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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

Greetings from the faculty, staff, and students at the USC Prevention Research Center. We are pleased to be on the "downside" of winter and are preparing for spring in South Carolina. Our community partners in Sumter, SC have been working on strategies to increase the opportunities for physical activity in their county. A while ago, several residents walked the sidewalks to rate the quality in terms of upkeep and "walker friendliness." They plan to use this information to promote walking, repair of existing sidewalks, and building of new sidewalks in their community. What's going on in your community to provide environmental support for physical activity? Let us hear from you (you can reply to this e-mail address).

Best wishes!

Barb Ainsworth, Director
Dennis Shepard, Deputy Director
Delores Pluto, Newsletter Editor (dmpluto@sc.edu)



IN THIS ISSUE: January / February 2001

NEWS YOU CAN USE: National Girls and Women in Sports Day, America's Fattest Cities

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON: PEP Act Funded, Combating Obesity & Overweight, Congressional Subcommittees to Watch, Other Influential Groups

RESEARCH NOTES: PA & Social Physique Anxiety; Neighborhood Influence on Walking & Exercise; Life Events, Exercise Program Format & PA Behavior; Bicycling Renaissance in North America?

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES: Evaluation Tool Kit, Rails-To-Trails Resources, Congregation-Based CVD Prevention

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: Health Promotion and Education, Obesity Induced Diabetes

WEBSITE OF INTEREST: Women and Girls in Sports on the Web




NATIONAL GIRLS AND WOMEN IN SPORTS DAY: February 7, 2001 will mark the 15th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day. This year's theme is "No Stopping Us Now." For information on planning, promoting, and hosting activities, go to www.NGWSDCentral.com.

AMERICA'S FATTEST CITIES: The February 2000 issue of Men's Fitness magazine contains their Third Annual Report on America's Fattest Cities. They ranked the 50 largest US Cities based on dozens of social and environmental factors that affect a resident's ability to stay fit or fat. See how they did it and how your city ranks at www.mensfitness.com.


PEP ACT FUNDED: On December 15, 2000, Congress passed an omnibus spending bill which included a $5 million appropriation for the Physical Education for Progress (PEP) Act for fiscal year 2001. PEP grant guidelines will be announced by the US Dept. of Education in March, and school districts will have six weeks to submit proposals. Funded grants will be announced the first week of June 2001, and recipients will have 12 months to complete projects. Projects should help initiate, expand and improve physical education programs for kindergarten through grade 12 students. Funds can be used to purchase equipment, develop curriculum, hire and/or train physical education staff, and support other initiatives designed to enable students to participate in physical education activities. The National Association for Sport and Physical Education will have updated information on the grants on their website, www.aahperd.org/naspe. (Edited from NASPE Website)

COMBATING OBESITY & OVERWEIGHT: On January 8, 2001, Surgeon General David Satcher announced a year-long effort to develop a national action plan for reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States. Satcher said the process would be inclusive and collaborative, and would include open public comment periods, listening sessions, federal and non-federal dialogue, interactive workshops and the formation of working groups to implement strategies. For more information, see the Surgeon General's website at www.surgeongeneral.gov.

CONGRESSIONAL SUBCOMMITTEES TO WATCH: Several subcommittees are influential in the support and funding of health behavior research and programs. In the House, keep an eye on the subcommittee on health in the Ways and Means Committee and the Labor and Health subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee. In the Senate, the committees to watch are the Labor, Health and Human Services & Education subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee and the Public Health subcommittee in the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. To find out the members of these subcommittees, go to http://thomas.loc.gov/.

OTHER INFLUENTIAL GROUPS: Two additional groups help inform our politicians about health issues. The Congressional Prevention Coalition (CPC) was organized by the Partnership for Prevention to raise the knowledge level in Congress about disease prevention and health promotion. It is co-chaired by Senators Bob Graham (D-FL) and Mike DeWine (R-OH) and by Representatives Jim Leach (R-IA) and James Moran (D-VA). The CPC website is http://www.istpp.org/coalition/index.html. The new Health and Behavior Caucus is headed by Congresspersons Brian Baird (D-WA) and Edolphus Towns (D-NY). According to the Center for the Advancement for Health, "...these two groups are likely to play a major role in helping the rest of Congress understand and appreciate the role of behavior and health in our society." Let your members of congress know what you think about the issues. To find out who your representatives and senators are and how to contact them, go to www.congress.org.


