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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

Seasonís Greetings from the faculty and staff of the USC Prevention Research Center. With this newsletter, we bid farewell to 1998 and welcome in 1999. Reviewing the past year, we are delighted with the growth of activities related to physical activity and public health. Our Center was refunded for another five years, over 500 people receive our newsletter, and over 300 people are participating in the Physical Activity and Public Health listserv. We also have many programs in the planning stage. Thank you for your support of our Centerís activities. We look forward to a grand 1999.

Barb Ainsworth, Director
Fran Wheeler, Deputy Director
Regina Fields, Editor (RMFields@sph.sc.edu)

IN THIS ISSUE Ė November/December 1998 

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Making the Grade, Health and Behavior Information Transfer Online Newsletter, Nasal Strips, Jet Lag


RESEARCH NOTES: Women Need More Regular Physical Activity, Urban African Americans: Non-Leisure Activities Rank High, Regular Activity Modifies Blood Clotting Mechanisms in Women, Lower Your Risk for Osteoporotic Fractures, Watching TV is Related to Weight Gain

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, ETC.: Healthy People 2010, Chronic Disease News and Reports, Walking in Communities, More Support for Non-Motorized Transportation

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: Active People in Healthy Communities, Art and Science of Health Promotion

NEWS FROM NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS: National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity

WEBSITES OF INTEREST: International Year for Older Persons, Fitness Calculators, 1999 National Health Observances, One Life to Live


MAKING THE GRADE: Are the physical education programs in your area making the grade? The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) has developed program guidelines and checklists for elementary, middle and secondary school physical education programs. Questions to ask include: 1) Do classes contain similar numbers of students as regular classrooms Ė about 25 students per class? 2) Is assessment of student achievement used to plan the curriculum, identify students with special needs, communicate with parents, and evaluate the programís effectiveness? 3) Do activities emphasize self-improvement, active participation, physical development and working with others Ė not just winning? For copies of the guidelines, call NASPE at 1-800-321-0789. (There is a small cost, to defray the expenses of printing.)

HEALTH and BEHAVIOR INFORMATION TRANSFER (HABIT) ONLINE NEWLETTER: If you are interested in receiving updated information about behavioral issues for prevention news, research happenings, latest National Institutes of Health activities, conferences, and grant opportunities, this is the online newsletter for you. To subscribe, send an E-mail message to newsletter@cfah.org and type "subscribe" (no quotes). To view back issues, visit their web site at <http://www.cfah.org/habit/index.cfm>.

NASAL STRIPS: Consumer Reports on Health says that "Breathe Right" nasal strips do not offer any performance benefit to athletes, because most people breathe through the mouth while exercising. The strips widen nasal passages, which increases the amount of air flowing through. Snoring and congestion due to a cold or allergies can be helped by the strips, however. (Consumer Reports on Health, November, 1998)

JET LAG: Donít skip those workouts when you travel! Researchers at Brigham and Womenís Hospital have found that physical activity can help moderate the effects of jet lag when travelling. Travel across four time zones was simulated, and then some study participants exercised. Those who exercised had better reaction times later than those who did not. The preliminary study was presented at the American College of Sports Medicine 1998 Annual Meeting. (Prevention Magazine, November 1998)

ELECTION RESULTS: Since the Republicans lost seats in the House in the recent election, narrowing their majority, many public health activists see an even more positive future for public health funding in the upcoming congressional sessions. Most congressmen and congresswomen will be in their home districts for the holidaysÖthis might be a good time to meet with them to discuss the issue of physical activity.

WOMEN NEED MORE REGULAR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: According to a study of physical activity habits among 521 urban white, African American, and Mexican American women between ages 16-85 years old, few obtained enough regular physical activity to reduce their risks for chronic disease. Most women expended less than 1,000 kilocalories per week in moderate and vigorous activity and only 8% of African American, 11% of Mexican American, and 13% of white women met the recommendations for a moderately active lifestyle as written in the 1996 Surgeon Generalís Report. Predictors of regular physical activity were education and marital status. You can read this article by LB Ransdell and CL Wells in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 1998;30:1608-1615.

