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"Promoting Health Through Physical Activity"

"It's summer time and the living is easy!" We hope this newsletter finds you enjoying summer and the variety of physical activity opportunities available to you. As the temperature rises, folks head outside to take part in a variety of recreational opportunities that engage them in physical activity while enjoying a break from their usual routine. The challenge we face is helping folks make physical activity part of their everyday lives, so they'll think the "living is easy" all year long. As reported in the last newsletter, Barbara Ainsworth, Director of the USC Prevention Research Center, accepted a position as the Department Chair of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University. We wish her the best and offer many thanks for her leadership and guidance in building a Prevention Research Center. She will be missed, but she assures us that she will continue to be a physical activity policy and environmental champion…it'll just be from the West coast. Thanks Barb!

Dennis Shepard, Deputy Director
Delores Pluto, Newsletter Editor (dmpluto@sc.edu)
IN THIS ISSUE – May/June 2003

NEWS YOU CAN USE: National Therapeutic Recreation Week; Newspaper Series on Obesity

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON: Pedestrian and Cycling Equity Act; SAFETEA

RESEARCH NOTES: Measuring Environmental Supports for PA; Pedometer-Driven Walking Program for Older Adults; Associations Between Overweight and The Environment; Walk21 IV Proceedings

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES: Expert Report on Nutrition, PA, and Chronic Diseases; New PA Report; HHS Prevention Portfolio; Bicycle and Pedestrian Attitudes; Economic Analysis of Healthy Eating and PA; Cost of Physical Inactivity in Michigan; Eat Smart. Play Hard; Walking School Bus Website; Updated DNPA Website

PROMOTING ACTIVE COMMUNITIES: Bicycle-Friendly Community Awards; Designing & Building Healthy Places Website; Marketing and Communication Guide

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: The Avera Lifestyle Challenge Audio Conference; Velo-City 2003


NATIONAL THERAPEUTIC RECREATION WEEK: National Therapeutic Recreation Week is July 14-18. Visit http://www.nrpa.org/content/default.aspx?documentId=4839 for more information on the National Therapeutic Recreation Society.

NEWSPAPER SERIES ON OBESITY: The Shape We're In, a five-part newspaper series focusing on PA and obesity, ran in newspapers across the country starting May 27. The series, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services, focused a media spotlight on obesity and highlighted a different aspect of the obesity problem each day. If you missed the series, you can read the articles at http://www.shapenews.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.


PEDESTRIAN AND CYCLING EQUITY ACT. On May 18, Congressman James L. Oberstar (D-MN) announced the introduction of a bill to fund Safe Routes to School and create more bikeable and walkable communities. The Pedestrian and Cyclist Equity Act of 2003 (PACE) includes a national Safe Routes to School program which would provide $250 million a year to fix unsafe conditions on roads near schools and encourage children to walk and bike to school. Grants available through PACE would also help communities encourage more PA through the design of their transportation systems. The PACE initiative will likely be folded into the reauthorization of the transportation funding bill which Congress will consider this session. In addition to funding Safe Routes to School initiatives, PACE proposes spending $25 million a year on active living grants and $25 million a year for each of 3 demonstration projects. For more information, see http://www.americabikes.org.

SAFETEA: On May 14, the Bush administration introduced its transportation reauthorization bill, called Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2003 (SAFETEA). The bill retains the transportation enhancements program and maintains broad eligibility of bicycles and pedestrian projects in major funding categories. To keep up with the debate on reauthorization in general, refer to the website of the Surface Transportation Policy Project at http://www.tea21.org. America Bikes Bicycle has cycling-related information at http://www.americabikes.org, and the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA) has policy positions related to reauthorization at http://www.cspinet.org/mutritionpolicy/nana.html.


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.

MEASURING ENVIRONMENTAL SUPPORTS FOR PA: A community survey was administered to assess residents' perceptions of the physical and social environmental supports for PA. The perceptions were validated at the neighborhood and community level using geographic information system (GIS) technology, and test-retest reliability of the community survey was also assessed. The findings showed fair to low agreement between residents' perceptions and the GIS data. Residents who were regularly active reported highest agreement with access to recreation facilities while those who were not regularly active reported the greatest agreement with safety of recreation facilities. Kirtland, Porter, Addy et al. "Environmental Measures of Physical Activity Supports: Perception Versus Reality." American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 24(4):323-331, 2003..

