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"Promoting Health through Physical Activity"

As noted in several items in this issue of the newsletter, regular physical activity plays a critical role in reducing the risk for chronic disease, as well as actual health care-related costs. Although many of us have intuitively believed the latter to be true, valid and reliable data from scientific studies are needed to convince policy and decision makers to prioritize resources to implement environmental, policy and organizational strategies to better promote physical activity. To maintain the strong research capacity of USC's PRC, a full-time Physical Activity Epidemiology faculty position in the Arnold School of Public Health's Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics has been created (see ANNOUNCEMENTS below). This position will work closely with PRC faculty and research associates to further explore the environmental and policy determinants of physical activity and strategies for effective population-based intervention. I encourage those of you who are qualified to seriously consider applying for the position and becoming part of our outstanding team.

Another exciting opportunity at USC is the Master's in Public Health (MPH) in Physical Activity and Public Health program.This is the first and only degree of its kind in the US (see ANNOUNCEMENTS below).Students in this degree program will be prepared for employment as physical activity research, measurement, and community intervention specialists. Please consider applying for this program if you are interested in being part of the tomorrow's public health work force responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating effective population-based physical activity programs at the national, state or community level.

The USC Arnold School of Public Health and PRC are well positioned to make major contributions to the field of physical activity research and practice over the next several years. We hope you will join us in this exciting endeavor. To all of the PRC's colleagues, partners, and friends, have a safe and wonderful holiday season!

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

IN THIS ISSUE November/December 2003

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Faculty Position in Epidemiology of PA; MPH in Physical Activity and Public Health

NEWS YOU CAN USE: ADA Walking Book and Pedometer; Fitness Assessment Slide Show; Health Tools

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON: FY2004 Appropriations; Other PA-Related Bills; State Legislation

RESEARCH NOTES: Influence of PA on Health Care Costs; Community Exercise Program and Changes in Health Care Costs; Walking for Physical Activity; 12-Country Reliability and Validity of IPAQ; PA and Breast Cancer Risk; PA and Physical Disablement in Older Adults

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES: Active Commuting to School Guides; Resource Database for Children's PA and Nutrition; Childhood Obesity Prevention Program; PEP Grants Awarded; New Study on Implications of School Siting; Steps Community Awards; Electronic Newsletter for Practitioners

PROMOTING ACTIVE COMMUNITIES: Active Community Environments Guide; Bicycle-Friendly Community Awards

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: Health Education and Promotion Conference; Walk21 Conference



FACULTY POSITION IN EPIDEMIOLOGY OF PA: The University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health is seeking applicants for a tenure-track faculty position in Epidemiology with emphasis on physical activity. The Arnold School of Public Health includes a CDC-funded Prevention Research Center (which focuses on physical activity and public health) and a nationally prominent Department of Exercise Science. The Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics has an exciting, rapidly growing research program in the areas of cancer, diabetes, obesity, physical activity, and diet, with developing research in women's and children's health, molecular epidemiology, and health disparities. Additional information about the position can be found at

The University of South Carolina is an EEO/AA employer.

MPH IN PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND PUBLIC HEALTH: The MPH in PA & PH degree program provides students with unique opportunities to: 1) acquire knowledge and experience in an epidemiological approach to public health problems as related to physical activity, and 2) develop skills integral to the design, implementation and evaluation of public health programs intended to increase physical activity in populations. The application deadline for admission to Fall 2004 is March 1, 2004. For a more detailed description, go to http://www.sph.sc.edu/Documents/MPH.PAPH%20Handbook.pdf to view the MPH in PA & PH handbook. You may also contact Dr. Cheryl Addy at 803 777 5030 for further information.


ADA WALKING BOOK AND PEDOMETER: The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has published a book on walking called Small Steps, Big Rewards: Walking Your Way to Better Health. The book is filled with helpful advice and tips on walking and comes with a pedometer. Find out more at http://www.diabetes.org/.

FITNESS ASSESSMENT SLIDE SHOW: The Mayo Clinic provides a fitness assessment slide show that gives instructions for testing aerobic fitness, muscular fitness, flexibility, body composition, and body mass index. The assessment can be used to track progress throughout a fitness program. Go to http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/HealthToolsIndex/HealthToolsIndex and click on "Assess your fitness level."

HEALTH TOOLS: Preventdisease.com is a non-profit organization operated by Ontario Active that provides high-quality health information for preventive education. Along with a wealth of information on various preventable health conditions, the website provides a "Health Tools" section that provides practical tools for measuring health parameters and risks, such as BMI, calories burned, fitness, and heart attack risk. Visit http://www.preventdisease.com/healthtools/tools.html to try these fun and informative tools!

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.


FY2004 APPROPRIATIONS: The federal government is operating under a continuing resolution until at least Nov 21. Both the House and Senate have passed separate labor, health and human services, and education appropriations bills. These must still be reconciled in conference. Keep track of the status of appropriations bills at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app04.html.

