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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

Greetings all!

The first official day of summer is just around the corner – be sure to take necessary precautions for outdoor activity in hot and sunny weather. Drink pleny of water and protect yourself from the sun – slip on a tee shirt, slap on a hat and slop on some sunscreen. Be careful and have a great summer.

Barb Ainsworth and Fran Wheeler

Regina Fields, Editor (RMFields@sph.sc.edu)



NEWS YOU CAN USE: America’s Best Walking Towns, Share the Road, National Recreation and Parks Month, Power of Positive Thinking


RESEARCH NOTES: Who is Meeting the Physical Activity Recommendations? Urban African Americans’ Physical Activity Patterns, Functional Ability in Older Adults, Effective Treatment for Obesity

REPORTS AND SURVEYS: Physical Activity Guidelines for Pre-Adolescents

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: Physical Activity for Individuals with Disabilities, Healthy Communities

WEBSITES OF INTEREST: Partnership for a Walkable America, Searchable Trails and Greenways Bibliography, Runners World On-Line, American Hiking Society



AMERICA’S BEST WALKING TOWNS: Walking Magazine, the American Hiking Society, and the American Heart Association recently selected towns and cities for the First Annual Walkable Community Awards. The panelists looked for communities with "1) A Comprehensive network of sidewalks and trails with few barriers to pedestrians; 2) A safe and aesthetically pleasing walking environment; 3) Compact and diverse development, offering plenty of walking destinations; and 4) A culture of promoting walking in citizen activism, civic planning and administration." Descriptions of the winners are in the May/June 1998 issue of Walking Magazine. In the Small Communities (under 50,000 population) category, winners were Eureka Springs, Arkansas; Clayton, California; Dunedin, Florida; Exeter, New Hampshire; Xenia, Ohio; and Burlington, Vermont. Medium Cities (50,000 – 350,000) winners were Boulder, Colorado; Portland, Maine; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Large Cities selected were Washington, D.C.; Boston, Massachusetts; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Portland, Oregon; Austin, Texas; and Seattle/Kirkland, Washington.

SHARE THE ROAD: June 21-27 is Driving and Bicycle Safety Week, sponsored by the National Safety Council. The Council reminds bicyclists to "put a lid on it" (wear a helmet) and asks motorists to drive defensively and give cyclists plenty of room on the road.

NATIONAL RECREATION AND PARKS MONTH: Looking ahead….July is the month to celebrate the great physical activity-promoting resource we have in our local and state parks. A sample proclamation is on the National Recreation and Parks Association website at www.nrpa.org.

POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING: In the June issue of Prevention Magazine, Dr. Joanne Kraenzle Schneider, of Washington University School of Medicine, recommends shifting negative thoughts to positive ones in order to increase the chances of sticking with an exercise regimen. Dr. Schneider conducted a pilot study that supports this notion. An example: Instead of thinking, "I hate to sweat," think, "Sweating is cooling my body because I’m working hard, which will make me healthier."


ISTEA REAUTHORIZATION: The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) was signed into law by President Clinton on June 9th. TEA-21 authorizes highway, highway safety, transit, enhancements and other surface transportation programs for the next six years. According to the US Department of Transportation, "TEA-21 builds on the initiatives established in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA)." The Enhancements program, which includes funding for pedestrian and bicycle facilities and the Recreational Trails program, will average $630 million per year. This is an increase of about 40% over ISTEA. TEA-21 also provides for an "Access to Jobs" program which could be tapped for pedestrian or bicycle projects. Unlike ISTEA, safety and educational activities for pedestrians and bicyclists will be eligible for Enhancements funds. The passage of this law marks the end of months of advocacy efforts by walking and bicycling proponents. Now the advocacy efforts move to the state level, where final decisions about Enhancements funding are made.


WHO IS MEETING THE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY RECOMMENDATIONS?: In this study, the authors identified the prevalence of adults who met the 1993 CDC/ACSM and 1996 Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity guidelines for moderate physical activity. About one third of the 1990 National Health Interview Survey participants met either of the guidelines. Least active were women, ethnic minorities, adults with lower educational levels, and older adults. See Jones, Ainsworth, Croft, Macera, Lloyd, and Yusuf, "Who is meeting the public health recommendations? A national cross-sectional study," Archives of Family Medicine, May/June 1998; 7:285-289.

