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"Promoting Health through Physical Activity"

Greetings from the faculty, staff, and students in the USC Prevention Research Center. We are in the "dog days" of August - it is brutally hot and humid in South Carolina. We must walk, play tennis, jog and do our other outdoor activities early in the morning. In the last issue of the PRC Notes, I mentioned that the importance of the environment for physical activity is catching on in areas related to housing developments, city planning, and marketing of communities in the US and in other countries. There are several research studies are underway of the link between the physical activity environment and physical activity behavior. Results from these studies will be useful for policy, planning, and physical activity promotion activities designed to enhance active lifestyles. We hope you enjoy your physical activities during the remaining days of summer.

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

IN THIS ISSUE - June/July 2002

NEWS YOU CAN USE: BAM, Walking on the Web, Kidnetic

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON: New Surgeon General, Progress in PA Funding, Healthier US Initiative, New President's Council

RESEARCH NOTES: Multiple Levels of Influence on PA, PA and Perceptions of the Environment, Innovations in Promoting PA

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES: PA and Community Design, Bikeability Checklist, PA and Older Adults

PROMOTING ACTIVE COMMUNITIES: VERB: It's What You Do, Walkable Community Workshops, Safe Routes to School, Promoting PA through Trails

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: Chronic Disease Conference Call for Abstracts, Walk21 IV Call for Abstracts, Healthy Schools Summit, SOPHE Annual Meeting, APHA Annual Meeting


BAM! CDC's Office of Communication and the Information Resource Management Office (IRMO) recently launched BAM! (Body and Mind), an e?zine for kids. Aimed at youth ages 9 ? 13, BAM! was created to answer kids' questions on health issues and recommend ways to make their bodies and minds healthier, stronger, and safer. Published quarterly, this first issue of BAM! focuses on physical activity and how other health areas (such as infectious disease, asthma, safety/injury, disability, etc.) are related to physical activity. While future editions of BAM! will address other interrelated health issues, the content for this and future editions will remain accessible on the site. BAM! also provides middle school health and science teachers with interactive activities that are educational and fun. Visit http://www.bam.gov.

WALKING ON THE WEB: Check out the website for "America's Walking," the PBS show hosted by walking advocate Mark Fenton. In addition to information about personal health & fitness, nutrition, fitness apparel, and travel destinations, the site contains a "call to action" to encourage people to make their communities more walkable. There is also a place to share your own story about walking to fitness. Go to http://www.pbs.org/americaswalking/index.html.

KIDNETIC: Kidnetic.com is a website designed to communicate healthy eating and active living information to kids aged 9-12 and their families. The site encourages kids and their families to begin the process of adopting healthy lifestyles. This is the first component of ACTIVATE, an educational outreach program of the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation. Find out more at http://www.kidnetic.com.

For a list of PA related observances and events, visit the PA links section of our website at http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/palinks/index.htm.


NEW SURGEON GENERAL: Dr. Richard Carmona was confirmed as US Surgeon General on July 23, 2002. Dr. Carmona succeeds Dr. David Satcher, whose term expired earlier this year. Carmona is a trauma surgeon and was a part-time sheriff's deputy in Arizona. At his confirmation hearing, he promised to promote prevention of disease, and he said he is well-suited to help in preparations to combat bioterrorism. (From Associated Press reports)

PROGRESS IN PA FUNDING: On July 18, the US Senate Appropriations committee decided on funding levels for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. The committee recommended $50 million for Nutrition, Physical Activity & Obesity (an 80% increase), a 7.6% increase for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, level funding for the Preventive Health & Health Services Block Grant, and a 42% decrease for the Youth Media Campaign on physical activity. The appropriations bill now goes to the Senate for its approval.
The House Appropriations committee decides on funding levels on its own, and after the House passes the appropriations bill the Senate and the House will reconcile their versions before sending the bill to President Bush for his signature. The House Appropriations committee may consider the bill immediately after Labor Day.
An interesting side-note: In the bill, the Senate included a recommendation that "the CDC urge its grantees to establish a position of statewide physical activity coordinator…." The committee suggests the position could be located in the state health department, Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, or in the state education department.

HEALTHIER US INITIATIVE: With a "Fitness Expo" on the White House lawn in June, President Bush announced the "Healthier US Initiative" to promote healthy behaviors including physical activity. The President signed an Executive Order instructing several federal agencies to review policies, programs and regulations that might relate to personal fitness and to determine if changes need to be made. The Order also establishes a Personal Fitness Interagency Working Group to coordinate Federal physical activity programs.
As part of the initiative, a Memorandum of Understanding to Promote Public Health and Recreation was signed by the Departments of Agriculture, the Interior, Health and Human Services, and the Army Corps of Engineers, committing the departments to "work together to promote uses and benefits of the Nation's public lands and water resources to enhance the physical and psychological health and well being of the American people." In addition, a report highlighting the benefits of physical activity for disease prevention was released (http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/physicalactivity), as was a Fitness Policy Book (http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/fitness/fitness-policy-book.pdf ) and a "Healthier US" website for consumers (http://www.healthierus.gov/). For more information, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/fitness/.

