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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

Hello again! Another month has passed, daylight savings time has ended, and the weather is beginning to cool off. It is time to pull out the jackets, enjoy the fall colors and then rake the leaves. Raking is a good moderate activity – 4 METs. This month the Prevention Research Center begins our sixth year of funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We are delighted to announce our successful refunding of our Center for another five years. We have already started one of our new projects, a physical activity listserv. We hope you will participate and share your ideas about physical activity and public health. Enjoy!

Barb Ainsworth, Director
Fran Wheeler, Deputy Director
Regina Fields, Editor (RMFields@sph.sc.edu)
IN THIS ISSUE – October 1998
USC PREVENTION RESEARCH CENTER UPDATE: Five-year Core Grant Refunded, New Physical Activity Listserv

NEWS YOU CAN USE: American Diabetes Month, Ways Parents Can Help Children Be Active, Women’s Health Study, FITNET, National Girls and Women in Sports Day

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON: Public Health Funding, Time for Advocacy

RESEARCH NOTES: Physical Activity and Stroke, Vigorous Exercise Reduces Risk of Pre-term Delivery, Fitness Declines in Young Adulthood, Functional Limitations

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, ETC.: Healthy Aging Study Announced

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: Chronic Disease Prevention and Control

WEBSITES OF INTEREST: National Health Survey, Deakin Health and Wellbeing Program
The USC Prevention Research Center is one of 23 new and/or existing Centers funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to translate research into public health practice. The award is for five years to conduct applied research, training, dissemination, and community interventions in physical activity and public health. Our partners are the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the South Carolina Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness. Our community partner is the Wateree Health District and the Santee Healthy People 2000 Coalition in Sumter, SC. The focus will be on promoting physical activity through environmental and policy changes.

NEW PHYSICAL ACTIVITY LISTSERV: The USC Prevention Research Center kicked off a new listserv for physical activity advocates in late September. The "Physical Activity On-Line Network" is intended to provide a forum for discussing public health approaches to promoting physical activity. So far almost 300 individuals have signed on from the US, Canada and Australia. Members are from health departments, universities, the US Centers for Disease Control, public schools and many other settings. Discussions have been related to physical activity recommendations for diabetics, the CATCH physical education curriculum, and community environment audit tools. To sign on, send an e-mail to LISTSERV@VM.SC.EDU with the message SUB PHYS-ACT yourfirstname yourlastname in the body of the e-mail. For more information, contact Regina Fields at RMFields@sph.sc.edu.

November is American Diabetes Month. The USC Prevention Research Center recently estimated that 40% of diabetes cases in South Carolina could be prevented through regular physical activity. Physical activity is also important in the treatment of diabetes. Chapters of the American Diabetes Association are planning a variety of events to commemorate American Diabetes Month. To get involved or to find out more Information, see the ADA website at www.diabetes.org.

WAYS PARENTS CAN HELP CHILDREN BE ACTIVE: Paul Rosengard, Jim Sallis, and Thomas McKenzie offer the following "13 Ways Parents Can Help Children Be More Physically Active:" 1) Frequently ask what physical activities they like to do, then help them do it! 2) Be a role model; 3) Participate with your child; 4) Encourage your child to participate on sports teams; 5) Plan family events that include physical activity; 6) Enroll your child in out-of-school physical activity lessons; 7) Transport your children to places where they can move and play safely if necessary; 8) Monitor TV viewing and video game play. Have your child "earn" time for these by accumulating minutes of physical activity. 9) Select gifts that promote physical activity; 10) Write and speak with school administrators showing your support for quality daily physical education programs; 11) Encourage school officials to provide opportunities for students to be physically active before school, after school and during lunch breaks; 12) Encourage school officials to offer assemblies, field trips, and special events that promote physical activity; 13) Advocate for the development of neighborhood parks, bicycling paths, walking trails and sidewalks in your community.

WOMEN’S HEALTH STUDY: The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Women’s Health Study has reached its recruitment goal of 160,000 women across the U.S., but continues to recruit minority women through December 1998. Post-menopausal minority women aged 50 to 79 who live near one of the study’s clinical centers are encouraged to participate. The 15-year study is examining the relationship between lifestyle factors and health. To find out which centers are recruiting minority women, visit www.nhlbi.nih.gov/nhlbi/whi1.

FITNET: Tim Lane, Fitness Consultant with the Iowa Department of Public Health, has created a daily e-mail publication called FITNET. FITNET is a short message designed to assist people in their efforts to be more physically active and to modify their nutritional habits. If you would like to get a copy of the FITNET script, contact Tim at Tlane@idph.state.ia.us. The script allows for creating a version of FITNET for worksites, organizations, or other e-mail distribution groups.

NAT’L GIRLS AND WOMEN IN SPORTS DAY: Looking ahead…February 4, 1999 is the 13th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) in the U.S. That day, thousands of sports educators, coaches, recreation directors, students, parents, and others will salute female athletes and their struggle for equality in sports. Ideas for local action include organizing a celebration of the day in your community or school, starting a girls’ and women’s fitness or sports club at a recreation center or school, and creating a sports clinic to expose young girls to a variety of sports. Community Action Kits are available through AAHPERD at 1-800-321-0789, stock number 303-10068. 

Public health fared well in the recent Fiscal Year 1999 Omnibus funding measure passed by Congress and soon to be signed by President Clinton. The Centers for Disease Control received a nine percent budget increase. The National Institutes of Health and other health-related agencies also received increases. Among the CDC programs which received increases are the Preventive Health Block Grant program for state health departments, which received a $900,000 increase; the Prevention Research Centers, which received a $5.4 million increase, and the Chronic and environmental disease prevention program, which received an $82.4 million increase. 