URBAN AFRICAN AMERICANS: NON-LEISURE ACTIVITIES RANK HIGH: In a study of physical activity patterns, 365 African American men and women participating in health fairs in East Baltimore reported their most popular physical activities. Among men, frequent activities were brisk walking, basketball/football, and calisthenics. Among women, frequent activities were brisk walking, aerobics/jazz dancing, and strolling walking. The only activity performed more three days per week was brisk walking. Most of the walking was obtained at work and walking to and from work. This has important implications for physical activity surveys. You can read this article by DR Young, KW Miller, LB Wilder, LR Yanek, and DM Becker in Journal of Community Health 1998;23:99-112.

REGULAR ACTIVITY MODIFIES BLOOD CLOTTING MECHANISMS IN WOMEN: Exercise physiologists from the University of Colorado report that regular, vigorous exercise can reduce age related increases in blood clotting mechanisms among pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women. These findings contribute to the understanding of how regular physical activity can reduce the risk for coronary heart disease. Similar studies are needed to determine the effects of moderate-intensity activity on blood clotting mechanisms. You can read this article by CA DeSouza, PP Jones, and DR Seals in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis & Vascular Biology 1998;18:362-368.

LOWER YOUR RISK FOR OSTEOPOROTIC FRACTURES: A finding from the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures Research Group showed a protective effect of higher levels of leisure time, sport activity, and household chores, and fewer hours of sitting daily, on the risk for hip fractures. Participants were 9704 white women ages 65 years and older enrolled in a prospective study of osteoporotic fractures. Women reported as moderately to vigorously active and followed for nearly 4 years showed a 42% reduction in hip fractures and a 33% reduction in vertebral fractures as compared with the most sedentary women. The results conclude that habitual activity is protective from osteoporotic fractures. You can read this article by EW Gregg, JA Cauley, DG Seeley, KE Ensrud, and DC Bauer in Annals of Internal Medicine 1998;129:81-88.

WATCHING TV IS RELATED TO WEIGHT GAIN. Results from a prospective cohort of 19,478 US male health professionals between 40-75 years old in 1986 showed that four-year changes in body weight were related to watching TV/VCR and eating between meals. Vigorous activity was related with weight loss. You can read this article by EH Coakley, EB Rimm, G Colditz, I Kawachi, and W Willit in International Journal of Obesity & Related Metabolic Disorders 1998;22:89-96.

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2010: Hereís a reminder that comments on the draft of the "Healthy People 2010" objectives are due December 15, 1998. The draft is available for review at http://www.healthypeople.gov/. The 14 physical activity/physical fitness objectives are the first set. There are related objectives in the Educational and Community-Based Programs section and in several other sections. If you havenít already done so, please take a few minutes to review the objectives and provide feedback. 

CHRONIC DISEASE NEWS & REPORTS (CDNR): The 1998 Fall issue of CDNR published by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at CDC marks the 10th anniversary of the National Center. Several key quotes are mentioned in articles that reflect the essence of continuing public health efforts to reduce chronic diseases and disabilities.

"Ö over the past 10 years, we have added a year to our life span, and death rates are down" (Jeff Koplan, Director of CDC). [But letís not get complacent] Ö "the cost of chronic illness has increased to more than 60 percent of the $1 trillion spent on medical care in the United States" (Jim Marks, Director of NCCDPHP). Adding Ö "Compare the Ebola outbreak in Zaire, which killed approximately 245 people, with the impact of chronic diseases in America. During the same 6 weeks in the US, more than 30,000 deaths related to tobacco use, 20,000 related to diet and physical inactivity, and 8,000 related to alcohol use occurred" (David Satcher, US Surgeon General). You can read the report on the CDCís web site located at  <http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp>.

WALKING IN COMMUNITIES: Do you ever wonder if cross walks, sidewalks, or walking signals at stop lights make a difference in the proportion of people who walk in a given community? Do you ever wonder why new housing divisions donít include sidewalks and bicycle lanes? Or, do you wonder if community policies can promote or deter people from being physically active? If you answer yes, then you are asking questions about policy and environmental supports for physical activity. If you know of any studies which address these or similar issues, please send them to bainsworth@sph.sc.edu and we will pass them along in future newsletters.

