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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

Seasons greetings from the faculty, staff, and students in the Prevention Research Center. The end of 2001 brings to a close a year of many highs and lows for the world, our nation, and each of us personally. Thank you for your continued support of our Prevention Research Center's efforts to increase understanding of the how policy and environmental supports for physical activity can improve our nation's health. We are delighted that you continue to receive and read our newsletter and hope you find the information professionally and personally interesting.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2002.

Barb Ainsworth, Director
Dennis Shepard, Deputy Director
Delores Pluto, Newsletter Editor (dmpluto@sc.edu)
IN THIS ISSUE - November/December 2001

This issue includes a number of articles about work going on outside the US. Thanks to our international readers who submitted suggestions and information. - Editor

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Stay Active This Winter; Bikes Belong Awards Grant

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON: Surgeon General's Call to Action on Obesity

RESEARCH NOTES: Evaluation of Active for Life Program; Social Support and PA; Neighborhood Hazards & Children's PA; PA Perceptions Among Older Latino Adults

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES: PA Interactive Health Statistics; World Health Organization; PA and Quality of Life In Older Adults; Sisters Together; Weight And Health Website

PROMOTING ACTIVE COMMUNITIES: Active Kids, Healthy Kids; Active Living at Work; Push Play Day; 10,000 Steps Rockhampton; Supportive Environments for Physical Activity; PA and Community Design; Built Environment and Public Health

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: Developing Lifestyle Physical Activity Programs; National Conference on Aging and Mobility



STAY ACTIVE THIS WINTER: The winter edition of the "ACSM Fit Society Page" focuses on "Winter Activities and Sports." Articles offer suggestions for staying warm and dry, avoiding winter hazards (like frostbite and hypothermia), and preventing injuries. This free newsletter is available at http://www.acsm.org/publications/newsletters.htm.

BIKES BELONG AWARDS GRANT: Bikes Belong, an industry coalition committed to putting more people on bicycles more often, recently awarded a $10,000 grant to the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) of Portland, Oregon. The grant will help fund a connector trail leading from downtown Portland to 30 continuous miles of trail through the city and into the foothills of Mount Hood. The BTA will also use the grant to advocate for $4 million in TEA-21 money to build three bridges over a creek, a major highway, and railroad tracks. For more information on this and other projects and the Bikes Belong Coalition grant program, go to their website at http://www.bikesbelong.org.


SURGEON GENERAL'S CALL TO ACTION ON OBESITY: U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and Surgeon General David Satcher released "The Surgeon General's Call To Action To Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity" at a press conference in Washington, DC on Thursday, December 13, 2001. The document highlights the critical nature of the epidemic of overweight and obesity, identifies crucial priorities for action, and mobilizes national collaborative efforts to address it. Some of the recommended strategies include requiring PE in all school grades, providing more healthy food options at schools, and providing safe and accessible recreation facilities for people of all ages. The document and related fact sheets are available at http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/obesity/.


EVALUATION OF ACTIVE FOR LIFE PROGRAM (England): This study evaluated the impact of a 3-year social marketing campaign aimed at increasing knowledge, acceptability, and uptake of moderate PA recommendations that were released in 1995. The ACTIVE for LIFE campaign utilized social marketing tools such as advertising, public relations, and publicity to communicate the recommendations to specific priority groups. Over the course of the campaign a nationally representative sample of English residents were surveyed for changes in awareness and behavior. Results indicate that the comprehensive campaign targeting moderate intensity activity was successful in increasing knowledge of the new PA recommendations although no significant improvements were seen in PA behavior during the measurement period. The authors suggest that these results support the idea that it takes time to affect ingrained social trends at a national level and future PA campaigns may be more successful in changing behavior if they target individuals ready to adopt moderate intensity PA. See Hillsdon, Cavill, Nanchahal, et al. "National Level Promotion of Physical Activity: Results from England's ACTIVE for LIFE Campaign." Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 55:755-761, 2001.