OTHER PA RELATED BILLS: The Pedestrian and Cyclist Equity Act (PACE), introduced in the House in May (HR 2568), is still in committee. The Improved Nutrition and Physical Activity Act (IMPACT Act), which amends the Public Health Service Act to address issues of overweight and obesity, is still in committees in the Senate (S.1172) and House (H.R.716). To check on the status of these and bills related to physical activity, go to http://thomas.loc.gov/.

STATE LEGISLATION: CDC's Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity recently launched a state legislation database that allows users to search for state bills since 2001 related to nutrition and/or physical activity. Users can use search fields, enter keywords, or search the entire database. Visit http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/DNPALeg/ to see what PA-related legislative activity is happening in your state.


INFLUENCE OF PA ON HEALTH CARE COSTS: A random sample of approximately 2,400 older adults enrolled in a Minnesota health plan were monitored over a three-year period to determine the influence of physical activity on health care charges. Results indicate that adults 50 and older who initiate a physically active way of life have significantly lower short-term health costs compared to those who remain inactive. Martinson, Crain, Pronk, et al. "Changes in physical activity and short-term changes in health care charges: a prospective cohort study of older adults." Preventive Medicine, (37):319-326, 2003.

COMMUNITY EXERCISE PROGRAM AND CHANGES IN HEALTH CARE COSTS: The Lifetime Fitness Program (LFP) in western Washington State is a group-based exercise program offered to community-dwelling older adults through local senior centers in the Seattle/Puget Sound area. The authors compared primary healthcare costs over a two-year period between a group of Group Health Cooperative enrollees who participated in the LFP and controls. Average annual costs for participants was $301 lower than controls, and the adjusted risk of hospitalization was 4.9% lower among participants than controls. Participants who attended one or more days per week had annual total healthcare costs 21% lower than controls. Ackerman, Cheadle, Sandhu, et al. "Community Exercise Program Use and Changes in Healthcare Costs for Older Adults." American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 25(3):232-237, 2003.

WALKING FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Between 1999 and 2000, over 1,800 men and women responded to the U.S. Physical Activity Study. Data were analyzed to describe the epidemiology of walking for physical activity in the US. Results classified 34% of the population as regular walkers, 46% as occasional walkers, and 21% as never walkers. Over 60% of occasional and regular walkers reported using neighborhood streets for walking for physical activity. Never walkers were 1.5 times more likely than regular walkers to report a lack of sidewalks, no enjoyable scenery, lack of trails, and not seeing others exercising in their community. Eyler, Brownson, Bacak, et al. "The Epidemiology of Walking for Physical Activity in the United States." Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 35(9):1529-1536, 2003.

12-COUNTRY RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY OF IPAQ: The International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) was developed as a self-report measure of physical activity across countries at the population level. Eight versions of the IPAQ were tested for validity and reliability, comparing administration method (telephone vs. self-administered), survey length (9-items short vs. 31-item long version), and reference period ("last 7 days" vs. "usual week"). The short form, "last 7 day" version is recommended for national and regional prevalence studies. The long form may be more useful for research purposes or studies requiring detail on different domains of physical activity. Researchers caution against comparing population prevalence rates between the long and short forms, because the long version produces higher estimates of physical activity. Craig, Marshall, Sjostrom, et al. "International Physical Activity Questionnaire: 12-Country Reliability and Validity." Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 35(8):1381-1395, 2003.

PA AND BREAST CANCER RISK: The Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Cohort Study involves 74,000 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 years when they enrolled into this study between 1993 and 1998. Recent results show that women who performed strenuous activity at 35 years of age had a 14% decreased risk of breast cancer compared with less active women. Women who currently perform the equivalent of 1.25 to 2.5 hours of brisk walking per week also had an 18% reduction in the risk of breast cancer, and those who perform the equivalent of 5 to 10 hours of brisk walking per week had a 32% reduction. These findings demonstrate that while strenuous physical activity is beneficial, other activities such as brisk walking can lead to positive health benefits. McTiernan, Kooperberg, White, et al. "Recreational Physical Activity and the Risk of Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women: The Women's Health Initiative Cohort Study." Journal of American Medical Association, 290(10):1331-1336, 2003.

PA AND PHYSICAL DISABLEMENT IN OLDER ADULTS: Last year the Cooper Institute held a conference titled "Physical Activity: Preventing Physical Disablement in Older Adults." Papers from this conference have been published in supplement to the October 2003 issue the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (Vol 25, No 3, Supplement 2).

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.


