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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

Welcome to the July issue of the PRC Notes! In keeping with our Centerís theme, "Promoting Health Through Physical Activity," we provide updates about physical activity applied research, conferences and workshops, related web sites, and other miscellaneous information of interest. One of our goals for the USC Prevention Research Center is to share ways to promote physical activity with community practitioners and researchers. If you have received this newsletter through a colleague and you would like to be added to our regular mailing list, drop us an E-mail. We hope the information is useful to you!

Barb Ainsworth, Director
Fran Wheeler, Deputy Director
Regina Fields, Editor (



NEWS YOU CAN USE: Physical Education Curriculum, Rabid Anti-Car Activists, Itís Hot Out There!

WHATíS HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON: Race and Health Initiative

RESEARCH NOTES: Starting Late, CVD Risk Tracks into Adulthood, Lowering BP in High-School Females, Parental Involvement Increases Youth P.A., P.A. in Conjunction with Hypertension Drug Therapy

REPORTS AND SURVEYS: Obesity Clinical Guidelines Released, New Zealand Reports

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: Hypertension in the Southeast, American Public Health Association

WEBSITES OF INTEREST: Active Living Canada, Weight-Control Information Network, Human Kinetics



PHYSICAL EDUCATION CURRICULUM: A new lifetime physical activity-oriented physical education curriculum for grades 3 through 6 is available. "Students Winning through Exercise, Attitude and Training" (S.W.E.A.T.) is sponsored by the National Association for Sports and Physical Education, Gatorade, and Sports Illustrated for Kids. Developed focusing on the national physical education standards, the package includes a teaching guide and posters for each student. The curriculum is available free by writing: Ms. Jennifer Yetman, SWEAT Curriculum Request, c/o SI for Kids Rm. 422B, 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.

RABID ANTI-CAR ACTIVISTS: "Car Busters" magazine critiques Western societyís "car culture" and explores positive alternatives. Published by a group in Lyon, France, the articles are summarized in five languages. The goals of the magazine are to "maintain and build the international car-free movement, publicize campaigns, facilitate international cooperation, inspire new activists and share information, ideas and resources within the movement." Subscriptions are US$17.50, through Car Busters Resource Centre, 44 rue Burdeau, 69001 Lyon, France.

ITíS HOT OUT THERE!: As hot as itís been, itís easy to get dehydrated when engaging in physical activity outside. An article in the July issue of Prevention Magazine suggests that sports drinks might be a better choice than water because people tend to drink more of something that tastes good. Thereís also evidence that beverages with low amounts of carbohydrates, like sports drinks, are absorbed more quickly than those with higher amounts of carbohydrates, like fruit juice. The article suggests, "If sports drinks donít tickle your taste buds, dilute your favorite fruit juice with water." Keep cool!


RACE AND HEALTH INITIATIVE: The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services has launched the "Initiative to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities" in six health areas where inequalities have been pronounced. The six areas are cardiovascular disease, diabetes, infant mortality, cancer screening and management, HIV/AIDS infection rates, and child and adult immunizations. Coordinated efforts and partnerships are being created between federal agencies, foundations, businesses, national and regional organizations, and state, local and tribal governments. Information about the initiative is now available at a new web site, http://raceandhealth.hhs.gov. The site can also be reached through http://www.hhs.gov. Information about racial and ethnic disparities, interventions, and funding is available.


STARTING LATE: Researchers analyzed the British Regional Heart study, a large prospective cohort study, to determine if elderly men should be advised to begin and/or to increase physical activity later in life. The relationship between physical activity, all cause mortality and the incidence of coronary heart disease (n= 5516) was evaluated. At two separate times during the study, the participants (all men) were asked about their patterns of physical activity and a physical activity score was then calculated. This score was dependent on type of activity, duration, and intensity. At the time of the second evaluation (1992), the mean age of the respondents was 62 years. The researchers determined that forms of mortality were highest in the inactive group while the lowest risk was among those men who did moderate physical activity. In addition, it was determined that sedentary men who increase their regular physical activity will have a decrease in mortality. The greatest benefit to overall health for men over the age of 60 was regular moderate exercise. The researchers concluded that their results support "public health recommendations for older sedentary people to increase physical activity, and for active middle-aged people to continue their activity into old age." See Wannamethee, et al., "Changes in physical activity, mortality, and incidence of coronary heart disease in older men." The Lancet, 351: 1603-1608 (1998).

CVD RISK TRACKS INTO ADULTHOOD: Through analysis of a follow-up cohort study, the researchers determined that all causes of mortality and cardiovascular mortality were associated with higher childhood BMIs. As obese children often become obese adults, this information validates the importance of reducing the incidence of childhood obesity; however, this will only affect adult health if a healthy weight is maintained in adulthood. See Gunnell, et al. "Childhood obesity and adult cardiovascular mortality: a 57-y follow-up study based on the Boyd Orr Cohort." Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67:1111-1118 (1998).