SOCIAL SUPPORT AND PA (Canada): Canadian researchers examined the relationship between general social support and levels of leisure time physical activity among a sample of Ontario adults. General social support measures included a) familial structure, b) social quantity, c) functional support, and d) social frequency, while leisure time physical activity was assessed with the Minnesota Leisure Time Activity Questionnaire and expressed as daily energy expenditure. Results indicate that social quantity (number of friends/ family members) and social frequency (frequency of contact) were both associated with higher levels of PA. Conversely, certain family structures (based on marital/cohabitation and parental status) were associated with lower levels of PA. These findings provide support for programs and policies that aim to enhance PA by providing social interactions for participants and support for individuals whose family circumstances make PA participation difficult. See Spanier and Allison. "General Social Support and Physical Activity: An Analysis of the Ontario Health Survey." Canadian Journal of Public Health, 92(3):210-213, 2001.

NEIGHBORHOOD HAZARDS & CHILDREN'S PA (Northern California): Researchers studied the relationship between the perceptions of neighborhood hazards and physical activity, physical fitness, and BMI in 796 fourth graders. Most of the children were Latino or Asian and came from a variety of socioeconomic levels. Surveys asked the children about neighborhood hazards (e.g., traffic, trash/litter, crime, noise, gangs, access to parks, prejudice, and drugs) and self-reported physical activity. The researchers found that lower SES children perceived more neighborhood hazards, but contrary to what was expected, this perception was not related to physical activity level or physical fitness. In the higher SES children, the perception of more hazards was actually associated with higher reported physical activity. The authors comment that the measure of neighborhood hazards may not have been sensitive enough because it assessed whether the children thought the hazard was a problem in general, not whether they were afraid of the hazard or whether the hazard prevented them from playing outdoors. They also speculate that parents' perceptions of neighborhood hazards might be more important than the children's perceptions, because parents may limit their children's opportunities for outdoor physical activity. See Romero, Robinson, Kraemer, et al. "Are Perceived Neighborhood Hazards a Barrier to Physical Activity in Children?" Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 155:1143-1148, October 2001.

PA PERCEPTIONS AMONG OLDER LATINO ADULTS (Massachusetts): Researchers utilized qualitative focus groups to examine the perceptions of older Latino adults toward physical fitness, PA, and exercise. The interview guide used in the focus group sessions elicited older Latinos' perceptions of physical fitness, PA, and exercise; benefits of PA and exercise; and barriers and facilitators to PA and exercise participation. Key findings included: 1) physical fitness was viewed as being able to do anything and the mind and body working together, 2) PA and exercise were viewed as interchangeable terms with participation being viewed as providing mostly positive effects; 3) exercise and PA were considered to be culturally inappropriate among older Latinos; 4) barriers to exercise included fear of PA within this population; and 5) facilitators for PA and exercise included support and motivation with support being expressed in terms of community resources, group support, cultural unity, and health provider assistance. The authors also suggest that determining an older Latino's readiness to undertake a PA/exercise program should be a critical component of PA/exercise counseling by health care providers. See Melillo, Williamson, Houde, et al. "Perceptions of Exercise Among Older Latino Adults." Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 27(9):38-46, 2001.

For additional summaries of recent research on promoting physically active lifestyles in community settings, look at the Research Updates at http://prevention.sph.sc.edu.


PA INTERACTIVE HEALTH STATISTICS: CDC's Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity recently added an interactive health statistics section to their website. Find out how physical activity levels in your state compare to the U.S. national average, changes in activity level in the last few years, and health differences by gender, age, race/ethnicity, and education level. Go to http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physical/stats/ to find out.

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: WHO's new Fact Sheet on Physical Activity is now available online. The one-page fact sheet gives global statistics on risk factors and disease that can be reduced through physical activity, lists strategies for action, and WHO contacts. Other physical activity information is also available on the WHO website (http://www.who.int/hpr/gs.fs.pa.shtml).

