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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

Spring is in full bloom in South Carolina. This is a perfect time of the year for outside activities – not too hot or too humid (yet!). The USC Prevention Research Center is picking up steam! On May 14, 1999 we will host a celebration to release “Physical Activity in South Carolina,” a report on the status of physical activity in our state. This was a joint project developed by the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control and the USC Prevention Research Center. We hope you can join us in this historic event. April also marks the start of data collection activities for our physical activity community indicators project with our partner community of Sumter, SC. We will provide updates of our activities and what we have learned in future issues of the Prevention Center Notes. Best wishes for a happy and active spring season.

Barb Ainsworth, Director
Dennis Shepard, Deputy Director
Regina Fields, Newsletter Editor (RMFields@sc.edu)
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 to submit, please send it to Regina Fields at RMFields@sc.edu.
IN THIS ISSUE – April 1999

NEWS YOU CAN USE: TV – Turnoff Week, Helmets Make A Difference, Gym Mistakes, Get Out Spoke’n, Girl Power!

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON: E-mail is Not Getting the Point Across

RESEARCH NOTES: Light vs. Aerobic Exercise in Older Population, Youth Physical Activity

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: Physical Activity Institute, National Wellness Conference

WEBSITES OF INTEREST: Bicycle Federation of America, Health News and Information Directory, Go For Green

HELMETS MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Ninety-six percent of bicyclists that were killed in 1996 were not wearing a helmet at the time of their accident. Most of the deaths occurred due to head injuries. The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute offers the following advice on fitting a bicycle helmet: 1) Make sure you have the right size helmet for your head. Helmets come in many different shapes and sizes, and not all are compatible with every head shape. 2) Use the fitting pads that come with the helmet. The use of these pads adds protection and can also customize the shape of the helmet. 3) Take the time and adjust the straps for a proper fit. You want the chinstrap to be snug against your chin, with the V on the side straps coming together just below your ear. There should be no slack in the strap for the helmet to rock back and forth. If your helmet has a rear stabilizer, pay some attention to this adjustment as well. A helmet should be worn comfortably just like a seatbelt in a car, where sometimes you forget that it is on. If the helmet is uncomfortable, something needs to be adjusted. Currently there are 24 states with some form of helmet laws. For more information and statistics, go to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute’s web site at www.bhsi.org.

GYM MISTAKES: The American Council on Exercise (ACE) conducted a survey of over 3000 trainers, asking them what were the most common mistakes seen in the gym. The top 10 blunders in the gym according to the trainers:

1) Not stretching
2) Rushing into aerobic exercise
3) Not cooling down afterward
4) Working out too intensely
5) Lifting weights that are too heavy
6) Jerking the weights
7) Not exercising intensely enough
8) Leaning on the stair-stepper
9) Running dry (not getting enough water)
10) Downing sports drinks and energy bars (these products do no good if exercising less than 2 hours/day)

For more information, see the ACE news release, http://www.acefitness.org/media/media_display.aspx?itemid=195.

GET OUT SPOKE’N: Get Out Spoke’n is a program organized by Earth Force and middle school students around the country. Earth Force began in 1994 by the Pew Charitable Trusts. This group recognized two emerging national trends: young people's overwhelming desire to act on behalf of the environment and their desire to help their communities through voluntary service. Get Out Spoke’n was launched in the fall of 1998 and its goal is to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion to make it safer and easier to use bicycles as a means of transportation. For more information, go to www.earthforce.org.

GIRL POWER!: The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) developed the Girl Power! Campaign, a national public health education campaign, to encourage and empower girls ages 9-14 to make the most out of their lives. The national kickoff of the Girl Power! Mile was on March 27, 1999 in Dallas, Texas. The hope is that this one-mile run will inspire young girls to become more active, enjoy running, and build their self-esteem and self-confidence. For more information on the Girl Power! Campaign, call 1-800-729-6686 or visit www.health.org/gpoweron the web. For more information about the Girl Power! Mile, contact Kelly Wall at Avon Running, (212) 282-7104.

EMAIL IS NOT GETTING THE POINT ACROSS: The Center for the Advancement of Health no longer recommends e-mailing federal legislators, compared to other forms of communication. A survey of legislative staff conducted by OMB Watch suggested that they receive a large number of emails, and usually ignore them or definitely put them lower on the priority list. The survey indicated that personal letters are taken most seriously, followed by personal visits and phone calls. Faxes and e-mail ranked much lower.

