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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

Greetings from the USC Prevention Research Center faculty and staff. While I have no intention to irritate our friends in the north (who are still in the throes of winter), South Carolina is in full bloom with the onset of spring. The weather is perfect for cool morning exercise and afternoon sunning. We are pleased to see the increased interest in policy and environmental supports for physical activity in the US and abroad. In this month's newsletter, you will note an article showing an association between children living in neighborhoods friendly to walking and increased torso and limb strength. This is followed by a comprehensive review of pedometer studies that have been used to track walking. There is a lot to be said about walking, often cited as the #1 activity for exercise and conditioning among adults. So with that, keep walking as you enjoy the change in seasons.

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

EDITOR'S NOTE: Because we now have web addresses for almost every article in the newsletter, we are dropping the special section on websites. Instead, we have added a section called "Promoting Active Communities." This section will be devoted to community efforts to remove barriers and increase supports for physical activity. Look at this month's section for information from Europe, Australia, and the US.



IN THIS ISSUE: March 2001

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Affordable Bike Lanes, National Public Health Week, National Employee Health and Fitness Day

RESEARCH NOTES: US Activity Levels Unchanged, Children's Understanding of PA, Cultural Activity Participation Study, Behavioral Counseling and Stages of Change, Access to Pedestrian Roads Associated with Measures of Physical Functioning, Using Pedometers to Track Walking

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES: PACE Update, PACE Canada, American Fitness Alliance, Teen Fitness Program, Tips for Working with the Media

PROMOTING ACTIVE COMMUNITIES: Europe on the Move!, Michigan's Active Community Awards, TravelSmart

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: PA and Public Health, Partnerships in Physical Activity - Empowering Your Population, SOPHE Mid-Year Conference, 5th Annual SPARK Summer Institutes, First National Congress of Pedestrian Advocates, TrailLink 2001



AFFORDABLE BIKE LANES: According to U.S. Rep. James Oberstar, (D-MN), at the September 2000 Interbike bicycle industry trade show in Las Vegas, constructing one mile of urban freeway costs an average of $46 million a mile. Compare this with average construction costs for bicycling improvement of $70,000 a mile; 12-foot shared paths of $128,000 a mile; 5-foot bicycle lanes of $189,000 a mile; and 5-foot paved shoulders on rural roads of $102,000 a mile. His conclusion "Who says we can't afford bicycle lanes?"

NATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH WEEK will be April 2-8. The 2001 theme is "Healthy People in Healthy Communities." This is an opportunity to recognize the contributions of public health to the nation's well being and to help focus public attention on major health issues in our communities. According to the American Public Health Association, National Public Health Week is now celebrated in communities in 46 states and by 60 percent of local health departments.

NATIONAL EMPLOYEE HEALTH AND FITNESS (NEHF) DAY will be May 16th. Sponsored exclusively by the National Association for Health & Fitness (NAHF), NEHF is an excellent activity for companies of all sizes, whether just starting a worksite wellness program or enhancing an existing program. Launched nationally in 1989, NEHF encourages employees to become more active and healthy through fun, non-competitive activities. To get started, request the NEHF Event Planning Kit. The kit includes year-round activity suggestions so your company can celebrate NEHF 365 days a year. NAHF also has a resource and product guide that contains incentives and programs to fit every health promotion budget. Go to www.physicalfitness.org or call (317) 237-5630.


US ACTIVITY LEVELS UNCHANGED: In spite of efforts to get Americans to be more active, physical activity levels of US adults changed little between 1990 and 1998. This is the conclusion of an analysis of data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) published in the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), "Physical Activity Trends --- United States, 1990 - 1998," Volume 50, No. 9, March 9, 2001. You can find the MMWR on the web at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm5009.pdf (PDF format) or http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5009a3.htm (HTML format). To subscribe to an electronic edition of the MMWR, go to http://www.cdc.gov/subscribe.html.

CHILDREN'S UNDERSTANDING OF PA: Fourth-graders who watched a five-minute video describing and showing "physical activity" did better at correctly identifying PA behaviors than children in a group who listened to a generic description of PA. Both groups did better than children in a control group. The study demonstrated that without intervention, children have a limited understanding of the concept of physical activity, which has implications for assessment of physical activity in children by self-report. See Trost, Morgan, Saunders, Felton, Ward, and Pate, "Children's Understanding of the Concept of Physical Activity," Pediatric Exercise Science, 12:293-299, August 2000.