PEDOMETER-DRIVEN WALKING PROGRAM FOR OLDER ADULTS: A recent study tested the effectiveness of a home-based, pedometer-driven walking program on PA levels in older adults with osteoarthritis of the knee. Two groups of participants were compared on number of steps taken, muscle strength, and functional performance. The intervention group participated in a walking program and received 12 weeks of arthritis self-management education while the control group only received arthritis education. Participants in the intervention group showed a 23% increase in daily steps taken while those in the control group showed a 16% decrease. In addition, the intervention group showed significant increases in muscle strength and functional performance compared to the control group. Talbot, Gaines, Huynh, et al. "A home-based pedometer-driven walking program to increase physical activity in older adults with osteoarthritis of the knee: A preliminary study." Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 51:387-392, 2003.

ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN OVERWEIGHT AND THE ENVIRONMENT: The association between being overweight and environmental and policy factors was examined in a cross-sectional study of Missouri adults. The following aspects of the environment were examined to determine their relationship to overweight: 1) community infrastructure that promotes or inhibits PA and healthy eating; 2) perceptions about the safety and pleasantness of the community; and 3) worksite infrastructure. A modest association was found between being overweight and negative perceptions about crime, traffic safety, and the appearance/pleasantness of the community. In addition, being overweight was moderately associated with the lack of outdoor exercise facilities. No association was found with workplace infrastructure, although the absence of sidewalks and shoulders and negative community perceptions were related with overweight among employed persons. Catlin, Simoes, and Brownson. "Environmental and policy factors associated with overweight among adults in Missouri." American Journal of Health Promotion, 17(4):249-258, 2003.

WALK21 IV PROCEEDINGS: Papers from the Walk21 IV: Health, Equity & Environment conference are now available for download at http://www.americawalks.org/walk21/ (click on PROCEEDINGS).


EXPERT REPORT ON NUTRITION, PA, AND CHRONIC DISEASES: The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recently released Diet, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases. The report, which is the result of a two-year-long Joint Expert FAO/WHO consultation, contains current scientific evidence on the relationship between diet, nutrition and PA to chronic diseases. It will be the basis for a global strategy designed to combat the growing problem of chronic diseases. View the press release at http://www.fao.org/english/newsroom/news/2003/16851-en.html.

NEW PA REPORT: According to a new report released by the CDC, about 1 in 5 American adults engage in a high level of PA and about 1 in 4 American adults engage in little or no regular PA, including both at work and during leisure time. The report is the first by HHS to measure PA during a usual day, including both work and leisure time. It is based on data from the National Health Interview Survey, conducted by CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Barnes and Schoenborn. Physical Activity Among Adults: United States, 2000. Advance Data From Vital and Health Statistics, Number 333, May 14, 2003. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs.

HHS PREVENTION PORTFOLIO: As part of the Steps to a HealthierUS Initiative, HHS has released a Prevention Portfolio, a series of three publications that outlines the new initiative that advances President Bush's HealthierUS. The trio of publications includes The Power of Prevention, Prevention Strategies That Work, and Prevention Programs in Action. These publications describe the disease prevention process and provide examples of successful prevention strategies and programs. To download the publications and to find out more, visit http://www.healthierus.gov/steps/.

BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN ATTITUDES: Results were recently released from three surveys on attitudes about bicycling and walking. In a national poll conducted in October 2002, 55% of the American public said they want to walk more, either for exercise or to get to specific destinations. In addition, 68% favor putting more federal money toward improving walkability, even if less money is spent on building roads. The full report is available at http://www.transact.org/report.asp?id=205. A second national poll, conducted in February 2003, found that 53% of those polled favor increased federal spending on bicycle facilities, even if less gas tax money is spent on construction of new roads. For more information, go to: http://www.bikeleague.org/mediacenter/medprs050503.htm. Finally, the 2002 National Survey of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Attitudes and Behaviors found that nearly 80% of Americans take at least one walk of 5 minutes or more during the summer months, but less than one-third ride a bicycle. The survey also found that less than half of those polled are satisfied with their communities' designs for bicycle safety while three out of four people are satisfied with pedestrian safety. Visit http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/survey2002.htm for more information.

ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF HEALTHY EATING AND PA: The Partnership to Promote Healthy Eating and Active Living is focusing on the economic factors that affect lifestyle choices. The Partnership conducted an Economic Analysis that examined the economics of healthy eating and PA behavior, especially as they relate to the obesity epidemic. Preliminary findings were presented at a recent forum and will soon be published in a peer-reviewed journal. A link to the slides from the forum can be found at http://www.ppheal.org/economic_analysis.html.

COST OF PHYSICAL INACTIVITY IN MICHIGAN: A study commissioned by the Michigan Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports has found that physical inactivity is costing the state $8.9 billion, including direct and indirect costs of medical care, workers' compensation, and lost productivity. The study also estimates that the cost could rise 42% to $12.65 billion by 2007 if the current trends continue. For a printed copy of the Executive Summary of the study, contact the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports at 1-800-434-8642 or download copies at http://www.michiganfitness.org.

EAT SMART. PLAY HARD: USDA's Eat Smart. Play Hard.TM campaign has a new website that provides schools, educators, and health workers with resources to promote healthy eating and PA among youth. Resources include posters, brochures, activity sheets, stickers, and guidance materials and can be downloaded at http://www.fns.usda.gov/eatsmartplayhard. The campaign is aimed at promoting positive changes in nutrition and PA among youth and their caregivers and is part of the President's Healthier US initiative.

WALKING SCHOOL BUS WEBSITE: The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center hosts a Walking School Bus Information website. It describes walking school buses, their purpose, and how they function. It also includes several case studies and links to related websites. Visit http://www.walkingschoolbus.org/ for more information.

UPDATED DNPA WEBSITE: CDC's Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity (DNPA) has a new PA section on its website at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physical. The site includes information on the importance of PA, recommendations, measuring PA intensity, getting started, making PA part of your life, components of physical fitness, PA terms, PA links, and resources for the health professional.


BICYCLE-FRIENDLY COMMUNITY AWARDS: The League of American Bicyclists has given its first Bicycle-Friendly Community awards to 14 communities across the U.S. The communities were recognized for having safe accommodations and facilities for bicycling as well as for their efforts to increase opportunities for bicycling through policy and design. More information, along with a list of the winning cities can be found at http://www.bikeleague.org/mediacenter/medprs051503.htm.

DESIGNING & BUILDING HEALTHY PLACES WEBSITE: A CDC web page titled Designing & Building Healthy Places houses information about the interaction between people and their environments. Specific topics include healthy environments, poorly planned growth, and healthy community design. The page also discusses specific health issues related to community design, such as PA, mental health, and social capital. In addition, two publications are highlighted: Urban Sprawl and Public Health and Creating a Healthy Environment: The Impact of The Built Environment on Public Health. The website can be accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/healthyplaces.

MARKETING AND COMMUNICATION GUIDE: Promoting Active Living Communities. A Guide to Marketing and Communication is now available from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The toolkit is designed to help integrate communication strategies into the promotion of active living and includes information on planning communication programs and motivating and persuading an audience. The guide also provides examples from other communication programs as well as helpful tools and resources. Download the guide from

Hard copies can also be ordered free of charge (while supplies last) by contacting Ms. Bobbi Williams at 202-973-3656 or williams@porternovelli.com.


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

THE AVERA LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE AUDIO CONFERENCE: The Avera Lifestyle Challenge: A Successful Community Weight Loss and Exercise Initiative is an audio conference that will be held September 18. The conference will highlight the successes of The Avera Lifestyle Challenge, which is a community weight loss and physical fitness program implemented annually in Estherville, Iowa. To find out more information and to register for the conference go to http://www.communityhlth.org/education/audio.html.


Writers: Delores Pluto, Tracy Pearch

This and past issues of the "University of South Carolina Prevention Research Center Notes" are available on our website at http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/Newsletter/index.htm. To submit an item, please e-mail 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 U.S. 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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