LOWERING BP IN HIGH-SCHOOL FEMALES: The researchers evaluated the effectiveness of a school-based program, Project Heart, which was designed to increase physical activity. Project Heart ran from 1991-1994 at an all-female public high school in Baltimore, Maryland. Participants in the program had blood pressure readings in the top third of the normal distribution (n=99). The participants were randomly distributed to an aerobics class or to a standard physical education class. Of the 88 participants who completed the program, those enrolled in the aerobics class had an increase in aerobic fitness and a modest reduction in blood pressure. In addition, 81% of the girls who participated in the aerobics classes stated that if such a class were offered for academic credit they would enroll. The researchers conclude that a "program teaching skills to maintain physical activity across the life span would be of greatest benefit." See Ewart, et al. "Effects of school-based aerobic exercise on blood pressure in adolescent girls at risk for Hypertension." American Journal of Public Health, 88(6): 949-951 (1998).

PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT INCREASES YOUTH P.A.: The purpose of this study was to determine the short and long-term benefits of a school and home based physical activity "enrichment" program for children at higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Systolic blood pressure, percent body fat, physical fitness and cholesterol level determined risk. The program which lasted two terms (each ten weeks in length) included a physical activity component which included six class room sessions and four fifteen- to twenty-minute fitness sessions a week. In the enrichment component the teacher, student and parents worked to develop realistic goals that met the needs of the students. Parents were encouraged to promote physical activity within the home. A nutrition component also was included in the program. Overall fitness improved for both boys and girls and continued 6 months after completion of the program. Researchers found that encouraging physical fitness in a high risk group, with parental involvement, improved not only fitness, but also body composition, blood cholesterol and dietary choices with some difference in 11-year-olds with some difference in response in boys and girls. See Burke et al. "A controlled trial of health promotion programs in 11-year olds using physical activity Ďenrichmentí for high risk children." The Journal of Pediatrics, 132(5): 840-847 (1998).

P.A. IN CONJUNCTION WITH HYPERTENSION DRUG THERAPY: Researchers investigated the additional effect of adding low intensity aerobic training for patients that were receiving daily drug therapy for hypertension. Over the course of nine, the training group (n=13) participated in low intensity physical activity program that involved walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes 3-6 times a week for nine months. Within three months all participants had lower blood pressure and by the end of the nine months all participants had stabilized blood pressure readings that were significantly lower. However, for those participants who stopped training, blood pressure levels increased to their pre-training level. See Motoyama et al. "Blood pressure lowering effect of low intensity aerobic training in elderly hypertensive patients." Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 30(6):819-822 (1998).


OBESITY CLINICAL GUIDELINES RELEASED: The first "Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults" was released in June by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in cooperation with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Developed to assist physicians in their care of overweight patients, the guidelines were based on an exhaustive review of the scientific evidence. Physicians are advised to have their patients try calorie reduction, increased physical activity, and other behavioral strategies before beginning drug therapy. The guidelines are available through the NHLBI Information Center, P.O. Box 30105, Bethesda, MD 20824-0105, or at the NHLBI website, http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/ob_home.htm.

NEW ZEALAND REPORTS: In June, the Physical Activity Task Force of New Zealandís Hillary Commission released a report of their recommended strategies to increase physical activity. The report should soon be available at the Commissionís website, www.hillarysport.org.nz. The National Health Committee also released a report in June, entitled, "Active for Life: A Call to Action." The report outlines the health benefits of physical activity, making extensive reference to the US Surgeon Generalís Report on Physical Activity and Health. The report will be available at www.nhc.govt.nz.


HYPERTENSION IN THE SOUTHEAST: The Consortium for Southeastern Hypertension Control is sponsoring "Issues and New Guidelines: Managing the Global Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in the Southeast" on September 30 through October 2, 1998 in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference is endorsed by the NHLBI, the USDHHS, and the Georgia Dept. of Human Resources, among others. Sessions include "Epidemiology and Prevention of Hypertension," "Obesity and the Prevention/Treatment of Hypertension," and "Practical Approach to Cardiovascular Disease Management in Women." For information, call the Consortium at 1-800-267-3421.

AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION: The "oldest and largest gathering of public health professionals in the world" will be held on November 15 - 19, 1998 in Washington, D.C. Over 13,000 are expected to attend the annual convention of the American Public Health Association. Preliminary programs include "Trends, Issues and Concerns in Physical Activity Practices," "Community-Level Interventions: Research, Practice and Evaluation," and "Use of Marketing Data for Targeted Health Communication." Registration forms can be obtained through the APHA website, www.apha.org, or through their fax-on-demand service, 703-531-0894, document #201.


ACTIVE LIVING CANADA: Ever wonder what other countries are doing to promote physical activity? Active Living Canada was formed in 1993 as a group of organizations dedicated to increasing moderate physical activity. Check out their initiatives at http://www.activeliving.ca/.

WEIGHT-CONTROL INFORMATION NETWORK: A service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the Weight-control Information Network site offers professionals and consumers science-based information on obesity, weight control and nutrition. Included are publications, lecture series on video, and a program listing. Itís at www.niddk.nih.gov/health/nutrit/win.htm.

 HUMAN KINETICS: Human Kinetics Publishing has a "commitment to developing quality resources in such areas as the sport and exercise sciences, physical education, fitness, sports, and coaching." In addition to their product catalog, their website also includes information on jobs, conferences and links to other physical activity-related sites. Find them at www.humankinetics.com.


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 youíd 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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