CULTURAL ACTIVITY PARTICIPATION STUDY: In-depth exploratory interviews about physical activity were conducted with small groups of African American, Pueblo, and Navajo women. Walking was an activity discussed by many of the women. The women described a variety of enablers for walking, including the adaptability and availability of walking, social or solitary dimensions, and the perception that walking was "not really exercise." Some of the Native American women noted there were cultural traditions related to walking and being connected to the land. Constraints to walking were also described, including weather and seasons, safety, not having walking partners, and being physically or emotionally tired. These constraints are similar to those identified in other studies, so do not appear to be connected to the cultural background of the women. See Henderson and Ainsworth, "Enablers and Constraints to Walking for Older African American and American Indian Women: The Cultural Activity Participation Study." Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 71(4):313-321, December 2000.

BEHAVIORAL COUNSELING AND STAGE OF CHANGE: Twenty primary health care centers used either behavioral counseling or common health promotion methods to encourage healthy lifestyles among their patients. The behavioral counseling sessions were based on the stage of change model and involved strategies incorporating the use of attitude change, goal setting, and behavioral advice to stimulate behavioral modification. Control group centers employing health promotion methods included education about the benefits of lifestyle change, encouragement for change, and suggestions on what changes could be made. The groups receiving behavioral counseling, including those in the earlier stages of change, showed a greater increase in the proportion of patients who moved into the action/maintenance stage at 4 months and 12 months of follow-up. The authors conclude that brief stage-matched behavioral counseling may be a valuable strategy for encouraging healthy lifestyles among patients at risk for cardiovascular disease. See Steptoe, Kerry, Rink, and Hilton, "The Impact of Behavioral Counseling on Stage of Change in Fat Intake, Physical Activity, and Cigarette Smoking in Adults at Increased Risk of Coronary Heart Disease," American Journal of Public Health, 91:265-269, February 2001.

ACCESS TO PEDESTRIAN ROADS ASSOCIATED WITH MEASURES OF PHYSICAL FUNCTIONING: Pedestrian roads are small roads or trails built exclusively for pedestrians and bicyclists along the main roads. Physical performance (lower back strength, lower back flexibility, and hip flexibility) was measured in a cross-sectional study of two groups of adolescents. Adolescents living in the area without access to pedestrian roads (where school buses were used more) had less lower back and hip flexibility that those adolescents living in the area with pedestrian roads. Although active commuting (walking or bicycling) to school was not associated with physical performance, active commuting to leisure time activities was positively associated with physical performance measures. Distance traveled by school bus and time spent on television or a computer were negatively associated with physical performance. These results provide preliminary indications that anatomical functioning is associated with access to pedestrian roads and individual lifestyle factors. See Sjolie, "Access to Pedestrian Roads, Daily Activities, and Physical Performance of Adolescents," Spine, 25(15):1965-1972, August 2000.

USING PEDOMETERS TO TRACK WALKING: Pedometers are inexpensive ($10-50) objective monitoring devices used to measure walking throughout the day. Research is accumulating that testifies to their accuracy, reliability, and comparability to more expensive objective monitors known as accelerometers. This review of published pedometer studies suggests that we can expect 12,000-16,000 steps/day for 8-10 year old children (lower for girls than boys); 7,000-13,000 steps/day for relatively healthy, younger adults (lower for women than men); 6,000-8,500 steps/day for healthy older adults; and 3,500-5,500 steps/day for individuals living with disabilities and chronic illnesses. The authors present useful advice for using pedometers for multiple purposes, including surveillance, screening, program evaluation, and self-monitoring and feedback in behavioral interventions. Preliminary guidelines for consistent assessment protocols are also suggested. See Tudor-Locke & Myers, "Methodological considerations for researchers and practitioners using pedometers to measure physical (ambulatory) activity," Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 72(1), 1-12, March 2001.


