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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

Happy Valentine’s Day – A goal for our monthly newsletters is to share information about physical activity from a public health perspective. A public health problem is one that affects the health, function, and well being of a large number of people. According to national data, nearly 60% of US adults do not get enough activity to prevent chronic diseases and disabilities and another 25% are sedentary. These data call for action that addresses community environments and policies to promote active lifestyles. What is happening in your community that promotes activity? What else could be happening? Share your ideas and activities with us and we will pass them on to others in future issues of the Prevention Research Center Notes. We hope you enjoy our newsletter this month.

Barb Ainsworth, Director
Dennis Shepard, Deputy Director
Regina Fields, Newsletter Editor ( RMFields@sc.edu )



NEWS YOU CAN USE: Winter Workouts – Dress for Success, Active Play


RESEARCH NOTES: Lifestyle Vs. Structured Interventions, Lifestyle Vs. Structured Activity in Obese Women, Daily PE and its Effects on Adult Physical Activity, Does Physical Activity Track into Adulthood? Physical Activity and Fitness, In-home Exercise for Disabled Older Adults

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: AAHPERD Convention, Health Education and Health Promotion, ACSM, International Trails and Greenways, Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research Conference Series

WEBSITES OF INTEREST: Fifty-Plus Fitness, Walkable Communities, Inc.




WINTER WORKOUTS -- DRESS FOR SUCCESS: There are 2 key strategies to working out in the cold: layer and protect your vulnerable parts. Layering should be done to insulate a pocket of warm air around the body, and each layer has a purpose. The inner layer should keep perspiration from getting you cold. The better choices are thermal underwear made from synthetic fibers or wool. Cotton is a poor choice. The middle layer’s purpose is to provide warmth without the bulk. Synthetic or wool sweaters, and fleece jackets are recommended middle layers. The outer layer should repel wind and precipitation while allowing perspiration and heat to escape. A nylon parka and pants are recommended. To avoid overheating, dress so that you are a little chilled when you first walk outside. The body’s extremities suffer the most from the cold because they are normally exposed, and the body naturally shuttles more heat inward to protect the vital organs. For the feet, invest in a pair of shoes with less ventilation and better traction. Also buy them a little big to make room for an extra pair of socks. To protect the hands, try wearing thin synthetic glove liners and put cotton gardening gloves over them. For the head and face, wear a cap. Over 40% of the body’s heat loss is through the scalp. When exercising in the cold, be aware of body sensations to avoid possible frostbite or hypothermia. If these are suspected, seek shelter immediately and warm the body up. (From the January 1999 edition of Consumer Reports on Health)

ACTIVE PLAY: Based on their recent research (published in the Melpomene Journal, Vol 17, No. 2, Summer, 1998), Melpomene Institute has developed a brochure describing the difference in how girls and boys play. Girls typically are less vigorously active than boys, play less structured games and are often unsure of the rules when wanting to join in the organized boys' games. The brochure provides tips for parents and adult supervisors to encourage active play. Up to 10 brochures "Playgrounds: Encouraging active play for girls and boys" are available to educators for FREE. Brochures are $1.50 each or 100 for $45. Call (651) 642-1951 or e-mail <melpomen@skypoint.org>. The research article can be downloaded from <www.melpomene.org>.


BUDGET TROUBLES AHEAD: President Clinton has stated he will request a $12 billion increase in military spending for FY 2000 and $110 billion over a six-year period. In meetings with House Budget Committee staff, public health groups were told a significant portion of the military spending increase will come at the expense of domestic discretionary programs including public health. Public health groups are bracing for a difficult budget cycle this year. (From the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists "Washington Report.")


LIFESTYLE VS. STRUCTURED INTERVENTIONS: Researchers studied 235 sedentary men and women for two years to compare the effects of a lifestyle physical activity program with traditional structured exercise on improving physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness and CVD risk factors. Both the lifestyle and structured activity groups had comparable and significant improvements in physical activity, in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Neither group significantly changed their weight but each group significantly reduced their percentage of body fat. See Dunn et al. "Comparison of Lifestyle and Structured Interventions to Increase Physical Activity and Cardiorespiratory Fitness." Journal of the American Medical Association, 1999; 281:327-334.

