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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

The USC Prevention Research Center believes that the environment influences physical activity. The idea of creating more friendly environments to increase physical activity makes intuitive sense. Practitioners are already implementing programs to make environmental changes, even as researchers begin to test the impact of such changes. For example, our community partners in Sumter, SC recently dedicated a new section of the Cypress Trail.

Support for walkable communities is getting more press all the time, not only as a means of encouraging physical activity, but also as a safety issue. In the last few months, a number of articles have come to our attention. "New Agents of Change" in the June 18 issue of Time recognized Dan Burden, founder of Walkable Communities, Inc. as one of six successful, modern activists. The May issue of Governing included an article about pedestrian safety, entitled "Taking Back the Streets," and Woman's Day, May 15, wrote about "Pedestrians in Peril." Cooking Light included "How to Grow a Sidewalk" in the May issue; this article contained advice for local walking advocates and a great success story. The June issue of Planning included an excellent summary of the issue in their article, "Fat City." What success stories can you share?

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



IN THIS ISSUE: June/July, 2001

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Texas Bicycle Safety Legislation, Skipping into Health, Project Fit America, Ozone Season


RESEARCH NOTES: Researching Leisure and PA with Women of Color, Obesity Compared to Poverty and Smoking, Preventing Type 2 Diabetes with Lifestyle Interventions, Internet-Based Behavioral Weight Loss Programs, Physical Activity Dose-Response

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES: Promoting Walking, Sedentary Death Syndrome, Lowering High Blood Pressure

PROMOTING ACTIVE COMMUNITIES: Toronto Bike Share Program, Physically Active Children and Youth in Nova Scotia

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: School Health, APHA in Atlanta, Chronic Disease Conference, CVH 2002




TEXAS BICYCLE SAFETY LEGISLATION: In June, Texas became the third state (after California and Washington) to enact legislation creating a Safe Routes to School program. The programs involve community, local, and state government in reviewing, planning, and implementing changes to create safe ways for children to walk or cycle safely to school. See http://www.biketexas.org for more information on the Matthew Brown Act.

SKIPPING INTO HEALTH: A new group of health enthusiasts promotes skipping for its positive impact on physical as well as mental wellbeing. Stating that skipping makes you feel like a kid again while providing an excellent workout, the group offers a website where skippers can network, share stories, and find out about skipping events across the country. To find out more about this fun activity, go to www.iskip.com.

PROJECT FIT AMERICA (PFA) is a national non-profit dedicated to getting kids fit. PFA donates fully funded cardiovascular health and lifetime fitness education programs to schools, grades K-12. Seventy-five cents of each dollar received is donated to schools for permanent fitness equipment, supporting PA curriculum, teacher training and staff development, and community outreach events. To find more about the PFA, visit their website at http://www.projectfitamerica.org.

OZONE SEASON runs from May through September each year, a time when ground-level ozone has the most probability of causing a number of respiratory problems, especially for children and adults who are active outdoors and people with asthma or other respiratory diseases. To help people avoid unhealthy exposure to ozone, the Environmental Protection Agency sponsors AIRNOW, an Internet site that gives daily information about ozone, it's effect, and daily air quality data throughout the US. For more information or the daily forecast, go to www.epa.gov/airnow.


2002 BUDGET: President Bush's 2002 budget includes cuts to the budgets of several chronic disease prevention and health promotion programs. Among many recommended cuts, CDC's budget for heart disease and stroke would be reduced by $7.2 million, nutrition and physical activity would be reduced by $2 million, and coordinated school health and the WISEWOMAN project would not be funded. Congressional committees can make changes in the budget after the President has submitted it.


RESEARCHING LEISURE AND PA WITH WOMEN OF COLOR: Based on a retrospective review of the qualitative research process used in the Cross Cultural Activity Participation Study (CAPS), this article discusses issues confronting researchers studying leisure and physical activity behavior in marginalized groups of different racial, ethnic and cultural identities. Addressed within the discussion are topics such as: how we conceptualize and measure "race," language and definitions used with physical activityand leisure, the lack of relevant research models, the role of researcher identity and bias, the role of personal and cultural values, and the influence of multiple identities. The authors make recommendations to encourage methodological imagination and reduce researcher bias. See Henderson and Ainsworth. "Researching Leisure and Physical Activity with Women of Color: Issues and Emerging Questions." Leisure Sciences, 23:21-34, 2001.

OBESITY COMPARED TO POVERTY AND SMOKING: Nationally representative data was used to compare the associations of obesity, poverty, smoking, and problem drinking with the occurrence of chronic medical conditions and health-related quality of life. Results indicate that obesity is as strongly associated with the occurrence of chronic medical conditions and physical health-related quality of life as poverty, lifetime smoking history, or recent heavy drinking (controlling for age, race, and sex). The authors recommend that weight control receive a higher national priority. See Sturm and Wells, "Does Obesity Contribute as Much to Morbidity as Poverty or Smoking?" Public Health, 115:229-235, 2001.

