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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

Happy New Year! 1999 brings excitement as the last year of the millennium. As part of our Center’s Applied Research activities, we are compiling lists of indicators for communities supportive of physical activity. One indicator may be the number of city parks and green space for leisure and recreation. We hypothesize that people will be more active when they live in communities with supportive environments for physical activity. If you know of community indicators we can measure, please send them our way. We will be sure to keep you updated on our research findings. Best wishes for a great year from the USC Prevention Research Center Faculty and Staff!

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



NEWS YOU CAN USE: New Year’s Resolutions, Exercise and Aging, Workshop Grants, Looking Ahead

RESEARCH NOTES: Physical Activity and Behavioral Medicine, Physical Activity Interventions, Rural Vs. Urban

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, ETC.: National Arthritis Action Plan

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: Abstract Submission for APHA, Minority Health

WEBSITES OF INTEREST: Just Move, Social Marketing, Asthma Management Website




NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS: Want to make your New Year’s Resolution stick this time around? Dr. Michael Sachs at Temple University recommends that you get "SMART." In an article in Prevention Magazine, Dr. Sachs says that resolutions should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timebound. For example, if you’ve resolved to lose 20 pounds, break that down into intermediate, realistic goals of two pounds per month. If you’ve resolved to "get in shape," decide what that means to you: being able to run a mile? Being able to do a certain number of push-ups? And if you don’t follow through on your resolution immediately, don’t wait until next year to make a new one, Dr. Sachs says.

EXERCISE AND AGING: The National Institute on Aging has created "Exercise: A Guide from the National Institute on Aging." There is an online version of the guide and a 100-page illustrated booklet. The guide "provides healthy older people with scientifically accurate recommendations about exercise," and includes a forward by John Glenn. It addresses barriers to physical activity and makes suggestions for home-based activities. The on-line version includes animated demonstrations of exercises, and is found at http://preview.tinyurl.com/25no2o.

WORKSHOP GRANTS: Several National Institutes of Health sponsoring organizations are jointly inviting applications for educational project grants to develop and conduct short-term workshops in interdisciplinary research aimed at social, behavioral, and biomedical researchers. The purpose is to foster cross-disciplinary communication and research collaborations within the behavioral and social sciences and between them and the biomedical sciences. A letter of intent is due February 5, 1999, and the application is due March 12, 1999. Further information is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/oer.htm.


February is American Heart Month, sponsored by the American Heart Association, www.americanheart.org.

February 4 is National Girls and Women in Sports Day, sponsored by the Women’s Sports Foundation, http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/.


PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND BEHAVIORAL MEDICINE: James Sallis and Neville Owen have written a new book entitled, "Physical Activity and Behavioral Medicine," (http://www.sagepub.com/) . The three main sections of the book are "Physical Activity and Health," "Defining and Measuring Physical Activity," and Understanding and Influencing Physical Activity." Dr. Steve Blair writes in the Foreword that the book will be helpful to professionals "in enhancing their knowledge and skills about how to promote physical activity more effectively." According to the authors, the emphasis of the book is on the behavioral aspects of physical activity. The authors write, "Interest in a scientific approach to physical activity and health has never been higher, and we hope this book inspires students, scientists, and practitioners from many disciplines to join in the effort to improve health through the promotion of physical activity."

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY INTERVENTIONS: The theme of the November 1998 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine was "Physical Activity Interventions." Articles came out of work done before and after the 1997 Cooper Institute/American College of Sports Medicine conference on Physical Activity Interventions. Most articles review existing literature on the topic, discuss the issues, and make recommendations for research and practice. Articles include:

Integrating Theoretical Approaches to Promote Physical Activity (L. Epstein): "Behavioral choice theory is presented as an example of one theoretical approach that bridges different approaches to physical activity intervention, and that can stimulate both basic and applied research on physical activity."

Mediating Variable Framework in Physical Activity Interventions (T. Baranowski, C. Anderson, C. Carmack): "To increase the effectiveness of physical activity interventions, more physical activity research should focus on a better understanding on the predictors of physical activity and toward interventions demonstrated to effect change in these predictors of physical activity."

Effects of Physical Activity Interventions in Youth (E. Stone, T. McKenzie, G. Welk, M. Booth): "This paper reviews studies of physical activity in school and community settings among preschool through college-aged persons to determine characteristics and effects of interventions."

Physical Activity Interventions Targeting Older Adults (A. King, J. Rejeski, D. Buchner): "The present review underscores a number of gaps in the current physical activity intervention literature for this important population segment that are in critical need of further attention and systematic investigation."

Physical Activity Interventions in Low-Income, Ethnic Minority, and Populations with Disability (W. Taylor, T. Baranowski, D. Rohm Young): "Much work remains to develop effective interventions for these populations. Research that involves the community at all steps in the design and implementation of the intervention shows greatest promise for promoting behavior change."