LIFESTYLE VS. STRUCTURED ACTIVITY IN OBESE WOMEN: In order to examine short and long term weight loss and cardiovascular disease risk factors, researchers conducted a sixteen-week trial with a one year follow-up. Forty obese women participated in either structured aerobic exercise or moderate lifestyle activity; all ate a low-fat, low-calorie diet. There was no significant difference between the groups in terms of weight loss. The lifestyle activity group lost less fat. After one year, the lifestyle group had regained less weight. See Anderson et al. "Effects of Lifestyle Activity vs. Structured Aerobic Exercise in Obese Women." Journal of the American Medical Association, 1999;281:335-340.

DAILY PE AND ITS EFFECTS ON ADULT PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: A study in Quebec, Canada investigated whether a daily primary school physical education program influenced physical activity levels, attitudes towards physical activity, and perceptions to barriers of physical activity later in life. The study had an experimental group of 147 men and women who had received five days per week of physical education classes during their six years of primary school and a control group of 720 that were sociodemographically matched to the experimental group. Women in the experimental group participated in more physical activity as compared with women in the control group, and men in the experimental group had a lower frequency of smoking when compared to the control group. No effect was seen between the experimental and control groups on intention to exercise, attitudes towards exercise, or perceiving opportunities to exercise. See Trudeau et al. "Daily primary school physical education: effects on physical activity during adult life." Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 31(1):111-117, 1999.

DOES PHYSICAL ACTIVITY TRACK INTO ADULTHOOD?: Researchers analyzed various components of physical activity during childhood and teenage years and compared them with exercise habits in adulthood. 105 men completed a questionnaire about their current exercise habits and their physical activity habits while growing up. The study found that men who enjoyed physical activity and had good athletic skill during childhood and teenage years were more likely to be active as adults. However, being forced to be physically active during childhood and the teenage years and being encouraged to exercise during the childhood years was related to less participation in physical activity as adults. See Taylor et al. "Childhood and adolescent physical activity patterns and adult physical activity." Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 31 (1): 118-123, 1999.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND FITNESS: A cross-sectional examination of physical activity patterns associated with low, moderate and high levels of cardiovascular fitness was conducted in 13,444 men and 3972 women age 20 to 87 years, who had at least one comprehensive examination at the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas, Texas. Average energy expenditures of 525 to 1650 kcal per week for men and 420 to 1260 per week for women were associated with moderate to high levels of fitness. These levels of energy expenditure can be achieved by taking a brisk walk of 30 minutes most days of the week. Stofan et al. "Physical Activity Patterns Associated with Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Reduced Mortality: the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study." American Journal of Public Health, December 1998; 88:1807-1813.

IN-HOME EXERCISE FOR DISABLED OLDER ADULTS: A randomized controlled trial of 215 older persons with disabilities found that a home-based resistance exercise program was successful in increasing strength and reducing disability. The Strong-fo-Life Program incorporated cognitive and behavioral strategies, which the researchers say led to 89 percent adherence over six months. See Jette et al. "Exercise – It’s Never Too Late: the Strong for Life Program." American Journal of Public Health, January 1999;89:66-72.


AAHPERD CONVENTION: The Annual American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance National Convention & Exposition will be held in Boston, Massachusetts on April 20 - 24, 1999. For registration information, see


Dr. Nancy W. Dickey, the first woman to be elected president of the prestigious American Medical Association will address members during the General Session. Dr. Dickey will discuss healthy life style choices. The theme for the convention is "Take the Challenge: Go the Distance."