TIME FOR ADVOCACY: It’s election season in the U.S. Before you vote on November 3rd, take the opportunity to find out candidates’ positions on issues of importance to you. Physical activity policy issues include transportation funding for bicycle lanes/paths and sidewalks, mandates for quality daily physical education, and funding for local recreation facilities. To find out who is running for congress or for state-wide offices in your area, check out http://congress.org.

Past research has yielded mixed results about the association between physical activity and the risk of stroke. Researchers with the Harvard Alumni Study examined data on 11,130 men to study that association. They found that after adjusting for age, smoking status, alcohol intake, and early parental death, the risk of stroke was 24 percent less for men who did the equivalent of a half-hour long brisk walk for five days a week, and was 46 percent lower for those who did the equivalent of an hour-long walk five days a week. Risk was not reduced with light physical activity. See Lee, I. et al., Physical activity and stroke incidence: the Harvard Alumni Health Study. Stroke, 1998 Oct; 29(10):2049-54.

VIGOROUS EXERCISE REDUCES RISK OF PRE-TERM DELIVERY: Researchers at the Columbia School of Public Health followed a group of 557 pregnant women to determine whether leisure-time exercise would affect the timeliness of delivery. It was determined that vigorous exercise does not raise the risk of pre-term delivery; in fact, it appeared to actually reduce the risk. Heavy exercisers also delivered their babies faster. There was no association between length of pregnancy and low to moderate exercise. See Hatch, M. et al., Maternal leisure-time exercise and timely delivery. American Journal of Public Health, 1998 Oct; 88(10):1528-33. 

FITNESS DECLINES IN YOUNG ADULTHOOD: In 1988, young adults ages 18 to 30 years were enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study to observe changes in cardiovascular disease risk factors that occur with age. Seven years later, 1,962 participants were measured a second time to identify changes in cardiorespiratory fitness, physical activity and body mass index. Results showed a 9 to 25 percent decrease in mean physical activity scores. The largest decreases in physical activity were seen in white women. Mean cardiorespiratory fitness levels decreased by 7 to 13 percent, and body weight increased from 11 to 20 pounds. Fitness levels did not change among those without weight gain. However, a weight gain of more than 20 pounds, which was seen in 31 percent of participants, was related to a nearly 20 percent decrease in fitness levels. See Sidney, S. et al., Seven-year change in graded exercise treadmill test performance in young adults in the CARDIA study. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 1998; 30:427-433.

FUNCTIONAL LIMITATIONS: Associations between physical fitness, physical activity and functional limitations were studied in 4,670 men and women ages 40 and older, enrolled in the Aerobic Center Longitudinal Study. Functional limitations in moderate daily activities included the inability to lift or carry 10 pounds, stoop, crouch, kneel or sit for prolonged times. Functional limitations in vigorous daily activities were the inability to walk briskly, climb stairs and do manual labor. The prevalence of functional limitations was nearly twice as high in women compared with men. Results showed that the prevalence of functional limitation was lower for both moderately fit and highly fit men and women, as compared with low fit men and women. The prevalence was also lower among more physically active men and women. See Huang, Y. et al., Physical fitness, physical activity and functional limitation in adults aged 40 and older. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 1998; 30:1430-1435.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has announced a five-year project to identify the best ways to promote health and prevent physical decline among older Americans. The Healthy Aging Project will find and test strategies to reduce behavioral risk factors such as physical inactivity and smoking and to encourage the use of clinical preventive services among Medicare beneficiaries. At the end of the project, the first compendium of scientifically proven strategies to reduce behavioral risk factors for seniors will be produced. The RAND Corporation based in Santa Monica, California, will conduct the project, which is expected to cost $3.7 million over five years. The Healthy Aging Project was jointly developed by the Health Care Financing Administration and the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, in consultation with the National Institute on Aging, the Administration on Aging, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. (from DHHS Press Release, October 14, 1998)

CHRONIC DISEASE PREVENTION AND CONTROL: The theme of the 13th National Conference on Chronic Disease Prevention and Control is "Prevention: Translating Research into Public Health Practice." The conference will be held at the Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta, Georgia on December 8–10, 1998. An agenda and registration information can be obtained at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/conference/archive/  or by calling Lois Quinlan at 202-408-1330. Sponsors are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Association of State and Territorial Chronic Disease Program Directors. Topics will include emerging chronic disease issues, use of epidemiologic data for program planning, prevention research, and issues for at-risk populations. The format of the conference is varied, and is composed of plenary sessions, poster sessions, invited concurrent sessions, abstract sessions, and luncheon roundtables on topics including physical activity. 

NATIONAL HEALTH SURVEY: Epidemiologist Paul Williams wants to recruit 20 million Americans to participate in an online survey of diet and exercise habits and medical treatments. Participants will be contacted every three months to update information. The assessment gives feedback about BMI, kilocalories expended daily, and diet, and takes about an hour. It’s at www.healthsurvey.org. 

DEAKIN HEALTH AND WELLBEING PROGRAM: The School of Human Movement at Deakin University near Melbourne, Australia has created the Health and Wellbeing Program for their university’s staff. This excellent website includes tips and links for practical things an individual can do to become more physically active. The site contains programs, guidelines and simple self-tests. Advice is given by "stage of change." Check it out at


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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