ACTIVE COMMUTING TO SCHOOL GUIDES: The UK Departments for Education and Skills and Transport have published a blueprint document to help schools promote safe and healthy travel to school. "Travelling to School: An Action Plan" sets out the government's plan to provide schools with funds to improve the school environment and encourage parents and children to walk, bike, or take the bus to school. The action plan is accompanied by "Travelling to School: A Good Practice Guide," which describes what schools, local authorities, and bus operators are doing to promote active commuting to school. To download the reports go to www.teachernet.gov.uk/sdtravel.

RESOURCE DATABASE FOR CHILDREN'S PA AND NUTRITION: Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) is a national initiative aimed at improving the health and educational performance of children through better physical education and nutrition in schools. The AFHK website hosts a resource database with links to over 150 brochures, books, CD-ROMS, toolkits, and websites containing information on children's physical activity and nutrition. Go to http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/resources.php to learn more about AFHK and to access the database.

CHILDHOOD OBESITY PREVENTION PROGRAM: In 1998, the USDA funded the implementation of a childhood obesity prevention initiative called Fit WIC. A Fit WIC manual has been published that contains the experiences of the five funded WIC teams, including their procedures, problems encountered, solutions used, lessons learned, and recommendations. The manual also describes five programs that can be used in WIC agencies or other community agencies that target childhood obesity. It can be downloaded from http://www.nal.usda.gov/wicworks/Sharing_Center/statedev_FIT.html.

PEP GRANTS AWARDED: The Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) provides grants to local educational agencies and community-based organizations to pay 90 percent of the total cost of initiating, expanding, and improving physical education programs designed to assist students in making progress toward meeting state standards for physical education. This year, a total of 1,365 applications were received and 256 grants were awarded. For a list of grantees, visit http://www.ed.gov/programs/whitephysed/awards.html.

NEW STUDY ON IMPLICATIONS OF SCHOOL SITING: "Travel and Environmental Implications of School Siting" was released by the EPA in October and is the first empirical study to examine the relationship between school locations, the built environment around schools, travel modes to schools, and environmental impacts of travel choices. The study finds that school proximity and the built environment around schools both affect travel choice: students who live closer to school are more likely to walk or bike as are those who travel through pedestrian-friendly environments to get to school. In addition, the study finds that school location has a significant impact on air emissions. Visit http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/publications.htm to download the full report.

STEPS COMMUNITY AWARDS: The "Steps to a HealthierUS" cooperative agreement program has awarded $13.6 million in funding for FY 2003. The 12 awardees include four states (which represent 15 small cities or rural communities), one tribal consortium, and seven large cities. The Steps communities engaged the help of various community partners to create community action plans for implementing intensive community interventions. The interventions will target those at high risk for or diagnosed with obesity, diabetes, and asthma. For more information go to http://www.healthierus.gov/steps/.

ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER FOR PRACTITIONERS: "WellSpring" is a publication by the Alberta Centre for Active Living for practitioners, which provides information on best practices, topical issues, recent research, and policy in the active living/physical activity field. The fall 2003 issue focuses on physical activity in the workplace. Read this and other issues at http://preview.tinyurl.com/266rwa. To receive an e-mail notification when the next issue is posted, send e-mail to active.living@ualberta.ca.


ACTIVE COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENTS GUIDE: "Winning With ACEs! How you can work toward Active Community Environments" is a policy guide for public health practitioners and their partners, as well as other grassroots community groups and interested individuals working in active community environments. While the ACEs Guide is tailored to meet the needs of North Carolina, other partners will find it applicable as well. You can download the ACEs guide and other resources from http://www.EatSmartMoveMoreNC.com or http://www.StartWithYourHeart.com. For a printed copy of the guide, information, questions, or comments, contact Jimmy Newkirk at jimmy.newkirk@ncmail.net.

BICYCLE-FRIENDLY COMMUNITY AWARDS: The League of American Bicyclists has awarded 13 communities with its Bicycle-Friendly Community designation. The communities were recognized for having safe accommodations and facilities for bicycling as well as for their encouragement of bicycle travel for transportation and recreation. A list of the winning cities can be found at http://www.bicyclefriendlycommunity.org/pressrelease4.htm.


HEALTH EDUCATION AND PROMOTION CONFERENCE: The 22nd National ASTDHPPHE/CDC Conference on Health Education and Health Promotion and SOPHE Midyear Conference will be held May 5-7, 2004 in Orlando, Fl. The conference theme is "The Future of Health Promotion and Education: Transforming Vision Into Reality."

WALK21 CONFERENCE: The fifth Walk21 Conference: Cities for People will focus on the integration of walking policies into a wider context, specifically on the day-to-day quality of life of citizens in cities and communities. The conference will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, Jun 9-11, 2004. Abstracts are being accepted from Nov 10 to Dec 8, 2003. Visit http://www.citiesforpeople.dk/index.html for more information.

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, Tracy Pearch, Joshua Swift.

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 28 Centers in the U.S. For more information about the PRC National Network, visit >http://www.cdc.gov/prc.


Prevention Research Center
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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