PA & SOCIAL PHYSIQUE ANXIETY: The authors present an overview of the relationship between physical activity and social physique anxiety among adolescents. The effects of social physique anxiety on physical activity were independent of actual body composition, and could function as a barrier or a motivator. Apparel, the positioning of the body during exercise, the presence of spectators, and the presence of members of the opposite sex were all found to be barriers to physical activity among young women. The authors suggest that understanding social physique anxiety will assist in addressing declines in physical activity among adolescents. Eklund & Bianco, "Social Physique Anxiety and Physical Activity Among Adolescents," Reclaiming Children and Youth, 9(3):139-142, Fall 2000.

NEIGHBORHOOD INFLUENCE ON WALKING & EXERCISE: What influence does neighborhood context have on health behavior? This study attempted to disentangle the confounding influences of socioeconomic status, education, and neighborhood on walking, strenuous exercise, and smoking, using multi-level analysis. A telephone survey was conducted in a sample of Illinois households with linked census tract information. The physical characteristics of the neighborhoods (i.e. sidewalks, density) were not examined. The author did find an independent neighborhood effect for walking for both males and females, and an independent effect for smoking in males. Males in poor neighborhoods were more likely to smoke. People who lived in poor neighborhoods were more likely to walk, despite the fact that residents of poor neighborhoods were more afraid to leave the house and feared being victimized on the streets. This effect was independent of the individual's income level. People living neighborhoods with a high percentage college-educated residents also were more likely to walk. Neighborhood context had no effect on strenuous exercise. See: Catherine Ross, "Walking, exercising, and smoking: does neighborhood matter?" Social Science and Medicine, 51(2):265-274, 2000.

LIFE EVENTS, EXERCISE PROGRAM FORMAT & PA BEHAVIOR: The purpose of this two-year clinical trial was to prospectively investigate the potential interaction of major life events and exercise program format (home vs. class-based and high vs. low intensity) on exercise adherence patterns of individuals initiating and maintaining an exercise program. The number of life events (e.g., major change in working conditions, family status, living environment, etc.) an individual experienced during the study period had a significant effect on exercise adherence across all exercise groups. Participants in the maintenance phase who experienced one or fewer life events were also more likely to adhere to the exercise program as compared to those experiencing 3 or 4 life events. No significant life-event exercise-adherence relationship was found among participants in the adoption phase of exercise participation. The authors suggest that individuals may benefit from specific life events counseling, as they will inevitably experience major life events and the potential for exercise relapse. Oman & King. "The Effect of Life Events and Exercise Program Format on the Adoption and Maintenance of Exercise Behavior," Health Psychology, 19(6):605-612, 2000.

BICYCLING RENAISSANCE IN NORTH AMERICA? This review of recent trends and alternative policies to promote bicycling addresses the recent increase in bicycle trips being made in the U.S. and the potential for further growth. Trends in bicycling are presented from Europe and North America along with data on safety issues and government spending on bicycle facilities. Case studies of bicycling behavior for various cities around the U.S. are also presented. The review concludes with information on factors affecting cycling and steps being proposed to increase cycling in North America. Pucher, Komanoff & Schimek. "Bicycling Renaissance in North America? Recent Trends and Alternative Policies to Promote Bicycling," Transportation Research Part A, 33(7/8):625-654, 1999.


EVALUATION TOOL KIT: The University of Arizona's Rural Health Office and College of Public Health has released the new "Community Health Worker Evaluation Tool Kit." Funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Tool Kit focuses on developing an evaluation plan and choosing appropriate measurements and evaluation tools for community health programs. Included are an overview of basic evaluation principles; a logic model development guide; a framework, instruments, forms and program directory; case studies; grant-writing tips; and a comprehensive bibliography and resource list. The notebook version of the Tool Kit is available now, and a CD-ROM version is being developed. A 20% discount is available to community health programs with budgets under $100,000. For information on ordering, contact 915-351-9099 or toolkit@elp.rr.com.

