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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

 As the air outside gets a little brisk and we begin looking ahead to the holiday season, many of us are attending conferences where physical activity will be discussed.  The APHA annual meeting and the National Chronic Disease Prevention and Control conference are just two.  It’s important to take advantages to network with colleagues who are interested in researching and promoting physical activity from a community perspective, in order to share successes and challenges.  If you are not able to attend such conferences, consider taking advantage of the on-line networking opportunity of our listserv, the “Physical Activity and Health On-line Network.”  For instructions on how to sign on, check out our website at http://prevention.sph.sc.edu.  Best wishes for a productive Fall!

 Barb Ainsworth, Director

Dennis Shepard, Deputy Director


This and past issues of the “USC Prevention Research Center Notes” are available on our website, http://prevention.sph.sc.edu.  If you have an item you’d like to submit, please send it to Regina Fields, newsletter editor, at RMFields@sc.edu.


IN THIS ISSUE –  October/November 1999

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Volunteer Vacations

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON:  Recreation Facility Access Rules

RESEARCH NOTES:  School-based CVH Programs, CATCH Follow-up, Is the Jury Still Out on Women and Physical Activity Benefits?

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES: APHA Advocates’ Handbook, Program Evaluation Framework, U.S. Olympic Committee Educational Resources, Research Funding Sources, Healthy People 2010 Toolkit

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS:  Chronic Disease Conference, Healthy People 2010 Launch, Social Marketing Call for Abstracts, Health Education Call for Abstracts

 WEBSITES OF INTEREST: Sierra Club, Bikes Belong Coalition

 USC PREVENTION RESEARCH CENTER UPDATE: PA & Public Health Courses, New Projects



VOLUNTEER VACATIONS:  The American Hiking Society arranges “Volunteer Vacations,” which are one or two week vacations spent hiking, camping and “working on trails in America’s most beautiful wild places.”  Trips run from January through November, and include easy to extremely strenuous levels of difficulty.  To see the trips scheduled for 2000 or to register, visit www.americanhiking.org, or call (301) 565-6704.


RECREATION FACILITY ACCESS RULES:  The U.S. Access Board, also known as theArchitectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, is the independent federal agency whose primary mission is accessibility for people with disabilities.  The agency has developed federal rules for newly constructed or altered outdoor recreation areas, including trails, to ensure they are accessible to the disabled.  The comment period on the rules ends December 8, 1999.  For information on how to comment, go to www.access-board.gov and scroll down to the section on “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Recreation Facilities,” or call the Board at 1-800-872-2253.


 SCHOOL-BASED CVH PROGRAMS:  To determine the best way to deliver school-based cardiovascular health interventions for children, researchers studied third- and fourth-graders in eighteen schools in North Carolina.  Six schools used the American Heart Association’s school-site program kits twice a week for eight weeks, in the regular classroom setting.  In six other schools, children with cardiovascular disease risk factors attended special nutrition, physical activity, and/or “don’t start smoking” classes based on their risk factors.  The classes were held over 8 weeks.  Both interventions used education as well as regular supervised physical activity.  Six schools received no intervention.  Post-test data were collected within two weeks after the interventions.  Researchers determined that the classroom-based approach yielded a greater benefit overall.  See Harrell, et al. “A Public Health vs a Risk-Based Intervention to Improve Cardiovascular Health in Elementary Children: The Cardiovascular Health in Children Study.”  American Journal of Public Health, Oct. 1999, 89(10):1529-1535.

CATCH FOLLOW-UP:  The Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health (CATCH) was conducted from 1991-1994 in nearly 100 schools in four U.S. states.  Students who received the CATCH elementary school lessons on nutrition and physical activity showed higher levels of vigorous physical activity and lower levels of fat in their diets.  Researchers followed up with the participants from 1995-1998, and found that while for the most part students maintained these behaviors, the intervention’s effects had begun to fade.  The authors recommend that school interventions should be continued throughout the school years.  See Nader, et al. “Three-Year Maintenance of Improved Diet and Physical Activity: The CATCH Cohort.”  Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, July 1999, 153(7):695-704.