NEW PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL: As part of the Healthier US Initiative, President Bush appointed new members to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. The purpose of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS) is to "serve as a catalyst to promote, encourage and motivate Americans of all ages to become physically active and participate in sports. Assisted by elements of the US Public Health Service, the PCPFS advises the President and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on how to encourage more Americans to be physically fit and active." Mr. Lynn Swann was appointed Chairman, and Dr. Dorothy Richardson was appointed Vice-Chairman. Swann was a wide receiver on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the late 70's, and is now with ABC Sports. Richardson is an orthopedic surgeon and Medical Director of the National Training Center. She was a two-time Olympic Gold medallist in softball (1996 & 2000). For a full list of new appointees and other new information from the Council, see http://www.fitness.gov/index.html.


MULTIPLE LEVELS OF INFLUENCE ON PA: The Study on Environmental and Individual Determinants of Physical Activity (the SEID project) used a social ecological approach to examine the influences of individual, social environmental, and physical environmental factors on recreational physical activity. In this cross-sectional survey of 1,803 adults aged 18-59 years working and living in Perth, Western Australia, 59% of respondents exercised as recommended, and more respondents used recreational facilities located near home than elsewhere. The most frequently used facilities were streets (46%), public open spaces (29%), and beaches (23%). The physical environment's influence on exercising as recommended was second to both individual and social physical environment influences measured in the study. Giles-Corti & Donovan. "The Relative Influence of Individual, Social and Physical Environment Determinants of Physical Activity." Social Science & Medicine, 54:1793-1812, 2002.

PA AND PERCEPTIONS OF THE ENVIRONMENT: Researchers in this study investigated the relationship between PA (walking and stage of change) and perceptions of the environment (aesthetic and practical) among a random sample of 1,200 adults age 40-60 living in New South Wales, Australia. The aesthetic environment was assessed for perceived safety, friendliness, attractiveness, and pleasantness of the area, while the practical environment was assessed for whether shops were within walking distance and whether beaches, parks or cycleways were nearby. Both environmental factors were associated with a higher stage of change for PA. Specifically, maintainers held a more positive view of the environment than did contemplators. Both factors were also correlated with time spent walking: those who walked more held more positive views of the environment. Carnegie, Bauman, Marshall, et al. "Perceptions of the Physical Environment, Stage of Change for Physical Activity, and Walking Among Australian Adults." Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 73(2):146-155, 2002.

INNOVATIONS IN PROMOTING PA: A supplement to the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine contains papers from the Cooper Clinic Conference Innovative Approaches to Understanding and Influencing Physical Activity. This excellent collection includes two cross-sectional studies on the relationship between the physical environment and PA. Berrigan & Troiano look at the relationship between home age and walking behavior using data from NHANES III. Adults who lived in homes built before 1973 in urban and suburban neighborhoods were more likely to walk 20 or more times per month than people living in newer homes. Housing age may be an acceptable proxy for features of the urban environment that support walking. For more details on the study, read Berrigan & Troiano. "The Association Between Urban Form and Physical Activity in US Adults." American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 23(2S):74-79, 2002.

Craig et al. looked at the relationship between the environment and walking to work in Canada by combining Canadian census data with environmental assessments of a wide variety of neighborhoods in Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta. Examples of environmental measures included the number and variety of destinations, continuity of walking and transportation routes, and safety assessments. These items were combined into an environmental score that was significantly related to walking to work. This relationship depended on the degree of urbanization in the neighborhood. Details are included in Craig, Brownson, Cragg, & Dunn. "Exploring the Effect of the Environment on Physical Activity." American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 23(2S): 36-43, 2002.

For additional summaries of recent research on promoting physically active lifestyles, visit the Research Updates section of our website at http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/updates/index.htm.


PA AND COMMUNITY DESIGN: The National Center for Bicycling & Walking (NCBW) has just published "Increasing Physical Activity Through Community Design." Developed under a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this 48-page guide is designed to provide public health practitioners and others an introduction to increasing physical activity through better community design, specifically by making it easier and safer to bicycle and walk. It presents an introduction to community design issues and describes seven kinds of projects that can help create more bicycle-friendly and walkable communities. It also discusses how such projects are funded and presents an array of resources to help with implementation. Printed copies of the new guide will be sent directly to each of the state public health departments. It is also available online at http://www.bikewalk.org/ncbw_pubs.php.

BIKEABILITY CHECKLIST: The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center recently released a "Bikeability Checklist." The simple seven-question checklist can help people
rate how friendly their communities are for bicycling, identify problem areas, and find short? and long?term solutions to improve each community's score. Sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the new tool can be downloaded at http://www.bicyclinginfo.org.