RAILS-TO-TRAILS RESOURCES: The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy recently released two reports. Rail-Trails and Liability: A Primer on Trail-Related Liability Issues and Risk Management Techniques addresses legal issues for trail managers and for people living adjacent to proposed trails. Rails-with-Trails: Sharing Corridors for Transportation and Recreation explores the issues involved in developing trails alongside active rail corridors. In addition to describing 61 such trails, the report presents key design characteristics to ensure safety for all users. You can download a copy of these reports from www.trailsandgreenways.orgor send $8.00 to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, 1100 17th St. NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20036, ATTN: T&G Clearinghouse.

CONGREGATION-BASED CVD PREVENTION: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has published Working with Religious Congregations: A Guide for Health Professionals. This guide includes practical information about how to contact and recruit congregation members, train volunteers, implement effective CVD prevention programs, sustain the effort, and monitor and evaluate programs. Certified health education specialists may receive 3 CHES credit hours in category 1 by reading the Guide. You can download a free copy from the web at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/prof/heart/other/church.htm or order copies at $2 each using a credit card by calling the NHLBI Information Center, 301-592-8573, fax 301-592-8563, or mail NHLBI Information Center, P.O. Box 30105, Bethesda, MD 20824-0105. Quantity discounts are available.


HEALTH PROMOTION AND EDUCATION: The 19th National Conference on Health Education and Health Promotion will be held April 25-27, 2001 in Atlanta, Georgia. Sponsored by the Association of State and Territorial Directors of Health Promotion and Public Health Education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the theme of this year's conference is "Plan for Success: Strengthening the Public's Health through Health Promotion."

OBESITY INDUCED DIABETES: Shape Up America! will host a weekend conference, "The Contributions of Diet and Inactivity to Diabesity™ in America: An Agenda for Action" March 24-25, 2001, in Alexandria, Virginia. Co-organizers include the American College of Sports Medicine, American Obesity Association, American Society for Nutritional Sciences, American Society of Bariatric Physicians, American Society of Bariatric Surgeons, the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, and the National Women's Health Resource Center. This conference is Shape Up America!'s first step toward addressing the growing prevalence of "diabesity" or obesity induced diabetes, in all age groups, but especially in children. They are assembling an outstanding panel of scientific speakers to address the relative contribution of both activity and diet in the etiology, prevention and treatment of diabesity. For more information, visit the Shape Up America! website at http://www.shapeup.org or email sfalli@shapeup.org>.


WOMEN AND GIRLS IN SPORTS ON THE WEB: The Women's Sports Foundation website (www.womenssportsfoundation.org) contains resources information about sports, training, and careers in sports. The site also includes a database of grants, scholarships, and internships offered by the organization. An associated site, www.gogirlgo.com, is designed to encourage young girls to participate in athletics.


PA MATERIALS DIRECTORY: The USC Prevention Research Center has developed a "Directory of Reviewed Physical Activity Promotion Materials," available at http://prevention.sph.sc.edu. This directory of quality printed educational materials was developed as a resource for practitioners, researchers and community volunteers. All of the materials have been reviewed using the PRC's Physical Activity Review Tool. The Review Tool is based on the following criteria: extent to which the public health physical activity message is reflected; the presentation of the physical activity message; and the appearance and appeal of the text and illustrations. Information is included about target populations, reading level, publication date, and how to order each brochure. The directory will be continually updated with additional materials. To suggest additions, please contact Ralph Welsh at rswelsh@sph.sc.edu.

NEW STAFF: The Prevention Research Center is pleased to welcome our newest Research Associate, Dr. Karen Kirtland. Dr. Kirtland comes to the PRC from the Office of the SC Adjutant General, where she used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to develop documentation required by the National Environmental Policy Act. Dr. Kirtland has also worked with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control's Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling, and with the Palmetto Richland Memorial Hospital. Dr. Kirtland earned a PhD in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of South Carolina School of Public Health. She is interested in issues concerning greenspace and waterways and how those features promote physical activity. For the PRC, Karen will lead Applied Research activities and will lend her experience in GIS to physical activity-related projects. Welcome, Karen!

Writers: Delores Pluto, 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 Delores Pluto at dmpluto@sc.edu. To subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, e-mail the Prevention Research Center at USCPRC@gwm.sc.edu. When subscribing, please include your name, title, and organizational affiliation. There is no subscription cost.

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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