PREVENTING TYPE 2 DIABETES WITH LIFESTYLE INTERVENTIONS: Individuals with impaired glucose tolerance were randomly assigned to either an intervention group receiving individual lifestyle counseling or a control group receiving general counseling. The lifestyle counseling focused on reducing weight and fat intake while increasing dietary fiber and physical activity. During the course of the study (approximately 4 years) annual glucose tolerance tests were performed along with secondary tests for diabetes. Results of the intervention included significantly greater weight loss, lower risk for diabetes, and a lower cumulative incidence of diabetes which was directly associated with the changes in lifestyle. This evidence, along with the 58% decrease in overall incidence of diabetes resulting from the intervention, led the authors to conclude that type 2 diabetes can be prevented in high risk patients through lifestyle based counseling. See Tuomilehto, Lindstrom, Eriksson, Valle, et al. "Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus by Changes in Lifestyle Among Subjects with Impaired GlucoseTolerance." The New England Journal of Medicine, 344(18):1343-1350, 2001.

INTERNET-BASED BEHAVIORAL WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAMS: The authors of this study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of Internet-based technology for delivering a behavioral weight loss program. Participants were randomly assigned to a 6-month weight loss program involving either Internet education or Internet behavioral therapy. Members of both groups participated in face-to-face group weight loss sessions and were directed to a website containing links to weight loss resources. People assigned to the Internet behavioral intervention group logged weekly body weights, caloric consumption, fat consumption, and caloric energy expenditure in Web-based diaries; received weekly, personalized e-mail feedback on their progress; and could send e-mail to ask specific questions. An electronic bulletin board was used to facilitate social support among the members of this group. Significantly greater weight loss and waist circumference reductions (at 3 and 6 months) and a greater achievement of weight loss goals (at 6 months) was found in the Internet behavioral intervention group. The authors suggest that the use of Internet technology and e-mail can be an effective method for delivering structured behavioral weight loss programs to individuals with access to this technology. See Tate, Wing, & Winett. "Using Internet Technology to Deliver a Behavioral Weight Loss Program."Journal of the American Medical Association, 285(9):1172-1177, 2001.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY DOSE-RESPONSE: A special issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (June 2001) includes papers presented at an evidence-based symposium in October 2000. This symposium examined dose-response issues related to the role of physical activity in health promotion and disease prevention. The issue includes a consensus statement and recommendations for future research, along with 24 papers and 6 summaries.


PROMOTING WALKING: "Australia: Walking the 21st Century: An International Walking Conference" was held in Perth, Western Australia in February. The conference offered attendees the opportunity to learn from experts in health, transportation, and planning who are dedicated to the development of walking. The full text of papers presented at the conference can be found at http://www.publishing.uwa.edu.au/research/2001/public-health.asp.

LAND USE, TRANSPORTATION, AND PUBLIC HEALTH: CDC's Active Community Environments (ACEs) work group website contains copies of two working papers designed to better understand how the natural, built, and social environment influences physical activity. Look for "How Land Use and Transportation Systems Impact Public Health" and "How Land Use and Transportation Systems Impact Public Health: An Annotated bibliography" at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/aces.htm.

SEDENTARY DEATH SYNDROME (SeDS). Researchers against Inactivity–related Diseases (RID) are devoted to the elimination of all 35 inactivity-related conditions, which they have named Sedentary Death Syndrome (SeDS). RID estimates that 60% of Americans at risk for SeDS, which could lead to premature disability or death. Led by Frank Booth, PhD, a professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia Department of Physiology, RID advocates for a comprehensive approach to SeDS that includes increasing funding for CDC's physical activity programs, increasing the annual healthcare budget spent on prevention, and including SeDS within NIH. RID is also launching a public education campaign with a mascot, SeDS the Fat Cat, aimed at children and adolescents. Go to http://www.endseds.org for additional advocacy, media, and contact information with links.

LOWERING HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: The National High Blood Pressure Education Program, a program of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), has a new homepage titled "Your Guide to Lowering High Blood Pressure" at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp. This website provides up-to-date, practical information on preventing and treating high blood pressure. Special features of this site include tips and quizzes about high blood pressure and heart health, information about lifestyle and medications organized by keywords. The physical activity section includes tips on getting started and maintaining moderate physical activity. The site also includes tips on healthy eating and information on Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH).