LIGHT VS. AEROBIC EXERCISE IN OLDER POPULATION: A randomized clinical trial compared the effects of blood pressure of a 12-week moderate-intensity aerobic exercise program with the effects of a T’ai Chi program of light intensity. The subjects of the study were 62 sedentary older adults with stage one hypertension. Both the moderate-intensity exercise group and the T’ai Chi group exercised 4 days a week and each session lasted 30 minutes. The study found that moderate intensity aerobic exercise and light intensity exercise have similar effects on older sedentary individuals. Promoting light intensity activities to older adults could have substantial public health benefits in reducing blood pressure. See Deborah Rohm Young, “The effects of aerobic exercise and T’ai Chi on blood pressure in older people: results of a randomized trial.” Journal of the American Geriatric Society. 1999, 47(03):277-284.

YOUTH PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Theoretical models have been created to show influencing factors of physical activity, but only a very small number of these models have focused on youth physical activity. The goal of this paper was “to summarize the research on determinants and activity promotion in youth and advance a simple conceptual framework to facilitate the promotion of physical activity in this age group.” The overall goal of youth physical activity promotion is to increase the probability that youth will adopt a physically active lifestyle as they grow older. A model was created that closely reflects social-ecological models of behavior and provides a conceptual framework to understanding variables for youth physical activity. Predisposing factors, enabling factors, and reinforcing factors for adolescent physical activity were examined. See Welk, G.J. “The youth physical activity promotion model: a conceptual bridge between theory and practice.” Quest. 1999, 51: 5-23. 

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY INSTITUTE: The AIM 30 Physical Activity Institute is a major initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity. The goal is to get America in Motion for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five or more days of the week. Through the mechanism of an Institute, a two-day training is provided for states to help increase state capacity to promote physical activity. States have the opportunity to choose one of four Institutes, all similar in content and format. To date, two of the four ‘98-’99 Institutes have been held. The remaining two are scheduled from 4/28 - 4/30 in Chattanooga, TN, and 6/7 - 6/8 in Park City, UT. If you are interested in further information, contact Refilwe Moeti at 770-488-5519 or Nicole Kerr at 770-488-5577.

NATIONAL WELLNESS CONFERENCE: The 24th Annual National Wellness Conference presented by the National Wellness Institute, Inc. will take place from July 17 – 23, 1999. The conference will be held at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The conference will have over 200 presentations, over 40 hours of continuing education credit, and a free 500-page conference resource manual. The conference’s highlighted speakers are Dr. Martin Seligman, Dr. Albert Bandura, Vivian Ho, Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams, and Dr. Sunita Gandhi. Dr. Steven Blair of the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research will be presenting a keynote address on “Fitness Versus Fatness.” For registration information, call 1-800-243-8694, or (715) 342-2969, fax (715) 342-2979, or go online at <http://www.nationalwellness.org/nwi_Home/nwi.asp>.

BICYCLE FEDERATION OF AMERICA: This site is an information center for bicycle and pedestrian advocates, practitioners, public officials and interested citizens. It gives information about current community cycling projects and an update on bicycling news from around the country. The Bicycle Federation of America can be found at <www.bikefed.org>.

HEALTH NEWS AND INFORMATION DIRECTORY: The Directory has links to over 30 specific health categories such as fitness/exercise, diabetes, children’s health, and nutrition. These links lead you to current news and research on your topic of choice. The site can be found at <www.healthnewsdirectory.com>.

GO FOR GREEN: Go For Green is part of the Active Living & Environment Program in Canada which encourages outdoor physical activity that protects, enhances, or restores the environment. Its four objectives are to: 1) create healthy, safe, and accessible environments, 2) provide opportunities for Canadians to experience, value, and learn to protect the environment while being active outdoors, 3) find active transportation alternatives to counter our growing reliance on the automobile, and 4) build local, regional and national partnerships and alliances that help Canadians "Go for Green". The site can be found at <http://www.letsgogreencanada.ca/home.html>.

Thanks to Brian Nelson, graduate assistant in the USC Prevention Research Center, for assistance in writing this issue.


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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