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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

It’s a new year -- time to make resolutions to eat less, exercise more, lose the excess pounds that have been creeping up. In this issue we provide information about exercise machines, ways to get a workout without getting outside, and a review of studies that show regular activity is good for your health. Recently, I was asked to reflect about the key influences of the fitness industry in the 20th Century and what would be the trends would be for the 21st Century. It is a thought provoking question – hopefully in the future we will see communities begin to adopt policies and modify environments that are supportive of people being active in their neighborhoods, at school, and in everyday activities. Best wishes for a new beginning and for great things to happen in the 21st Century. 
Barbara Ainsworth, PhD, MPH, Director
Dennis Shepard, MAT, CHES, Deputy Director

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, newsletter editor, 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 for instructions on joining. http://prevention.sph.sc.edu

IN THIS ISSUE – December 1999/January 2000

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Exercise Machines, Cabin Fever, Year 2000 Health Observances


RESEARCH NOTES: PA, Diabetes, and Older Women; Community-based PA Intervention; PA and Gallstones, An End Point to the Stages?  

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES: Guide to Transportation Enhancements, Guide to Bicycle Advocacy 

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: Frontrunners II Conference: “Breaking Down the Barriers to Physical Activity,” AAPHERD Convention, 18th National Conference on Health Promotion and Public Health Education, APHA call for Abstracts 

WEBSITES OF INTEREST: Electronic Resources for Evaluators, Trails and Greenways Clearinghouse


Thinking about buying a home exercise machine to help out with that New Year’s Resolution? “Consumer Reports” found that among exercise machine owners, people who have motorized treadmills used them more often and were more satisfied. About two thirds of stationary bike or ski machine owners seldom or never used them. Of course, it’s not necessary to buy a machine to get a good workout at home. Many other options are available. (From “Consumer Reports on Health,” November 1999) 

CABIN FEVER: Getting bored with your regular workout? Got cabin fever in these winter months? Here’s an idea for a fun indoor or outdoor moderate activity: juggling! Juggling is a 4-MET activity, burning about 45 calories in 10 minutes for a 150-pound person. The Juggling Information Service (www.juggling.org ) provides a large amount of information about the activity, including instructions for beginners (the first topic in the “Juggling Help” section). The best suggestion – start with beanbags, not balls! 

YEAR 2000 HEALTH OBSERVANCES: The US Dept. of Health and Human Services’ National Health Information Center provides a complete list of National Health Observances at http://www.healthfinder.gov/library/nho/nho.asp. Some of the observances related to physical activity include American Heart Month (February), National Running and Fitness Week (May 14 – 20), Walk a Child to School Week (October 2 – 6), and National Diabetes Month (November). Nationally recognized observances are an excellent time for advocates to contact local media about physical activity.  

The National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity “State Times” newsletter reports that due to tight budget restrictions, no action will be taken on the Physical Education for Progress (PEP) Act this year, but it will continue to be considered as part of the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill. PEP was introduced in the Senate and referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on May 27, 1999. The bill, S. 1159, would provide grants and contracts to local educational agencies to initiate, expand, and improve physical education programs for all kindergarten through 12th grade students. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska is the sponsor, and other sponsors are sought. For information, see http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/template.cfm?template=pep.html.  

Beginning in 1986, researchers followed over 34,000 women over age 55 for 12 years, in the Iowa Women’s Health Study Cohort. Participants were asked about their health status, diet and physical activity as well as other health behaviors. Consistent with results of other studies of physical activity and diabetes, it was found that physical activity reduced the risk of diabetes in these older women. A greater frequency or intensity of activity led to a greater reduction in risk. See Folsom, et al. “Physical Activity and Incident Diabetes Mellitus in Postmenopausal Women.” American Journal of Public Health, January 2000, 90(1):134-138. 

COMMUNITY-BASED PA INTERVENTION: The physical activity interventions conducted as part of the Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Heart Health Program in 1982 - 1993 resulted in no observable changes in the prevalence of physical inactivity as compared with a comparison community. No differences were seen in self-reported knowledge of the benefits of physical activity or in the attempts to increase exercise, as well. The researchers note that only about 10 percent of the Pawtucket population participated in the intervention programs, and a large percentage of participants were younger women, so most of the population was not reached with the intervention programs. The authors suggest that future interventions should include a wider range of individuals, and should include environmental and policy approaches to increasing physical activity. See Eaton, et al. “Effects of a Community-Based Intervention on Physical Activity: The Pawtucket Heart Health Program.” American Journal of Public Health, November 1999, 89(11):1741-1744. 