TORONTO BIKE SHARE PROGRAM: In May, Toronto launched a bike sharing program to enable commuters to leave their cars at home and rediscover the benefits of cycling. Inspired by initiatives in Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Portland, Oregon, BikeShare aims to reduce vehicle emissions, increase physical activity, and offer youth training and employment. For a small annual fee riders can pick out one of 150 used yellow bicycles equipped with a lock, a basket, a bell, and reflectors. After cycling around the city, members return the bike at any BikeShare hub. For more information, visit http://communitybicyclenetwork.org/bike_rentals.

PHYSICALLY ACTIVE CHILDREN AND YOUTH (PACY) is an interdepartmental initiative whose goal is to reduce the number of inactive children and youth in Nova Scotia, Canada by 10% by the year 2003. The group's mandate will be to develop a provincial strategy with funding recommendations to reach this goal. To develop these recommendations, the working group will provide maximum opportunity for public input, in particular from children and youth. The provincial strategy will be completed in December, 2001. Initiatives will be funded in areas that address the key predisposing, reinforcing, and enabling factors. Specific criteria, eligibility and deadlines will be announced in the near future. For more information, see the report, "Towards Physically Active Children and Youth in Nova Scotia," at: http://www.gov.ns.ca/hpp/physicalactivity/publications/MinPASTRATEGY.pdf

STPP-AARP SEEK MODEL POLICIES & PROGRAMS: The Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP) is developing a report for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) examining state laws, policies and programs that promote alternative transportation (including walking and cycling). The report will include: (1) a comprehensive survey of state policies, legislation and spending practices; (2) in-depth case studies of several "best practice" programs/policies that promote mobility for older Americans; and, (3) a list of criteria that can be used to evaluate the effectiveness and merit of policies and programs. STPP is requesting examples of what states have done to promote (or restrict) alternative transportation--legislation and policies that affect resource allocation and/or governmental decision-making, or successful statewide programs to enhance opportunities for alternative modes. Send your input to Jodi Michaels (jmichaels@transact.org) or Alyssa Campbell (acampbell@transact.org).


SCHOOL HEALTH: The 8th Annual ASHA Summer Institute, "Vital Connections: Coordinated School Health, Healthier Kids & Communities, School Success," will be held on July 30-31, 2001, Nebraska Wesleyan University (Olin Center) in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Institute is aimed at all public health professionals and administrators working with school health. The 75th Annual ASHA School Health Conference, "Back to the Future: School Health in the 21st Century," will be held November 7-11, 2001, in Albuquerque, NM. For more information on both activities, go to the ASHA website: www.ashaweb.org/conferences.html.

APHA IN ATLANTA: "One World, Global Health," the 129th APHA annual meeting and exposition, will be held October 21-25, 2001 in Atlanta, GA. Withattendance of more than 12,000 people in the field of public health, the APHA annual meeting is like no other. For more information visit http://www.apha.org/meetings/index.htm. You can register on the web site, email edward.shipley@apha.org, or phone (202) 777-2478.

CHRONIC DISEASE CONFERENCE: Mark your calendars for the 16th National Conference on Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, "Cultivating Healthier Communities Through Research, Policy, and Practice," to be held in Atlanta, GA, February 27 - March 1, 2002. Abstracts are being accepted now through August 3, 2001. The conference is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Association of State and Territorial Chronic Disease Program Directors, and the Prevention Research Centers Program. For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/conference.

CVH 2002: "Cardiovascular Health for All: Meeting the Challenge of Healthy People 2010" is a national conference to be held April 11-13, 2002 in Washington, D.C. The conference will focus on disease prevention and treatment to address the cardiovascular challenges set forth in Healthy People 2010 as well as the overarching goals of increasing the quality and years of healthy life and eliminating health disparities. Deadline for submitting abstracts is September 14, 2001. For information on Healthy People 2010, visit http://www.health.gov/healthypeople .


PEDOMETER INTEREST GROUP: Catrine Tudor-Locke, PhD, and the USC PRC have launched a new listserv dedicated to furthering the understanding of the use of pedometers for measurement and motivation of physical activity. This listserv provides an electronic forum exchanging new ideas, questions, and concerns among the members. To subscribe, please send an e-mail message to LISTSERV@VM.SC.EDU and include the following command in the text of the message: SUBSCRIBE PEDGROUP yourfirstname yourlastname. Do not include any other text in the message, not even an electronic signature. Once you have subscribed to the listserv, you will be e-mailed a welcome message, as well as basic listserv commands, guidelines for posting messages, and listserv etiquette. As a FREE SIGN-ON GIFT, you'll receive an updated bibliography of pedometer references.


Writers: Delores Pluto, Ralph Welsh, Lillian Smith

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, e-mail address, 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.

The USC Prevention Research Center is a member of the CDC Prevention Research Center's National Network, consisting of 24 Centers in the U.S. For more information about the PRC National Network, visit their website at http://www.cdc.gov/prc/.


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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