Worksite Physical Activity Interventions (R. Dishman, B. Oldenburg, H. O’Neal, R. Shephard): "Our results indicate that the typical worksite intervention has yet to demonstrate a statistically significant increase in physical activity or fitness….The generally poor scientific quality of the literature on this topic precludes the judgment that interventions at worksites cannot increase physical activity…."

Physical Activity Interventions Using Mass Media, Print Media, and Information Technology (B. Marcus, N. Owen, L. Forsyth, N. Cavill, F. Fridinger): "….mass media campaigns had very little impact on physical activity behavior….Studies in which there were more contacts and interventions tailored to the target audience were most effective."

Environmental and Policy Interventions to Promote Physical Activity (J. Sallis, A. Bauman, M. Pratt): "Cross-sectional data indicate that environmental and policy variables are associated with physical activity behaviors of young people and adults….Lack of conceptual models and the inherent difficulties of evaluation have hampered research on environmental and policy interventions."

Lifestyle Physical Activity Interventions (A. Dunn, R. Andersen, J. Jakicic): "Lifestyle physical activity interventions are effective at increasing and maintaining levels of physical activity…in previously sedentary adults and obese children."

Effects of Interventions in Health Care Settings on Physical Activity or Cardiorespiratory

Fitness (D. Simons-Morton, K. Calfas, B. Oldenburg, N. Burton): "Interventions in health care settings can increase physical activity….Long-term effects are more likely with continuing intervention and multiple intervention components such as supervised exercise, provision of equipment, and behavioral approaches."

See the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 1998, 15(4).

RURAL VS. URBAN: Physical inactivity was found to be more prevalent in rural areas than in urban areas, in an analysis of the 1996 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) conducted the CDC. This pattern was more pronounced in the South than in other parts of the U.S. The fact that residents of rural areas in this study were older, less educated, and poorer than residents of urban areas only partly explains the difference. After adjusting for these factors, the difference in physical inactivity levels remained. One limitation to the study is that the BRFSS survey does not ask about physical activity at work, which may vary from rural to urban areas. The editors note, "Recognizing regional and urban-rural differences is an important first step toward developing and tailoring interventions to increase physical activity in specific settings." See Self-Reported Physical Inactivity by Degree of Urbanization – United States, 1996. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, December 25, 1998/47(50);1097-1100.


NATIONAL ARTHRITIS ACTION PLAN: The Arthritis Foundation, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion have released the "National Arthritis Action Plan: A Public Health Strategy." The plan is intended to address the public health challenge of arthritis, which is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Strategies regarding the promotion of physical activity are included. Copies are available by contacting the Arthritis Foundation, at 404-872-7100 or at www.arthritis.org.


ABSTRACT SUBMISSION FOR APHA: February 3, 1999 is the deadline for abstracts for the 127th Annual convention of the American Public Health Association. The APHA meeting will be November 7 through 11, 1999 in Chicago, Illinois. Abstracts can be submitted via the APHA website, at http://www.apha.org/meetings/future_past.htm. You do not have to be a member of APHA to submit an abstract; however, if your abstract is accepted for presentation you must become a member of APHA in order to present at the meeting. There were few conference sessions on physical activity at the 1998 APHA meeting – it would be good to see more since this is such an important public health issue.

MINORITY HEALTH: The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Public Health is hosting the Summer Public Health Research videoconference on Minority Health June 14 through 18, 1999. The videoconference "will emphasize issues and solutions related to collecting and analyzing data for racial and ethnic populations, studying the relationship between race and socioeconomic status, identifying and reducing barriers to conducting research in minority communities, and devising surveys to study minority populations and subpopulations." For more information about participating visit the Minority Health Institute’s website at http://www.sph.unc.edu/diversity/about/mhp.htm.


JUSTMOVE: The American Heart Association has a new physical activity website, sponsored by the Bayer Corporation, at www.justmove.org. The consumer-oriented site includes the text from several AHA and NHLBI publications, and includes health fitness forums with such topics as "How to Stay Motivated." Eventually, an online exercise diary will be available, which will include feedback reports and e-mails from "your own personal trainer."

SOCIAL MARKETING: Health Canada, the national health department of Canada, has created a Social Marketing Network. One of the resources available at the Network’s website is an annotated bibliography, which contains information on physical activity and social marketing. An on-line tutorial on social marketing is also included. The information is found at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/activit/marketsoc/socmar-hcsc/experience_e.html.

ASTHMA MANAGEMENT WEBSITE: The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s National Asthma Education and Prevention Program has created the "Asthma Management Model System," primarily for health care professionals to learn the latest diagnostic and treatment methods. The site also contains consumer education materials, including one on "Asthma and Physical Activity in the School." Find it at www.nhlbisupport.com/asthma/.


NEW STAFF: The Prevention Research Center welcomes a new staff member, Linda Neff, as our new Physical Activity Epidemiologist. Linda earned a Master of Science in Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of South Carolina, and is completing a Doctorate in Epidemiology at USC. Her past work includes a preliminary study on intergenerational patterns of physical activity, and her interests are in examining the determinants of physical activity and in physical activity assessment methodology.


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 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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