HEALTH EDUCATION & HEALTH PROMOTION: The 17th National Conference on Health Education & Health Promotion will be held at the Hyatt Regency at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from June 2-5, 1999. The conference topic is "The Power of Leadership in Health Promotion: Policy, Populations, Partnerships and Politics." For registration information, abstracts, or exhibitor applications, go to <http://www.astdhpphe.org> on the web, email <conferenceplanner@astdhpphe.org>, or call (202) 289-6639.

ACSM CONFERENCE: The American College of Sports Medicine’s 46th Annual Meeting will take place on June 2-5, 1999 at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center in Seattle, Washington. The symposia will contain the latest information on many topics from the field, several "self-help" sessions will be offered for professional advancement, and Dr. Art Ulene, the former physician on the NBC Today Show will be speaking at the public information forum. Preregistration ends May 14, 1999. For more information go on-line at <www.acsm.org> or call (317) 637-9200.

INTERNATIONAL TRAILS AND GREENWAYS: The Rails to Trails organization is sponsoring the Second International Trails and Greenways Conference, in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Greenways Partnership. The conference will be held in Pittsburgh on June 23-26, 1999. With nearly 1000 participants expected, this conference will explore environmental, economic, and quality of life benefits given by trails, greenways, parks, and open space systems. The conference offers on-site and mobile workshops, plenary sessions, and informal networking opportunities. For registration information, go to <www.railtrails.org> on the web, email <rtcconf@transact.org>, or call (202) 974-5151.

COOPER INSTITUTE FOR AEROBICS RESEARCH CONFERENCE SERIES: The Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas, Texas is holding its third symposium in the research conference series on October 14-16, 1999. The symposia will be directed at issues related to reliability, validity, and methodological issues while measuring physical activity. Meeting room space is limited to 180 people and registration will be cut-off once 180 people are enrolled. Abstracts are due July 1, 1999. For more information, contact Melba Morrow at the Cooper Institute at <mmorrow@cooperinst.org>, or see the conference website, <http://www.cooperinst.org/sciconf.asp>.


FIFTY-PLUS FITNESS: The Fifty-plus Fitness organization has been in existence for 20 years and originated at Stanford University. The organization’s website gives information about aging and exercise. It also includes information about ongoing lectures and activity events like walks and cycling events. The website can be found at <www.50plus.org>.

WALKABLE COMMUNITIES, INC.: Walkable Communities, Inc. is a non-profit corporation, organized to help communities become more pedestrian friendly. Their website, at <www.walkable.org> describes their services, and contains photographs of walkable communities for downloading. Very helpful if you will be creating a presentation about these issues!


Dennis M. Shepard, M.A.T., C.H.E.S., has joined the Prevention Research Center as Deputy Director as of February 1, 1999. Mr. Shepard also holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Health Administration. Most recently the Director of the Division of Community Health at the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, Mr. Shepard has a 23-year background in public health management, health education and promotion and physical education. Mr. Shepard currently serves as the President-Elect of the South Carolina Public Health Association and is the immediate past President of the Delta Omega Public Health Society's MU Chapter.

The former Deputy Director, Fran Wheeler, Ph.D., has joined the staff of the Dean of the USC School of Public Health as Director of the Office of Public Health Practice. Dr. Wheeler will continue to be involved in Prevention Research Center activities on a limited basis. We wish Dr. Wheeler much success in her new position!

Patricia Sharpe, Ph.D., M.P.H., has joined the Prevention Research Center and the Department of Exercise Science as Research Associate Professor. Dr. Sharpe was previously on faculty with the Department of Health Promotion and Education at USC, and has been a consultant to hospitals, government, and non-profit organizations. Much of Dr. Sharpe’s work has focused on the evaluation of community interventions and health promotion with older adults. She was the principal investigator on one of the first Prevention Research Center demonstration projects, a pilot program to enhance mobility among rural, low-income African American older adults. The Prevention Research Center is pleased to have Dr. Sharpe lend her expertise to our efforts to promote physical activity.


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 submit, please send it to Regina Fields at RMFields@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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