to share, please contact the editor at RMFields@sph.sc.edu.


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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