PA AND OLDER ADULTS: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recently published "Physical Activity and Older Americans: Benefits and Strategies." In addition to describing the importance of physical activity, the prevalence and costs of inactivity, and the health benefits of regular activity, the report presents strategies for promoting PA among older adults. The report is part of "Put Prevention into Practice (PPIP)," a program to increase the appropriate use of clinical preventive services, such as screening tests, immunizations, and counseling, based on US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations. You will find the document at http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/activity.htm


VERB: IT'S WHAT YOU DO: In July, HHS Secretary Thompson announced the launch of the Youth Media Campaign to promote physical activity and other positive activities for 9? to 13?year?olds (tweens). The message is simple: Verbs are active and kids should be too, so pick your favorite verb ? run, skip, swim, dance, play, volunteer, join clubs ? and do it. Short TV commercials promoting the VERB campaign started to air in June, featuring action verbs morphing into a child's form. Longer ads will be out this fall that show real kids doing activities. The campaign will continue to expand over the coming months with additional activities and events to coincide with the beginning of the school year. The VERB Web site, http://www.verbnow.com, offers many interactive features that will help tweens get active. You can get more information about the campaign at the CDC website http://www.cdc.gov/youthcampaign.

SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL: "Way to Go!" is a school program in British Columbia that fosters safer, healthier travel alternatives for elementary and middle school students. The program website includes a tool kit with travel surveys for parents and teachers, mapping strategies and activities, and suggestions for developing safe walking and cycling strategies. The website also contains traffic safety resources and ideas for special events. See http://www.waytogo.icbc.bc.ca/index.html.

WALKABLE COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS: The National Center for Bicycling & Walking (NCBW) is offering Walkable Community Workshops (aka pedestrian road shows) as part of its program to support community design for active living (sponsored in part by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation). In just four hours, these workshop sessions have helped groups composed of elected officials, local government staff, and citizens analyze their situation and identify needed improvements. Communities that participated in the past have developed traffic calming programs that work, revitalized main streets, created more pedestrian?friendly intersections, and launched safe routes to school programs. The end result - more people walking! To apply, partner with your local Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to complete an application by August 15. The program will operate on a shared cost basis: each selected Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) will provide a $7,000 fee and, in exchange, will receive approximately $20,000 worth of technical assistance and direct support. For details on how the program works and an application form, go to http://www.bikewalk.org/get_organized/ get_organized_implementation.htm. If you have any questions, contact John Williams, NCBW's project manager, at john@montana.com.

PROMOTING PA THROUGH TRAILS: A new page at CDC's Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity web?site has been posted at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physical/trails.htm to discuss the benefits of trails for increasing PA.


CHRONIC DISEASE CONFERENCE CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: The 17th National Conference on Chronic Disease Prevention and Control is planned for February 19 - 21, 2003 in St Louis, MO. Abstracts for "Gateway to Lifelong Health: The Community Connection" will be accepted until 6pm EST, Sep 6, 2002. Information is available on the conference website at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/conference/index.htm.

WALK21 IV CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: Planning is now underway for "Walk21 IV: Health, Equity & Environment," the Fourth International Conference on Walking in the 21st Century. The conference will be held in Portland, Oregon, USA, May 1-3, 2003. The conference is being organized by America Walks, a coalition of pedestrian advocacy organizations from across the US. The deadline for submitting abstracts has been extended to Monday, September 16, 2002. For more information, visit the conference website at http://americawalks.org/walk21, or send e-mail to info@americawalks.org.

HEALTHY SCHOOLS SUMMIT: Mrs. Laura Bush, Dr. David Satcher, and more than 30 national organizations are collaborating on a "Healthy Schools Summit: Taking Action for Children's Nutrition and Health," which will take place October 7?8, 2002, in Washington DC. Conference participants will examine solutions for creating healthier school environments and establishing state teams to develop local actions. Visit the Healthy Schools Summit website for more information on the conference and ways to support child nutrition and physical activity (http://www.actionforhealthykids.org).

SOPHE ANNUAL MEETING: The annual meeting of the Society for Public Health Education, titled "Declaring Our Interdependence: United for Health" will take place Nov 8-9, 2002, Philadelphia. Visit http://www.sophe.org for more information.

APHA ANNUAL MEETING: The 130th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association: "Putting the Public Back into Public Health" will be held Nov 9-13, 2002, in Philadelphia. For more information, go to http://www.apha.org/meetings/index.htm.

For a more complete list of conferences and workshops, visit the PA links section of our website at http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/PAlinks/index.html.

Writers: Delores Pluto, Regina Fields, Tracy Pearch

This and past issues of the "University of South Carolina Prevention Research Center Notes" are available at our website. If you would like to submit an item, 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, join the Physical Activity and Public Health On-Line Network listserv. Instructions are located on our website, at http://prevention.sph.sc.edu.

The USC Prevention Research Center is a member of the CDC Prevention Research Center's National Network, consisting of 26 Centers in the US. For more information about the PRC National Network, visit http://www.cdc.gov/prc/index.htm.
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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