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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

Greetings from South Carolina. Year 2000 is off to a busy start with a week of winter snow and ice (most unusual in the South) and political debates. Next week we will see Olympic hopefuls run through the streets of Columbia as they compete for a position on the 2000 US Olympic Marathon Women’s Team. We are pleased to welcome Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke to our Center as a post-doctoral research associate. She comes to us from the University of Western Ontario in Canada and will be working on collaborative projects to evaluate children’s physical activity and physical activity intervention projects. Our activities in the Prevention Research Center are going full steam ahead as well. As one of 23 Centers funded by a five-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, our mission to conduct applied community research and to translate research to public health practice. If you would like to learn more about what we are doing in the areas of Community Intervention Research, Training, Dissemination, and Applied Physical Activity Research, link up to our web page at the address below. We hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter.

Barb Ainsworth, Director
Dennis Shepard, Deputy Director
Regina Fields, Newsletter Editor
IN THIS ISSUE – February 2000

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Employee Health and Fitness, Millennium Trails


RESEARCH NOTES: Exercise Program for Homebound Seniors, Keeping the Weight Off, Parent-Child Relationship of Physical Activity and Obesity, Single Vs. Multiple Bouts of Walking



WEBSITES OF INTEREST: Sustainable Communities, Personal Health and Fitness


EMPLOYEE HEALTH AND FITNESS: Mark your calendars now for National Employee Health and Fitness Day (NEHF) 2000, to be held on Wednesday, May 17th, 2000. In its 12th consecutive year, this national health observance promoting worksite health and fitness annually attracts thousands of companies in the US. For more information, contact the National Association of Governor’s Councils on Physical Fitness and Sports, the official founder and administrator of NEHF, by calling 317-237-5630, or visit their website at www.physicalfitness.org. (Submitted by Mike Niederpruem, Nat’l Assn. Of Governor’s Councils on Physical Fitness and Sports)

MILLENNIUM TRAILS: Don't miss this one-time only chance to have your trail designated as a Community Millennium Trail. An initiative of the White House and Department of Transportation, Millennium Trails recognizes, promotes, and stimulates the development of trails and greenways. By registering a National Trails Day (June 3, 2000) event, an organization’s trail will automatically be submitted to receive designation as one of the 2000 Community Millennium Trails. For more information on Millennium Trails or National Trails Day, visit www.americanhiking.org/. (From the American Hiking Society)


FY 2001 BUDGET REQUEST: The Clinton Administration recently submitted its Fiscal Year 2001 budget to Congress. While the budget requests increased funding overall for the Centers for Disease Control, several key programs are at decreased funding levels. The Prevention Research Centers program would see a $3 million decrease, while the Diabetes program would see a $2 million decrease. On the bright side, funds for the Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities program would receive an almost $5 million increase. Funding for Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance and the Preventive Health Block Grants (which help fund many state health department chronic disease prevention programs) is almost level from the Fiscal Year 2000 appropriation. Cardiovascular Disease also receives no increase in this request. Congress will take up the FY 2001 budget in the coming weeks. 


EXERCISE PROGRAM FOR HOMEBOUND SENIORS: The Centre for Activity and Ageing in Ontario, Canada, developed the Home Support Exercise Program to promote a series of simple exercises to homebound older adults through home health agency workers (home support workers: “HSW’s”). In order to determine program feasibility and acceptability in both the HSW’s and in the target population, a formative evaluation was conducted. Researchers found that with minimal training, HSW’s can introduce and reinforce simple exercises to their clients. They found, however, that adherence to the exercise regimen needed further attention. See Tudor-Locke et al., “Development and Formative Evaluation of the Center for Activity and Ageing’s Home Support Exercise Program for Frail Older Adults.” Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, January 2000, 8(1):59-75.

KEEPING THE WEIGHT OFF: Researchers surveyed a representative sample of adults in the U.S. to determine the prevalence of weight loss maintenance. Weight loss maintainers were identified as those who had maintained weight loss of >10% from their maximal weight for at least 1 year. Weight loss in this sample was quite high, with the prevalence of reported weight loss at some point in their lives at 54% in the total sample and 62% in those who were ever overweight. Among those who reported weight loss, one half to two thirds of them reported that it was intentional. For those individuals who reported intentional weight loss, the prevalence of maintainers of weight loss for the previous 1 year was approximately 50% with 25% maintaining it for 5 years or more. The authors suggest that these results provide evidence that successful maintenance of weight loss is substantially better than previously thought, and that overweight individuals should be encouraged by these findings as they consider losing weight. See McGuire et al. “The prevalence of weight loss maintenance among American adults.” International Journal of Obesity, December 1999, 23:1314-1319.

PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND OBESITY: This cross-sectional survey of normal weight and obese children and their parents showed that parental inactivity was a strong predictor of child inactivity, with parent activity scores also predicting child vigorous activity hours and total physical activity levels. Obesity results revealed that child obesity was negatively associated with child physical activity levels and that parental obesity was another strong predictor of childhood obesity. A novel finding was that the relationship between parent-child physical inactivity was stronger than that for vigorous activity. These findings underscore the important influence that parents’ roles play in childhood obesity and physical activity patterns with implications suggesting that parents may need to pay more attention to their own lifestyles to reduce their children’s inactivity. See Fogelholm et al. “Parent-child relationship of physical activity patterns and obesity.” International Journal of Obesity, December 1999, 23(12):1262-1268. 

SINGLE VS. MULTIPLE BOUTS OF WALKING: In this study, sedentary but otherwise healthy participants aged 40-66 were randomly assigned to one of the following groups: Control (no intervention), Long Walking (20-40 min session), Intermediate Walkers (10-15 min sessions) and Short Walkers (5-10 min sessions). Each group completed the same amount of daily moderate walking with Intermediate and Short Walkers completing multiple sessions per day. Each of the groups had similar improvements in their fitness as measured by decreased blood lactate levels and heart rate during a graded treadmill walking test. However, only Long Walkers and Intermediate Walkers showed significant decreases in blood lipid profiles, with the Long Walkers showing the most benefit. The authors suggest that accumulated bouts of moderate intensity exercise may not be as effective as traditionally prescribed 20-40 min bouts. See Woolf-May et al. “The efficacy of accumulated short bouts versus single daily bouts of brisk walking in improving aerobic fitness and blood lipid profiles.” Health Education Research, December 1999, 14(6):803-815.


SHAPE UP AND DROP 10™: Shape Up America! has released a new program to help overweight or obese adults lose weight in a healthy manner that produces lasting results. The “Shape Up and Drop 10” program is a 24-hour weight management system that allows each individual to set his or her own weight-management goals based on lifestyle, food and physical activity preferences. The moderately-priced pay-as-you-go program is accessed through Shape Up America’s website, and was developed in response to guidelines developed by the Partnership for Healthy Weight Management. For more information, visit their website at www.shapeup.org, or e-mail barbara.moore@worldnet.att.net


HEALTH BEHAVIOR: The American Academy of Health Behavior will hold its inaugural scientific meeting on September 24 – 27, 2000 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dr. Larry Green will be the keynote speaker, presenting “Generalizing ‘Best Practices’ from the Idiosyncrasies of the Research.” Other presentations include “Public Health Strategies for Obesity Treatment and Prevention” and several presentations on research methods including “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System: National Data, Methodological Issues and Program Applications.” For more information, visit the Academy’s website at http://www.aahb.org/, or call 304-293-4699.

SPARK” SUMMER INSTITUTES: SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids) is an elementary (K-6) physical education curriculum and staff development program validated by the Program Effectiveness Panel of the US Dept. of Education. The SPARK program evolved from a research study supported by NIH, and the program currently offers materials and services to schools, recreation departments, after school programs, and other organizations on a non-profit basis, through San Diego State University Foundation. The Foundation is offering two SPARK Summer Institutes for physical educators, classroom teachers, recreation specialists and other physical activity providers this year: July 10 – 14 in San Diego, and August 7 – 11 in West Virginia. Participants are eligible to enroll for 3 units of college credit. To request a registration form or more information, call 1-800-SPARK-PE or e-mail jfrank@sparkpe.org. More information on SPARK is available at http://www.sparkpe.org/.


SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES: The Sustainable Communities Network addresses a broad range of issues, including: Living Sustainably, Creating Community, Growing a Sustainable Economy, Protecting Natural Resources, Promoting Health, Smart Growth, and How to Govern a Community. The Network’s web site, www.sustainable.org, was developed to increase the visibility of what has worked for communities, and to promote a lively exchange of information to help create community sustainability in both urban and rural areas. The site includes program case studies, documents for download, descriptions of projects and tools for working with communities. 

PERSONAL HEALTH AND FITNESS: One of the most complete personal health and fitness websites can be found at www.efit.com. This for-profit site offers extensive information on a variety of fitness, nutrition and health topics. Also included are a body mass index calculator and an Activity/Calorie Calculator, where this author was pleased to discover that she had expended 251.7 calories raking the lawn last weekend. Not all the elements of the site work, however – the member sign-up process seems to be under construction. Worth checking out anyway, just for fun! 

Writers: Regina Fields, Ralph Welsh, and Darlene Butler

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 at rmfields@sc.edu.

For continuing discussions about physical activity and public health, join the “Physical Activity and Public Health On-Line Network.” Check out our website, http://prevention.sph.sc.edu,  for instructions on joining. 


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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