PACE UPDATE: PACE (Patient-centered Assessment and Counseling for Exercise and Nutrition) is a nutrition and physical activity program for delivery by physicians and other health care providers. Developed by researchers at San Diego State University with funding from CDC and the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine, the PACE program includes assessment tools and counseling protocols. PACE is based on the Transtheoretical or "Stages of Change" model that suggests individuals change their habits in stages. PACE training includes a 3-4 hour workshop for providers and office staff plus follow-up consultation. Training is tailored to suit the provider's setting and needs. For information check out the website at http://www.paceproject.org, call 619-594-5949 or email project.pace@sdsu.edu.

PACE CANADA: PACE Canada was developed by the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute in collaboration with the Active Living Coalition for Older Adults, the U.S. Project PACE team, and with the financial support of Health Canada. PACE Canada has been adapted specifically for the Canadian cultural milieu and health care context, and is available in both English and French. Unlike the US version, it has been extended to be inclusive of older adults, who are at significantly higher risk of sedentary living and poor eating habits. More information about PACE Canada can be obtained by visiting the PACE Canada Web site http://www.pace-canada.org or by contacting Dr. Storm Russell, Senior Research Associate, Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute, (613) 233-5528, ext. 26, sjrussell@cflri.ca or Kathleen Shearer, PACE Canada Coordinator, (613) 233-5528, ext. 27, info@pace-canada.org.

AMERICAN FITNESS ALLIANCE: American Fitness Alliance (AFA) Youth Fitness Resource Center is a partnership of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research (CIAR), and Human Kinetics. The AFA's mission is to improve young people's fitness and health by promoting physical activity and other healthy behaviors. The AFA website contains educational, assessment, and training resources you can use to enhance youth fitness programs whether you're a physical educator, fitness professional, or youth program administrator. Find the AFA on the web at http://www.americanfitness.net or call 1-800-747-4457. They will also have an exhibit at the AAHPERD National Conventions (March 27 - 31 in Cincinnati, OH and April 16 - 20 in San Diego, CA).

TEEN FITNESS PROGRAM: "First Choice" is a curriculum that teaches health and fitness as life skills. The curriculum aims to prevent substance abuse, delinquency, violence, school dropouts, and mental health problems. The program combines formal instruction with time for physical activity, and was designed to be delivered through a variety of settings like recreation departments, schools, and substance abuse agencies. Forty hours of training on "First Choice" is provided by the program's developer, Dr. Thomas Collingwood. Program data show dramatic changes in the behaviors of the 10,000 teens who have gone through the program. For more information, contact Dr. Collingwood, Fitness Interventions Technologies, 972-231-8866.

TIPS FOR WORKING WITH THE MEDIA: The Center for the Advancement of Health has created a guide called "Communicating Health Behavior Science in the Media: Tips for Researchers." The seven topics addressed include, "Getting the Media's Attention," "Preparing for an Interview," and "Tips for Television." The guide is useful for any public health professional or researcher, and is available at www.cfah.org -- scroll down and click on "View/Order Publications," then scroll down and click on the title of the guide. The document opens in Acrobat Reader.


EUROPE ON THE MOVE! is the information network of the European program for the Promotion of Health-Enhancing Physical Activity (HEPA). Their website is an interesting collection of information about HEPA projects throughout Europe. You can also access two HEPA documents that may be of use wherever you are. You can find "Guidelines for Establishing a HEPA Promotion Programme" and "Promotion of Transport Walking and Cycling in Europe: Strategy Directions" by going to the Europe on the Move! website at http://europa.eu.int/comm/health/index_en.htm and look at the News section. While you're there, check out the sections on members, projects, conferences, and links.

MICHIGAN'S ACTIVE COMMUNITY AWARDS: The Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports in Michigan has initiated an Active Community Award. The award recognizes communities that have made a commitment to become healthier places to live by removing barriers to physical activity. Organizers believe the award will help increase awareness of the types of public policies and programs that remove barriers to healthful physical activity and recognize Michigan communities that are doing a good job in this area. Communities use a self-assessment tool that awards points to for the things they've done to remove barriers and shows them ways to improve. The program continues this year after a successful pilot in 2000 (thanks to Karen Petersmarck in the Department of Community Health). For more information go to www.michiganfitness.org or send e-mail to mlieber@michiganfitness.org.