URBAN AFRICAN AMERICANS’ PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PATTERNS: The physical activity level of 365 urban African Americans was evaluated via surveys administered at health fair screenings held at churches in East Baltimore, Maryland. It was determined that regular leisure time activity was 18% for men and 16% for women. However, when the definition of physical activity was broadened to include walking for at least a half of the workday; walking a minimum of ten blocks to and from work, and leisure time physical activity, 41% of the men and 38% of the women were active. The authors suggest that as the current level of intensity of work-related physical activity may not be enough to realize health benefits, a public health message that would be salient for many urban African Americans would be to increase the intensity of work-related physical activity. See Young, Miller, Wilder, Yanek, and Becker, "Physical activity patterns of urban African Americans," Journal of Community Health. April 1998, 23(2): 99-112.

FUNCTIONAL ABILITY IN OLDER ADULTS: Through the collection and subsequent analysis of base line data, researchers were able to determine that a low level of fitness is an independent risk factor for decline in functioning ability among older adults. Physical activity and certain physical fitness components (morphologic factors, muscular performance and motor ability) may be able to delay or minimize the onset of physical disability. Therefore, when planning exercise programs, strength training, cardiorespiratory capacity, motor ability and flexibility should be included. See Morey, Pieper, and Coroni-Huntley, "Physical fitness and functional limitations in community-dwelling older adults," Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, May 1998, 30(5): 715-722.

EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR OBESITY: Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine validated the use of short exercise sessions in treating obese patients and tested the effectiveness of home exercise equipment on weight control programs. In the 20-week study, obese women were instructed to reduce their fat and caloric intake, and were told to exercise five days a week, gradually increasing from 20 to 40 minutes a day. One group was instructed to exercise in a continuous session, and the other two groups divided the time into several 10-minute sessions. One of the 10-minute session groups were provided with home exercise equipment. The latter group had the most success in weight loss and in adherence to the program. Study results were presented by John M. Jakicic, PhD, at the 1998 Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting in March.


PHYSICAL ACTIVITY GUIDELINES FOR PRE-ADOLESCENTS: The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) released "Physical Activity for Children: A Statement of Guidelines" on May 13. The guidelines include a recommendation that elementary school age children should be physically active at least 60 minutes and up to several hours per day. NASPE’s Council on Physical Education for Children developed the guidelines; Charles B. Corbin and Robert P. Pangrazi of the Department of Exercise Science and Physical Education and Arizona State University-Tempe were the lead authors. According to NASPE, the purpose of the guidelines is to "provide parents, physicians, physical education teachers...and all others dedicated to promoting physically active lifestyles for children with guidelines about appropriate physical activity for pre-adolescent children." The document may be obtained for $13.00 by calling 1-800-321-0789.


PHYSICAL ACTIVITY FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES: The American Association for Active Lifestyles and Fitness and the National Consortium for Physical Education and Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities are holding a workshop on how to influence legislation and regulations concerning physical activity for individuals with disabilities. The workshop will be June 21-23, 1998 in Washington, DC. For information call 1-800-213-7193 x.431.

HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: The Search Institute is holding its annual conference on asset-building youth initiatives on November 4-7, 1998 in St. Paul, Minnesota. To receive a brochure, call 1-800-888-7828. The joint conference of the US Coalition for Healthier Cities and Communities and the National Civic League will be held a week later, on November 13-15, 1998, in Washington, DC. "Building Healthier Communities" will focus on innovations in community health development. For information, call 1-800-223-6004 or e-mail ncl@ncl.org.


PARTNERSHIP FOR A WALKABLE AMERICA: This site is maintained by the non-profit National Safety Council, which is one of many members of the Partnership. The site includes information on "Walk Our Children to School Day" (September 23, 1998), as well as the "Walkable America Checklist." The checklist is an interactive quiz which allows you to rate the walkability of your community. It also includes recommendations on how to improve your community’s score. Check it out at http://www.walkableamerica.org/checklist-walkability.pdf.

SEARCHABLE TRAILS AND GREENWAYS BIBLIOGRAPHY: Jim Schmid, State Trails Coordinator for the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, has compiled a bibliography including over 900 trails- and greenways- related publications. Find it all at http://www.sctrails.net/trails/LIBRARY/TrailsBibliography.html.

RUNNERS WORLD ON-LINE: An extension of Runners World Monthly magazine (published by Rodale Press), Runners World On-line provides accessible and entertaining information on a variety of running topics. There are nice sections for beginners and women, and on nutrition and shoe selection. The site is very well-organized, and not too commercial. Worth checking out at www.runnersworld.com.

AMERICAN HIKING SOCIETY: In honor of National Trails Day, which was June 6, 1998, we direct your attention to the American Hiking Society’s homepage. Among other activities, the Society provides grassroots groups with funding for trails, through the National Trail Endowment. Information is at www.ahs.simplenet.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 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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