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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

Greetings from the faculty and staff of the USC Prevention Research Center. Our research, training, and practice activities are moving forward. In September, the Physical Activity and Public Health Training Courses were held in Park City, Utah with about 20 research and 25 practice professionals spending a week immersed in methods to advance our understanding of physical activity promotion and research activities. We welcome these new fellows to our newsletter family. Check our website if you are interested in information about new developments in physical activity and public health. Also, consider signing up for the Physical Activity and Public Health Network listserv...a lot of conversation and questions have been posted recently about ways to promote and evaluate physical activity programs. Instructions for signing on are at http://prevention.sph.sc.edu.

In this issue we are focusing on promoting activity among youth and school settings. We hope you enjoy our newsletter.

Barb Ainsworth, Director
Dennis Shepard, Deputy Director
Regina Fields, Newsletter Editor (


IN THIS ISSUE – September/October 2000


WHAT’S HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON: New School Health and Safety Caucus

RESEARCH NOTES: After School Physical Activity Patterns, Long-term Effects of PE, Physical Activity and Bone Mineral Density, Correlates of Physical Activity in Young People

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES: KidsWalk-to-School, Recommendation on Fitness and Activity in Schools, School Health Policy Resources, Motivating Kids


WEBSITES OF INTEREST: PE Links 4 U, Safe Routes to School, Physical Education Awards

SOUTH CAROLINA NEWS: Governor’s Town Forum on Women’s Health



HACKY SACK: The sport of footbag, commonly known by the trademark "Hacky Sack," was invented in 1972 in the US. The "freestyle" version of footbag (where players stand in a circle and pass the footbag by foot around the circle) has become the most popular form of the game, because of its cooperative nature. The World-Wide Footbag Foundation (yes, there is one!) has instructions for playing, as well as rules for more formal footbag games, at www.footbag.org. Footbag is a moderate physical activity, burning about 280 calories per hour for a 155 pound person. The game is popular among young people because it requires only one piece of equipment (the footbag), and can be played most anywhere.


NEW SCHOOL HEALTH AND SAFETY CAUCUS: Representatives Connie Morella (R-MD) and Lois Capps (D-CA) have founded the Bipartisan Congressional School Health and Safety Caucus. Stated purposes are 1) To build awareness around the issues of school health and safety among House members and staff; 2) To create a voice within Congress on the issue of school health and safety, and to support legislation that would strengthen community and school-based efforts to improve the health of school children and keep students safer while they are at school; and 3) To identify ways to effectively raise awareness of school health and safety issues in our districts, and work cooperatively with school administrators, teachers, school nurses, parents, students and community groups to improve children's health and reduce injuries in schools. Limited additional information is available at http://www.house.gov/capps/shsc.shtml.


AFTER SCHOOL PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PATTERNS: This study was conducted to determine the effects of limiting physical activity opportunities during the school day (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.) on physical activity patterns during the after school hours (3 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.). Third and fourth grade students’ activity patterns were monitored for 4 non-consecutive days with two of the days being classified as active school days (all children participating in PE and recess), and two of the days being restricted-activity school days (no PE with recess being spent indoors at a computer). Activity patterns, which were recorded through out the day with the use of CSA accelerometers, were lower during the after school hours on restricted-activity days. Activity patterns after school were higher on active school days. This study provides evidence that students may not necessarily compensate for restricted physical activity opportunities during the day by increasing their activity levels after school. See: Dale, Corbin, & Dale. "Restricting Opportunities to Be Active During School Time: Do Children Compensate by Increasing Physical Activity Levels After School?" Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 71(3):240-248, September 2000.

LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF PE: A 20-year follow-up study was conducted to evaluate the long term effects of a primary school physical education program. Women who were program participants had a higher level of participation in vigorous physical activity as adults than women in comparison groups. Participants had higher fitness scores, and male participants had better cholesterol levels and lower smoking rates. The proportion of subjects who were very satisfied with their physical education course in primary school was substantially higher among the experimental group than the comparison group. The authors state there is a need to conduct further longitudinal studies on physical education programs, with arrangements at the outset to recall study participants in adulthood. See Shephard and Trudeau, "The Legacy of Physical Education: Influences on Adult Lifestyle," Pediatric Exercise Science, 12(1):34-50, February 2000.

PA AND BONE MINERAL DENSITY: A longitudinal study of young women was conducted to determine the contributions of calcium intake and exercise to peak bone mineral density, which predicts osteoporosis-related fractures later in life. Beginning at the participants’ age of 12, researchers collected food diaries at 6-month intervals over 6 years, and compiled a sports/exercise score based on 6 years of self-reported activities. Total body and hip bone mineral measurements were made as well. There was no relationship between calcium intake and bone mineral gain or hip bone mineral density at age 18. Sports/exercise scores were not associated with total body bone mineral gain, but they were associated with increased hip bone mineral density at age 18. See Lloyd, Chinchilli, Johnson-Rollings, Kieselhorst, Eggli, & Marcus, "Adult Female Hip Bone Density Reflects Teenage Sports-Exercise Patterns But Not Teenage Calcium Intake" Pediatrics, 106(1):40-44, July 2000.

CORRELATES OF PA IN YOUNG PEOPLE: In order to design effective interventions, the factors that influence physical activity need to be better understood. The authors reviewed 108 studies to determine which factors were consistently related to physical activity levels in children and adolescents. In both age groups, male gender, previous physical activity, and intentions to be active were consistently associated with higher levels of physical activity. In children, related factors were parental overweight status, physical activity preferences, lack of perceived barriers, healthy diet, program/facility access, and time spent outdoors. In adolescents, factors consistently related to physical activity were ethnicity (white), lower age, perceived activity competence, lower depression, community sports involvement, sensation seeking, not being sedentary after school and on weekends, parental support, support from others, sibling physical activity, direct help from parents, and opportunities to exercise. The authors state these factors should be confirmed and evaluated in other studies and interventions. See Sallis, Prochaska & Taylor, "A Review of Correlates of Physical Activity of Children and Adolescents," Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 32(5):963-975, May 2000.


KIDSWALK-TO-SCHOOL: To support the national goal of better health through physical activity, the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity at the CDC has developed a program guide to promote children walking to school. This program entitled "KidsWalk-to-School" is a community-based program that aims to increase opportunities for daily physical activity by encouraging children to walk or bike to and from school in groups accompanied by adults. At the same time, the program encourages communities to build partnerships with the school, PTA, local police department, department of public works, civic associations, local politicians, and businesses to create an environment that is supportive of walking and bicycling to school safely. To obtain a copy of the guide you can do one of the following: 1. Download it from the KidsWalk-to-School Web page at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/kidswalk/. E-mail a request to ccdinfo@cdc.gov, or 3. Call 1-888-CDC-4NRG to request a single guide. FROM: Jessica Shisler, MPH, Coordinator, Walk to School Programs, CDC Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity

RECOMMENDATION ON FITNESS AND ACTIVITY IN SCHOOLS: The Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness and the Committee on School Health of the American Academy of Pediatrics released recommendations on Physical Fitness and Activity in Schools, in the May 2000 issue of Pediatrics. The policy statement reaffirms the Academy’s support for schools to increase physical activity in the curriculum, suggests ways to implement this goal, and encourages pediatricians to offer their assistance to schools. Pediatrics, May 2000, 105(5): 1156-1157.

