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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

Greetings from the faculty, staff, and students in the USC Prevention Research Center. We are enjoying a beautiful springtime in South Carolina – the humidity is low, temperatures are pleasant and the Dogwood trees and Azaleas are in full bloom. Activities in the PRC are moving along well. Last week we welcomed Dr. Adrian Bauman from Sydney, Australia and Bill Wilkinson from the National Center for Bicycling and Walking in Washington DC, who were in town to speak at a conference presented by the South Carolina Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, “Promoting an Active South Carolina.” The theme for the conference was Building Physically Active Communities. We were delighted they could share their expertise about policy and environmental supports for physical activity with faculty, staff, and students in the PRC and School of Public Health. In turn, we look forward to sharing our knowledge and understanding about ways to promote active communities through our newsletter and in our web page content. Best wishes, 
Barb Ainsworth, Director

Dennis Shepard, Deputy Director
Regina Fields, Newsletter Editor (RMFields@sc.edu)
IN THIS ISSUE – March/April 2000

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Texas Trails

RESEARCH NOTES: Physical Activity and Women, PE and Academic Scores, Exercise Preferences


UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: Health Education/Health Promotion Conference, Social Marketing, Trails Symposium

WEBSITES OF INTEREST: The Trust for Public Land, Web-based Personal Trainer


TEXAS TRAILS: The next time you’re visiting Texas, check out the Texas Dept. of Health’s web-based Trail Registry to find places to walk or jog. The Department’s Community and Worksite Wellness Program set up the Registry in 1999 because Texas had no comprehensive list of public trails. The Program’s priority is for everyone in Texas to have access to a convenient place for active outdoor exercise. In addition to being a public resource, the Registry will also help the Program determine where there is a need for new trails. Find the registry at http://www.texastrails.org/. For more information, contact Elizabeth Graves at elizabeth.graves@tdh.state.tx.us.


PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND WOMEN: The U.S. Women’s Determinants Study conducted telephone surveys of women age 40 and older, including large samples of African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and Hispanic women. The survey included questions about leisure-time, vigorous, occupational, and housework physical activity. Researchers found that over 70% of the minority women reported being active enough to achieve health benefits when all types of physical activity were taken into account. Women in all groups reported substantial amounts of occupational and housework physical activity. Walking was the most common type of physical activity among all groups. There were large gaps between the groups in the amount of leisure-time physical activity reported. The authors state that research is needed to determine whether occupational or housework physical activity confers the same benefits as leisure-time physical activity. See Brownson, Eyler, King, Brown, Shyu & Sallis, “Patterns and Correlates of Physical Activity Among U.S. Women 40 Years and Older.” American Journal of Public Health, Feb. 2000, 90(2):264-270.

PE AND ACADEMIC SCORES: Spending more school time on physical education did not have harmful effects on standardized achievement test scores in elementary school children involved in the 2-year Project SPARK health-related physical education intervention. Some evidence indicated that the intervention actually had a favorable effect on test scores. See Sallis, McKenzie, Kolody, Lewis, Marshall & Rosengard, “Effects of Health-Related Physical Education on Academic Achievement.” Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 1999, 70(2):127-134.

EXERCISE PREFERENCES: Cross-sectional studies of middle-aged and older adults were conducted to determine the characteristics of those who preferred exercising in a group with an exercise leader and those who preferred exercising on their own with some instruction. It was found that almost 70% preferred exercising on their own. Preference varied among the subgroups divided by age, gender, and education level. Older individuals were more likely to prefer exercising on their own. Younger, less educated women had a stronger preference for class-based exercise. The authors suggest that more community programs for older adults should focus on activities outside of a class-based setting. See Wilcox, King, Brassington, & Ahn, “Physical Activity Preferences of Middle-Aged and Older Adults: A Community Analysis.” Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 1999, 7:386-399.


FIT KIDS BROCHURE: A brochure for parents about physical activity and diet for children is available from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). Information about the need for quality physical education is also included. A free copy is available by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to “The Fitness Equation,” NASPE, 1900 Association Drive, Reston VA, 20191. Multiple copies are available for a fee; call 1-800-321-0789, and ask for stock number 304-10231. 


HEALTH EDUCATION/HEALTH PROMOTION CONFERENCE: The 18th annual National Conference on Health Education and Health Promotion will be held on May 17-19, 2000 in Denver, Colorado. The theme is “Health Promotion Excellence in the New Century: Ascending New Heights.” Conference sponsors include the Association of State and Territorial Directors of Health Promotion and Public Health Education, the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion of the Centers for Disease Control, and the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). The conference is also SOPHE’s Midyear Scientific Conference. Sessions include “Policy and Environmental Strategies for Cardiovascular Health Programs” and “Eliminating Health Disparities: A Healthy People 2010 Priority.” Conference details and on-line registration can be found at www.sophe.org. For a conference brochure, call 601-576-7428.

SOCIAL MARKETING: The 6th Annual Innovations in Social Marketing Conference will be held in Washington, DC on June 11-13, 2000. The conference brings together the world’s leading social marketing experts to share ideas, theories, methods, and findings. Sessions relating to physical activity include “Using Social Science Theory and Consumer Research to Develop Social Marketing Strategies and Messages on Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Girls" and “Social Marketing Tools Used to Support the Development of a Community-Based Physical Activity Initiative.”

TRAILS SYMPOSIUM: Redding, California will be the host site for the 15th National Trails Symposium, being held September 21-24, 2000. “Trails and the American Spirit: 2000 and Beyond” is this year’s symposium theme, and the conference sponsor is American Trails. Among the many co-sponsors are the US Dept. of Transportation and the Rails to Trails Conservancy. Details are available at http://www.americantrails.org/INFO2000TrSymposium.html, or by calling 520-632-1140.


THE TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND: The Trust for Public Land is a national non-profit organization which works to conserve land to improve the health and quality of life of American communities. The Trust works with community groups and government agencies to create urban parks, build livable communities, and conserve land for watershed protection, among other things. On the Trust’s website, a photo gallery is available for downloading photos of trails, greenways, riverways, parks, and other facilities. An on-line toolbox covers topics such as the Economic Benefits of Open Space, Building Green Infrastructure, and Financing Local Parks. The Trust for Public Land’s website is www.tpl.org.

WEB-BASED PERSONAL TRAINER: For about $4.50 a week, Workouts for Women provides home-based workouts every week, with descriptions of the exercises and video-taped demonstrations. The workouts are tailored to varying fitness levels. Participants fill out an Accountability Log and receive feedback every eight weeks. The fitness programs are designed by a personal trainer who is certified as an American College of Sports Medicine Health and Fitness Instructor and as an American Council on Exercise Personal Trainer. A “Stretch Library” of descriptions and video on a variety of stretching exercises is on the website at no charge. An interesting use of the new technology! Find it at www.workoutsforwomen.com.

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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