IS THE JURY STILL OUT ON WOMEN AND PA BENEFITS?:  Two articles released in August 1999 seemed to show conflicting results about physical activity and cardiovascular disease in women.  One study (Manson et al.) found that women who walked three or more hours per week at a brisk pace and women who participated in regular vigorous exercise showed a 30 to 40 percent reduction in their risk for heart attacks or death from coronary heart disease.  Across the board, the more women participated in physical activity, the lower their risk.  However, another study (Sesso et al.) found no association between physical activity and CVD risk in women, but did find that women who walked more than 10 blocks a day (about 6 miles a week) showed a 33% decreased risk.  The authors did note that “it may be that walking was reported more precisely than other kinds of activities,” indicating that there may have been problems measuring physical activity. 

See Manson, et al. “A Prospective Study of Walking as Compared with Vigorous Exercise in the Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease in Women.”  New England Journal of Medicine, August 26, 1999, 341(9):650-658, and Sesso et al. “Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Middle-aged and Older Women.” American Journal of Epidemiology, August 1999, 150(4):408-416. 

    If you would like to comment on this issue, consider participating in the “Physical Activity and Public Health On-line Network” listserv.  Directions for signing on and posting messages are available at the USC Prevention Research Center’s website, http://prevention.sph.sc.edu.


APHA ADVOCATES HANDBOOK: The American Public Health Association has recently published the “APHA Advocates’ Handbook: A Guide for Effective Public Health Advocacy,” which is designed to assist public health professionals in individual and coalition advocacy efforts. It is a guide for influencing the legislative and regulatory processes; advocating public health at the national, state, and community levels; working with new partners in coalition; and utilizing the media. Ordering information can be found at http://www.apha.org or by calling (301) 893-1894.

PROGRAM EVALUATION FRAMEWORK:  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released the “Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health.”  The framework was developed as a “synthesis of existing evaluation practices and a standard for further improvement.  It supports a practical approach to evaluation that is based on steps and standards applicable in public health settings.”  A copy is available online at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr4811a1.htm, or through the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402-9371; (202) 512-1800.

 U.S. OLYMPIC COMMITTEE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES: The US Olympic Committee (USOC) and the US Conference of Mayors (USCM) have created “The Mayors’ OlympiKids for Fitness,” a PA promotion program for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders, teachers, and Mayors across the country. The program combines academic and physical activity issues to promote year round physical activity and enhanced skills in social studies, math, health sciences, etc. Instructor manuals and student workbooks which incorporate goal setting activities, training tips and academic quiz questions can be obtained at a minimal cost or downloaded for free at http://www.usmayors.org/uscm/us_mayor_newspaper/ documents/06_28_99/olympikids_other.htm , or contact Velinda Baker, Director, Education at (719) 578-4892 or velinda.baker@usoc.org.

RESEARCH FUNDING SOURCES:  The Center for the Advancement of Health has compiled a web-based list of research funding sources in the health-related behavioral and social sciences.  The list can be obtained at www.cfah.org.

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2010 TOOLKIT:  Developed by the Public Health Foundation, the recently released “Healthy People 2010 Toolkit: A Field Guide to Health Planning” provides guidance, technical tools, and resources to develop and promote successful state-specific Healthy People 2010 plans. It can also serve as a resource for communities and other entities embarking on similar health planning endeavors. The kit is available at http://www.health.gov/healthypeople/state/toolkit. To order printed copies for $39 (item RM-005), contact the Public Health Foundation toll-free at (877) 252-1200 or visit the online bookstore at http://bookstore.phf.org.  The kit was developed under contract with the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office of Public Health and Science, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.



CHRONIC DISEASE CONFERENCE:  The 14th National Conference on Chronic Disease Prevention and Control (Prevention Successes 2000: Better Health for All) will be held in Dallas, Texas on November 30 – December 2, 1999. This conference is being sponsored by the CDC, AHA, DHHS, and ASTCDPD and will be hosted by the Texas Dept. of Health. Highlights include “The nuts and bolts of building new chronic disease prevention programs” and “Partnering with African American churches in planning chronic disease programs.” Speakers include Walking Magazine Editor-at-large Mark Fenton, who will speak about walkable communities, and David Buchner, MD,MPH, who will discuss PA and health promotion for older adults. Early registration ends on October 29.  The conference brochure is available at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/conference/archive/, or by calling 703-538-1798.