From: The CDC Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity

"Fit, Healthy, and Ready to Learn: A School Health Policy Guide" features sample policy language on physical activity, healthy eating, and tobacco-use prevention, as well as data to support the policies and practical suggestions for implementation. This guide was developed by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), in partnership with CDC and in cooperation with the National School Board Association; it can be obtained from NASBE by calling 800-220-5183. The sample policy language can be downloaded from:


The School Health Resource Database, managed by the National School Boards Association with support from CDC, has been expanded to incorporate sample school district policies and information on physical activity, nutrition, and tobacco-use prevention. Staff provide consultations on policy development and referrals to specialists in school health policy topics. This service is free of charge and can be accessed by telephone (703-838-6722); fax (703-548-5516); e-mail schoolhealth@nsba.org; or the Internet at http://www.nsba.org/schoolhealth/dbasedescrp.html.

Information about CDC's school health guidelines and tools is available online at www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dash, by e-mail at ccdinfo@cdc.gov, or by telephone (770-488-3168).

MOTIVATING KIDS: The Sept. 2000 issue of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Research Digest focuses on "Motivating Kids in Physical Activity." Author Maureen Weiss, PhD, of the University of Virginia, describes research on reasons why children and adolescents participate in physical activity, and concludes that interventions enhancing perceptions of competence, social support, and enjoyment of physical activity will result in increased physical activity participation levels. Dr. Weiss also offers suggestions on "maximizing motivation" among young people. To obtain a copy of the Research Digest, call 1-202-690-9000, or fax a request to 202-690-5211.


SMART GROWTH: "Redefining Community: A Smart Growth Approach to Street and Neighborhood Design, Crime Prevention and Public Health and Safety" is the theme of a conference being held January 19-20, 2001 in San Diego, California. The conference is sponsored by the Local Government Commission and Penn State University, and will approach community design from a comprehensive health and safety perspective. For information, contact Mark Bernhard, Senior Conference Planner, at Pennsylvania State University, (814) 863-5100, e-mail: ConferenceInfo1@outreach.psu.edu, or visit http://www.outreach.psu.edu/C&I/RedefiningCommunity.

HEALTH PROMOTION: The 12th Annual Art and Science of Health Promotion Conference will be held February 12 –16, 2001 in Washington, DC. The conference is organized by the American Journal of Health Promotion, the Health Promotion Research Foundation, the Public Health Education and Health Promotion section of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the Association for Worksite Health Promotion, and the Wellness Councils of America (WELCOA). The theme "Building Health Promotion into the National Agenda" is reflected in the five "tracks" for the conference: 1) What is the best evidence to support the health and financial impact of health promotion? 2) What strategies are most effective? 3) Health promotion policy; 4) Political activism for health promotion; and 5) Emerging issues shaping health promotion. For information visit www.healthpromotionconference.org, or call 248-682-0707.


PE LINKS 4 U: The "PE Links 4 U" website was first developed as a resource for physical education majors at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Virginia. Through the efforts of many volunteers, it has now become an independent resource for physical educators. It includes an extensive list of links, information on standards documents, a free bulletin board, and much more. A free newsletter is available to alert readers about updates to the website. Check it out at www.pelinks4u.org.

SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL: A variety of tools and "how-to" resources, including "How to Organize a Walking/Cycling School Bus," are available at http://www.iwalktoschool.org/resources.htm. The website is part of the Active and Safe Routes to School part of Go for Green, Canada’s Active Living and Environment Program.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION AWARDS: The "Demonstration Center" program of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS) is a great way for schools to be recognized for having achieved excellence in their physical education programs. The PCPFS invites all states to participate in this cooperative project. Its aim is to focus attention on individual schools--recognized by State Departments of Education--which have outstanding programs of physical education that contribute to students' physical fitness. Information is available at http://www.presidentschallenge.org/educators/ school_recognition/demo_center.aspx


GOVERNOR’S TOWN FORUM ON WOMEN’S HEALTH: South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges will lead a forum on women’s health on December 6, 2000, from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. in Columbia. Gov. Hodges invites the women of the state to present, or submit in writing, their concerns on women’s health. The forum is sponsored by the SC Governor’s Office, the SC Commission on Women, and the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control. For more information, call Rebecca Collier at 803-734-1609.


Writers: Regina Fields, Ralph Welsh

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." Visit 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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