MORE SUPPORT FOR NON-MOTORIZED TRANSPORTATION: The Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP) recently released a report showing that adding new lanes to roads does not decrease traffic congestion, as highway proponents often argue. The report presents an analysis of data collected over 15 years in 70 cities across the United States. Roy Kienitz, Executive Director of the STPP, said, "Widening roads to ease traffic congestion is ineffective and expensive at the same time. Itís like trying to cure obesity by loosening your belt." Kienitz also noted, "Communities that are investing in strategies that give people alternatives to driving, such as transit, bike lanes, and land use planning, are finding that these techniques can be both a popular and effective means of fighting traffic congestion" [Editorís note: Not to mention it could be an effective way to promote physical activity!] The complete report is available at the STPP website, <http://www.transact.org>. 

The National Association of Governorís Councils on Physical Fitness and Sports will hold its annual conference on March 4 Ė 7, 1999 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The theme for the conference is "Active People in Healthy Communities." Speakers include Dr. William Dietz, Director of the CDC Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, and Mark Fenton, Editor-at-large of Walking Magazine. Topics will include "Physical Activity Interventions at the Community Level," "Harnessing the Power of the Media Through Advocacy," "Building Communities to Support Physical Activity," and examples of model programs. For information, contact the Association at 317-237-5630.

ART AND SCIENCE OF HEALTH PROMOTION: The Tenth Annual Art and Science of Health Promotion Conference, sponsored by the American Journal of Health Promotion, will be held in Amelia Island, Florida on March 1 Ė 6, 1999. The conference is co-sponsored by the Wellness Councils of America, and the theme is "Balancing High Tech with Human Touch in Health Promotion." A limited number of free conference passes will be awarded to professionals working with under served populations who are unable to afford the conference registration fee. For more information, call 248-682-0707.

NATIONAL COALITION FOR PROMOTING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY (NCPPA): The NCPPA was established in 1995 to build upon the opportunities that would emerge from the release of the Surgeon Generalís Report as well as other positive initiatives. The mission of the NCPPA is to unite the strengths of public, private, and industry efforts into a collaborative partnership to inspire Americans to lead physically active lifestyles to enhance their health and quality of life. If you care about promoting physical activity in your community, the Coalition may be for you. For more information about the NCPPA , you can write a letter (NCPPA, Box 1440, Indianapolis, IN 46206-1440), make a telephone call (317-637-0349), send a Fax (317-634-7817), send an E-mail to natcoal@ncppa.org or visit their web site at <http://www.ncppa.org/>.

The United Nations is observing the year 1999 as the International Year of Older Persons. This is "in recognition of humanity's demographic coming of age and the promise it holds for maturing attitudes and capabilities in social, economic, cultural and spiritual undertakings, not least for global peace and development in the next century." Principles for Older Persons have been adopted "to add life to the years that have been added to life." The principles deal with five categories: independence, participation, care, self-fulfillment and dignity of older persons. For information, visit <www.un.org/esa/socdev/iyop>.

FITNESS CALCULATORS: Want to see how your fitness level and health status compare to other people your same age and sex? Fitness Online provides a set of on-line calculators to fine-tune a fitness training program, identify areas for improvement, measure progress and more. The tools calculate target heart rate, energy expenditure, body mass index, and the Rockport Walking Test of aerobic fitness. The calculators are at <www.healthcalc.net/fitnessonline/tools.htm>.

1999 NATIONAL HEALTH OBSERVANCES: The National Health Information Center, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sponsors a website calendar listing all National Health Observances for 1999. The calendar includes contact information for the sponsoring organization for each observance. Observances related to physical activity include American Heart Month (February), National Osteoporosis Prevention Month (May) and National Diabetes Month (November). These can be used as opportunities to sponsor physical activity events, stimulate awareness of physical activity through the media, or focus on disease prevention. The calendar is available at <http://www.healthfinder.gov/library/nho/nho.asp>.

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 send it to 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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