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2010 LAUNCH:  The Healthy People Consortium, Partnerships for Networked Consumer Health Information, and the US Department of Health and Human Services will hold “Partnerships for Health in the New Millennium: Launching Healthy People 2010” on January 24-28, 2000 in Washington, D.C.  This conference will celebrate the launch of the Nation's prevention agenda, Healthy People 2010, and is being billed as “the first national health promotion conference of the new century.”  According to conference materials, the program will focus on four themes: Partnering for Health Improvements, Eliminating Health Disparities, Increasing Quality and Years of Healthy Life, and Harnessing Technology for Health.  For more on the conference, check out http://www.health.gov/partnerships/, or call (703) 925-9455.

SOCIAL MARKETING CALL FOR ABSTRACTS:  December 1, 1999 is the deadline for abstracts for the Social Marketing in Public Health 10th Annual Conference.  The conference is sponsored by the University of South Florida College of Public Health, and will be held June 21-24, 2000 in Clearwater Beach, Florida.  Abstracts must focus on how the principles of social marketing were applied to a program, project, or research study.  For a copy of the abstract submission guidelines, contact Barbara Nappy at bnappy@hsc.usf.edu, or call (813) 974-6695.

HEALTH EDUCATION CALL FOR ABSTRACTS:  December 1, 1999 is also the deadline for abstracts for the 18th National Conference on health Education and Health Promotion and the Society for Public Health Education Mid-year Scientific Conference, which will be held in Denver, Colorado, May 16-19, 2000.  The theme of the conference, “Health Promotion Excellence in the New Century: Ascending New Heights,” includes four topic areas: Health Promotion Policy Advocacy, Workforce Training, Technology, and Healthy People 2010 and Beyond.  The Call for Abstracts is available at the website of the Association of State and Territorial Directors of Health Promotion and Public Health Education, www.astdhpphe.org, or by contacting Barbara Hager at (501) 661-2495 or bhager@mail.doh.state.ar.us.


SIERRA CLUB:  The Sierra Club web site includes a page on “Transportation Induced Travel” which includes several links to sites providing information on highway capacity and induced traffic. http://www.sierraclub.org/transportation/transportation/indulnks.html

BIKES BELONG COALITION: Members of the American Bicycle Industry sponsor the Bikes Belong Coalition. Their goal is putting more people on bikes more often through the implementation of TEA-21. They seek to assist local organizations, agencies, and citizens in developing bicycle facilities projects that will be funded by TEA-21, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. http://www.bikesbelong.org



PA & PUBLIC HEALTH COURSES:  The 1999 version of Physical Activity and Public Health is history, but faculty and staff of the Prevention Research Center are making plans for the Year 2000.  The Practitioner’s Course on Community Interventions and the Postgraduate Course on Research Directions and Strategies were held in September at the Sea Pines Conference Resort on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  There were 26 participants in the practitioner’s course and 24 in the research course.  Participants came from the public and private sectors, national, state and local levels; they came from all over the U.S., as well as foreign countries, including Canada, Chile, Switzerland, Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, and Northern Ireland. There were 31 faculty involved in the course - the roster looked like an international "Who's Who" in physical activity research and practice...Ainsworth, Bauman, Blair, Brownson, Buchner, Dietz, Dunn, Fenton, Haskell, King, Kriska, Lee, Marcus, Pate, Sallis, Wheeler and Wilkinson.  We expect most of the faculty to return for another year, so check the PRC web site in the coming months for information about next year's courses.

NEW PROJECTS:  The USC PRC has been awarded five Special Interest Project (SIP) grants from the CDC.  SIPs are only available to CDC-funded Prevention Research Centers.  Three of the new SIP projects are the Women=s Cardiovascular Health Network, the Development of a Community-based Evaluation Support Network, and the Prevention Centers Tobacco Network.

A fourth project, led by Dr. Barbara Ainsworth, is the “BRFSS Module to Assess Community Indicators that Promote Physical Activity.”  This project will develop, administer, and evaluate a Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) module to assess community indicators as mediators of physical activity (PA) behavior and monitor trends in community supports for PA over time.  The module will be validated using a Geographic Information System (GIS) database of environmental landscape features supporting PA and compared with responses from the BRFSS modules about individual PA behavior. 

The fifth project, led by Dr. Deborah Parra-Medina, is the “Heart Healthy and Ethnically Relevant Tools Project.”  This project will establish and implement a system for redesigning effective dietary and physical activity counseling tools to be culturally relevant to financially disadvantaged African American women in urban and rural South Carolina. 

We will keep you updated on these and other projects in future issues of the newsletter.


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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