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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

Greetings from the faculty and staff at the University of South Carolina's Prevention Research Center. I often have conversations with colleagues and friends about the urgent public health problems of sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy eating, and obesity. The conversations always focus on the changing lifestyles of youth ... less activity at school, unsafe neighborhoods, watching television and playing videogames instead of playing outside. As we close in on the last weeks of summer and head into a new school year, consider participating in some activities designed to promote activity among youth. In this issue of the newsletter, we provide information you can use to support the federal Physical Education for Progress (PEP) bill. PEP will provide funds for promoting physical education in schools. Contact your senators and congressmen for their support of the bill. Also, October 6th is "Walk Your Child to School Day". Remember the phrase, "Think globally, act locally." Why not organize this event in your community?

Best wishes for a continued active lifestyle.

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. If you have an item you’d like to submit, please send it to Regina Fields.

For continuing discussions about physical activity and public health, join the "Physical Activity and Public Health On-Line Network." Check out our website for instructions on joining.


IN THIS ISSUE – July 1999

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Lyme Disease Prevention

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON: Recess, Physical Education for Progress Act

RESEARCH NOTES: ON THE MOVE!, Exercise and Smoking Cessation, Use of Hospital Services

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES: PA and Disabilities Research Digest, Book on Promoting PA, TEA-21 Guide

WEBSITES OF INTEREST: Walk Our Children to School, Healthfinder, Aussies on the Move



LYME DISEASE PREVENTION: If you are engaging in outdoor physical activity this summer, take the following advice of the Lyme Disease Foundation, in order to prevent Lyme disease infection from tick bites: 1. Avoid short-cuts through heavily wooded areas. 2. Stay in the center of paths and avoid sitting on the ground. 3. Wear light-colored clothing, which allows you to more easily see ticks on your clothing and gives you the opportunity to remove them before they can attach to your skin. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants, and tuck your shirt into your pants and pants into your socks, if weather permits. 4. Use EPA-approved tick repellents. 5. Conduct frequent tick-checks. This includes a visual inspection of the clothing and exposed skin, followed by a naked, full-body examination in a private location. Check the scalp, behind and in the ears, and behind any joints. 6. Check your pets too! This is not only for your pets' safety but for your family's as well. Pets can bring ticks in from outside and put you and your family at risk for infection. For information about the symptoms of Lyme disease, visit the Foundation’s website at <www.lyme.org>.


RECESS: Here’s a reminder that the U.S. Congress goes home for summer recess soon. Recess dates are Aug. 7 – Sept. 7 for the Senate, and Aug. 9 – Sept. 7 for the House. Senators and Representatives often welcome invitations to visit programs funded by the federal government while they are at home.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION FOR PROGRESS (PEP) ACT: Sen. Ted Stevens of Arkansas introduced the PEP bill in May 1999. The bill proposes "…to provide grants and contracts to local educational agencies to initiate, expand, and improve physical education programs for all kindergarten through 12th grade students." The bill, S.1159, currently has ten sponsors, and has been referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. More sponsors are needed, particularly members of that committee, who are from 18 different states. To see if one of your senators is a committee member, visit <www.senate.gov>. For updates on the progress of the bill, visit <http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/template.cfm?template=pep.html >.


ON THE MOVE: The March/April 1999 supplement to the Journal of Health Education describes the results of projects funded by the California Dept. of Health Services’ ON THE MOVE! Program. The program was a competitive grant program for local communities to develop physical activity projects for ethnic minority populations. In the supplement, community-based projects for Hispanic/Latino, African American, Asian American/Pacific Islander, and Native Americans are detailed. Diverse projects elements included influencing policy, mobilizing coalitions, special events, educating service providers, and educational classes. Journal of Health Education, March/April 1999, 30(2).

EXERCISE AND SMOKING CESSATION: Vigorous exercise improved smoking cessation rates among previously sedentary women, in a study conducted by Bess Marcus and colleagues. Female smokers were randomized to either a smoking cessation program with 3 supervised exercise session per week, or the same smoking cessation program with 3 supervised health education lectures per week. The exercise subjects were more successful at quitting smoking and at maintaining abstinence from smoking at 12 months, and they also gained less weight. See Marcus et al. "The Efficacy of Exercise as an Aid for Smoking Cessation in Women." Archives of Internal Medicine, June 1999, 159; 1229-1234.

USE OF HOSPITAL SERVICES: In a 16-year prospective cohort study in Finland, Nina Haapanen-Niemi and colleagues found that sedentary men and women utilized more hospital services than those who were physically active, after adjusting for age, socioeconomic status, smoking, and total alcohol consumption. Sedentary men had 36% more hospital days than the most active men, and sedentary women had 23% more hospital days than active women. The researchers concluded that physical inactivity has "a substantial impact on the use of hospital services." See Haapanen-Niemi et al. "The Impact of Smoking, Alcohol Consumption, and Physical Activity on the Use of Hospital Services." American Journal of Public Health, May 1999, 89(5):691-698.


PA AND DISABILITIES RESEARCH DIGEST: "Physical Activity and Fitness for Persons with Disabilities" was the subject of the March 1999 Research Digest of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. The summary emphasizes the "paradigm shift" from the use of physical activity only for rehabilitation to one of active lifestyles for people with disabilities. Challenges to becoming physically active and the effects of disabilities on health-related fitness components are also included. The Research Digest is available on-line at <www.indiana.edu/~preschal>, or by calling the President’s Council at 202-690-9000.

BOOK ON PROMOTING PA: Human Kinetics has released a new book entitled, "Promoting Physical Activity: A Guide for Community Action." The book was written in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control. Including sections on individual behavior change and creating supportive environments, the book is targeted at state and local health department staff and anyone else who is interested in promoting physical activity in the community. The book can be ordered on-line at www.humankinetics.com, or by calling 1-800-747-4457.

TEA-21 GUIDE: The Federal Highway Administration and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy recently published a guide to developing Transportation Enhancements projects. The Citizens' Guide to Transportation Enhancements, explains federal requirements and highlights state practices through 21 case studies. To order a free Guide, contact the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse at 1-888-388-NTEC or <www.enhancements.org>. [From the Surface Transportation Policy Project newsletter "Transfer"]


WALK OUR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL: The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center is the host for the "National Walk Our Children to School Day" website, at <www.hsrc.unc.edu/publicaware/walk>. The site includes descriptions of the 1998 event and a form to sign up for this year’s event, to be held October 6, 1999.

HEALTHFINDER: New features and resources oriented to men’s health have been added to <www.healthfinder.gov>. Healthfinder is the U.S. federal government’s gateway website for health information. In the men’s health section, physical activity is listed as a "Hot Topic."

AUSSIES ON THE MOVE: The Heart Foundation of Australia has a project on "Supportive Environments for Physical Activity." The focus of the project is collaboration between government, non-profits, and communities, to create more opportunities for individuals to be physically active. Information is available at <http://www.heartfoundation.com.au/>.


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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