PA AND GALLSTONES: Both vigorous and moderate physical activity significantly reduced the risk of having surgery for gallstones, among a cohort of women in the Nurses Health Study, even after taking into account body weight and other potentially related factors . Two to three hours of recreational physical activity per week reduced the risk by about 20 percent. See Leitzmann et al. “Recreational Physical Activity and the Risk of Cholecystectomy in Women.” New England Journal of Medicine, September 9, 1999, 341(11):777-784. 

AN END POINT TO THE STAGES?: Is behavior change ever “complete”? A researcher at Oregon State University proposed a sixth Stage of Change for physical activity, to correspond with the “Termination” stage found for addictive behaviors. The author proposes that the “Transformed” stage occurs when physical activity has been maintained for five or more years. Differences between stages were found when a survey was administered to members of the Michigan Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, supporting this premise. See BJ Cardinal, “Extended Stage Model of Physical Activity Behavior.” Journal of Human Movement Studies, 1999, 37:37-54.

This guidebook is published by the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse (NTEC) under contract of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Rails-to-Trails. This 32-page booklet features highlights of FHWA guidelines, project application tips, plus 21 case studies. For a free copy of the booklet or FHWA’s interim guidance, contact NTEC at 1-888-388-6832 or through the NTEC web site at: http://www.enhancements.org.

GUIDE TO BICYCLE ADVOCACY: The Bikes Belong Coalition and the Bicycle Federation of America have released a new “Guide to Bicycle Advocacy.” The handbook is a tool to making communities more bicycle-friendly, and includes information on how bicycle projects are funded, and tools for successful advocacy. Limited copies are available at no charge by e-mailing mail@bikesbelong.org, or calling 617-734-2800.

BREAKING DOWN THE BARRIERS TO PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Richmond City Dept. of Public Health will be sponsoring this conference on March 9-10, 2000 in Richmond, Virginia. This conference will explore environmental/policy barriers to being more active. A goal of the conference is that participants would be better equipped to identify and eliminate barriers in their community. For more information please contact Dr. Mike Welch in Richmond at (804) 646-3175. AAHPERD

CONVENTION: The annual National Convention and Exposition of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance will be held March 21 – 25, 2000 in Orlando, Florida. Sessions include Social Marketing, Cultural Influences on the Participation of Girls and Women in Sport and Physical Education, Advocacy, and dozens of hands on sessions for health, dance, recreation and physical educators. A complete list of sessions along with registration information is available at http://www.aahperd.org/convention/template.cfm?template=main.html. For a brochure, call 1-800-213-7193.  

HEALTH PROMOTION AND PUBLIC HEALTH EDUCATION: The 18th National Conference on Health Promotion and Public Health Education and the 2000 SOPHE Midyear Scientific Meeting with be held May 16-19, 2000 in Denver, Colorado at the Adams Mark Hotel. This year’s conference theme is “Health Promotion Excellence in the New Century: Ascending New Heights.” Sponsors include: the Dept. of Health and Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Association of State and Territorial Directors of Health Promotion and Public Health Education (ASTDHPPHE), and the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). Information is available at http://www.sophe.org or http://www.astdhpphe.org

AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION: The APHA is announcing a call for abstracts for its 128th annual meeting to be held November 12-16, 2000 in Boston, Massachusetts. This year’s theme is “Eliminating Health Disparities.” Abstracts are due February 1, 2000. Information regarding submissions is available via the APHA abstract web page at http://apha.confex.com/oasys.htm. For more information on the APHA, their web page address is: http://apha.org.

This web site has numerous links to evaluation related sites which include: Links to People & Organizations, Links to Online Journals and Resources, Links to Evaluation Tools & Data, Links to Training, Jobs & Funding, and other Favorites. The resources were compiled by Catherine Elwell, a doctoral candidate and staff member in Educational Research and Evaluation at Utah State University. http://www.usu.edu/ 

TRAILS AND GREENWAYS CLEARINGHOUSE: This web site, under the efforts of the Conservation Fund and Rails To Trails, is a “one stop source” for trail and greenway information and technical assistance. Resources that can be found at this web site include: fact sheets, studies or general information on advocacy, fund-raising, design, management and other issues, and online exchanges with other trail and greenway advocates. http://www.trailsandgreenways.org/ 


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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