TRAVELSMART: TravelSmart is a successful Western Australian community-based program that encourages people to use alternatives to travelling in their private car. TravelSmart uses marketing approaches to reach people in their homes and workplaces and empowerment approaches to work with groups to implement their own TravelSmart programs. A large-scale intervention in the first half of 2000, using a dialogue marketing technique, achieved a 35% increase in walking trips and a 61% increase in cycling trips as an average across the whole population of an urban community of 35,000 people. For more information, including at TravelSmart 2010: A 10 Year Plan, go to www.travelsmart.transport.wa.gov.au or e-mail Bruce James at bjames@transport.wa.gov.au.


PA AND PUBLIC HEALTH: The Physical Activity and Public Health Courses (PAPH) are an 8-day Postgraduate Course on Research Directions and Strategies and a 6-day Practitioner's Course on Community Interventions. Sponsored by the CDC and the USC Prevention Research Center, the courses are currently in the 7th year of successful training for professionals in the field. Approximately twenty-five fellows are accepted for each course. This year, the courses are being held at the Sea Pines Conference Resort, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, on September 18-26, 2001. Deadline for applications is May 15, 2001. For more information, contact Janna Shiley at (803) 576-6050 or jshiley@sph.sc.edu, or check out the course website at http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/seapines/index.htm.

PARTNERSHIPS IN PHYSICAL ACTIVITY - EMPOWERING YOUR POPULATION: This conference will be the forum from which the National Association for Health and Fitness (NAHF) and the Network of State and Governor's Councils launch their annual health and fitness programs, projects, and activities. Their objectives are to develop community partnerships, provide learning tools for self-improvement, increase personal skill development, enhance personal knowledge base, and identify strategies that resonate with special populations. This 24th Annual Conference will be May 2-5, in Tempe, Arizona. Go to http://www.physicalfitness.org on the web, or call (317) 237-5630.

SOPHE MID-YEAR CONFERENCE: SOPHE, the Society for Public Health Education, will be holding its mid-year scientific conference May 3-5, 2001 in Seattle, WA. The theme is "Celebrating Diversity in a Climate for Wellness." The conference will provide an opportunity to learn about the latest research and practice related to ethnic, social and health diversity. For more information go to http://www.sophe.org or call (202) 408-9804.

5th ANNUAL SPARK SUMMER INSTITUTES: SPARK (Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids) was developed with funding from the Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. This research project evolved into SPARK Physical Education, a non-profit organization of San Diego State University Foundation, dedicated to improving the quantity and quality of physical education for children and teachers everywhere. This year's summer institutes will be at San Diego State University, July 9-13 and West Virginia University, August 6-10. To request an information flyer for either workshop, phone (800) SPARK PE or e-mail: jfrank@sparkpe.org. Leave your name, address, daytime telephone number, and e-mail address. Pre-registration deadline is June 29, 2001 for San Diego and July 3, 2001 for West Virginia. On the web at http://www.sparkpe.org/summer.jsp.

FIRST NATIONAL CONGRESS OF PEDESTRIAN ADVOCATES: American Walks, the national coalition of pedestrian advocates, has organized the First National Congress of Pedestrian Advocates, August 16-18, in Oakland, CA. Pedestrian advocates from around the country are encouraged to attend. The congress will provide opportunities for training in fundraising, organizing for advocacy, and community design for pedestrian comfort and safety. The purpose of the Congress is to expand the growth of grassroots pedestrian advocacy to strengthen the health of all Americans and improve the livability of their communities. For more information, send your name, e-mail address, telephone, and postal address to info@americawalks.org.

TRAILLINK 2001: The 3rd International Trails and Greenways Conference will meet in St. Louis, September 26 - 29, 2001. Trails and greenways are gaining attention as tools for addressing a wide array of issues around the world. Major conference themes include Public Health and Trails, Smart Growth, Safe Routes to School, Urban Regional Trail System, and Reauthorization on the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century.

Join thousands of trail supporters who will share experiences and new information to move the growing trails and greenways community into the new century. Visit www.railtrails.org for conference details including how to submit presentation proposals. E-mail rtcconf@transact.org or phone 202-974-5152 to get on the mailing list.

Writers: Delores Pluto, Regina Fields, Ralph Welsh, Catrine Tudor-Locke

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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