PA AND QUALITY OF LIFE IN OLDER ADULTS: See the October 2001 issue of the Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, Volume 56A (Special Issue II) for reviews about nutrition, physical activity and quality of life in older adults.

SISTERS TOGETHER (update): "Sisters Together: Move More, Eat Better" is a national media-based program designed to encourage Black women 18 and over to maintain a healthy weight by becoming more physically active and eating healthier foods. The program, sponsored by the Weight-control Information Network (WIN), a national information service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), builds on a successful community awareness program held in Boston from 1995 to 1998. National and local newspapers, magazines, and radio stations will serve as channels to further raise awareness among Black women about the health benefits of regular physical activity and healthy eating. WIN has created three new colorful, age appropriate, and culturally relevant brochures that offer Black women, their families, and their friends practical, science-based tips to help them move more and eat better to improve their quality of life. The brochures are "Celebrate the Beauty of Youth," "Energize Yourself & Your Family," and "Fit and Fabulous as You Mature." For more information about WIN and the Sisters Together Media program, consumers and health professionals can call WIN's toll-free number (877) 946-4627 or the local DC number (202) 828-1025. Additional information is available at the campaign website (http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/nutrit/sisters/sisters.htm) and on the WIN home page (http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/nutrit/win.htm).

WEIGHT AND HEALTH WEBSITE: The Center for Weight and Health at the University of California, Berkeley has launched a new website with resources, tools, literature, links, and directories related to weight, physical activity, and nutrition. The literature section contains a comprehensive list of citations of peer-reviewed articles and reports, including sections on physical activity and surveillance. The new site can be accessed at http://www.cnr.berkeley.edu/cwh/.


ACTIVE KIDS, HEALTHY KIDS (Nova Scotia): The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) of Nova Scotia, Canada has several resources available on their website as part of the Active Kids, Healthy Kids initiative. The site includes background information, strategies, supporting research, and ongoing efforts. Go to http://preview.tinyurl.com/yvehdv.

ACTIVE LIVING AT WORK (Canada): The new Business Case for Active Living at Work website summarizes research relating workplace active living with improved productivity, morale, and job satisfaction and reduced employee absenteeism and turnover. The site also includes "how to" sections, tips, and case studies of active workplaces and online articles on the economics of workplace physical activity. The site (located at http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/pau-uap/fitness/work/index.html is part of part of the national strategy to decrease physical inactivity among Canadians by 10 per cent by 2003.

PUSH PLAY DAY (New Zealand): On Nov. 9, 2001, New Zealand held its annual Push Play Day, which sets the pace for yearlong activities and advocates for New Zealanders to get off the sofa and get active. Push Play involves communities, schools, businesses, and the population at large in various forms of physical activity and is sponsored by the Hillary Commission for Sport, Fitness and Leisure. The Hillary Commission also offers numerous physical activity publications online. For more information go to http://www.sparc.org.nz/research/index.php.

10,000 STEPS ROCKHAMPTON (Australia): An innovative community-based project to increase physical activity in the adult population, 10,000 Steps Rockhampton is funded by Queensland Health as a two-year, community based physical activity demonstration project. The project will utilize five strategies to promote physical activity including media, health professionals, social support, policy and environmental interventions, and a community fund to support small local projects. The study will also involve the use of pedometers to raise awareness and to motivate participants to achieve "Ten Thousand Steps a Day." For more information, contact Elizabeth Eakin at the Schools of Public Health and Human Movement Studies at Queensland University of Technology, e.eakin@qut.edu.au.

SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENTS FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY - SEPA (Australia): In 1996 the National Heart Foundation (NHF) of Australia's South Australian Division initiated SEPA to increase participation in 'incidental' physical activity, for example walking to the corner shop for a paper or carton of milk. See the original research report titled "Exercise in Daily Life: Supportive Environments" on the NHF web site (http://www.heartfoundation.com.au). SEPA has since created "Supportive Environments for Physical Activity: Guidelines for Local Government" to give pictorial and textual examples of how an environment that supports active living would look and function. The document is designed to be 'generic' and presents objectives under four categories: Street Networks, Neighbourhood Destinations, Pedestrians & Cyclists, and Development Layout. For each of the objectives there are a number of actions ranging from macro to micro level interventions. This document is sold for a nominal fee ($7.00 Aus) to cover printing. Project team members are currently undertaking a research project as part of the development of a walking strategy for South Australia and welcome any feedback from researchers in the field, especially in relation to economic costs benefit analysis of pedestrianized environments, organizational constraints or facilitators to walking, and case studies of successful walking environments and how they have been achieved. Contact Robyn Cox at Robyn.Cox@heartfoundation.com.au.

PA AND COMMUNITY DESIGN: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) recently published "Healthy Places, Healthy People: Promoting Public Health & Physical Activity Through Community Design." This document is based on discussions at a meeting in November 2000, during which 26 experts exchanged information, identified barriers, and formulated possible strategies for reintegrating physical activity into community design. The document is available on the web at http://www.rwjf.org/programareas/resources/product.jsp?id=15735&pid=1138&gsa=1.

BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC HEALTH: The CDC's National Center for Environmental Health has released a new report linking land use and public health. "Creating a Healthy Environment: The Impact of the Built Environment on Public Health" compiles research from multiple disciplines and explores the relationship between the built environment and physical activity; the impact of urban design on the number of pedestrian injuries and deaths, particularly among children; and the choices communities make about the built environment that impact mobility and quality of life for elderly and disabled residents. The report can be found at the Sprawl Watch Clearinghouse,


DEVELOPING LIFESTYLE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PROGRAMS: A 2.5-day Cooper Institute workshop on developing, implementing and evaluating lifestyle physical activity programs will be held on the following dates in 2002: Jan. 21-23, July 22-24, and Oct. 14-16. The cost is $465.00 per person. Topics will include assessing a client's physical activity readiness, leading effective group sessions, designing user-friendly educational materials, and evaluating programs. Register on-line at http://www.cooperinst.org or call 800-635-7050 ext. 3530. For further information contact Michelle Edwards or Ruth Ann Carpenter at (800) 635-7050, ext. 3231 or 3249.

NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON AGING AND MOBILITY: "Senior Mobility in the 21st Century-What Can We Do to Prepare?" will be held March 25-27, 2002, in Scottsdale, Arizona. This conference is designed to help local governments and community-based organizations respond to the transportation challenges related to an aging population. The conference is sponsored by the Maricopa Association of Governments in collaboration with over 30 metropolitan planning organizations, national nonprofits, and regional and local governments and agencies. Workshops and sessions will be organized around four tracks, including transportation planning/design and project development, senior friendly development planning, alternative transportation, and older driver issues and programs. For registration and information, go to http://www.mag.maricopa.gov/detail.cms?item=187


SUMTER UPDATE: Some exciting things have been happening in our partner community of Sumter, SC. In the last year the city of Sumter has hired one full-time and three part-time park rangers for the city parks. They are also training additional police officers for mounted park patrol. The city has set aside $1 million from sales taxes for city parks and the Sumter Urban Area Transit system has earmarked funds for new sidewalks and streetscapes. Three members of Sumter County Active Lifestyles (SCAL) have been appointed to serve on the "Play" subcommittee of the city's visioning project to assess and plan for overall community improvement and quality of life. SCAL will be submitting recommendations to the metropolitan planning organization to help prioritize sidewalk and bike lane construction. The city has agreed to put up signs marking the routes that appear on SCAL's walking map. The city also approved an Adopt A Park project, and SCAL is busy recruiting community and industry sponsors.

Writers: Delores Pluto, Lillian Smith, Ralph Welsh, Regina Fields

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, visit our website, http://prevention.sph.sc.edu, for instructions on joining the Physical Activity and Public Health On-Line Network listserv.

The USC Prevention Research Center is a member of the CDC Prevention Research Center's National Network, consisting of 26 Centers in the U.S. *****************************************************************************
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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