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“Promoting Health through Physical Activity”

Three major events occurred in October that will shape the future of physical activity (PA) science and practice.  First, the federal government released its inaugural PA Guidelines for Americans.  Second, a formal application was submitted to the American Public health Association to form the PA Special Primary Interest Group.  Third, the National Society for PA Practitioners in Public Health and the American College of Sports Medicine® announced a new specialty certification for professionals promoting PA in a public health setting.  These accomplishments reflect a level of maturity needed to propel PA into the forefront of public health priorities in the 21st century.  Read on to learn more about these milestones.

Steve Hooker, PhD, Director



NEWS YOU CAN USE: Physical Activity Special Interest Group (PA SPIG); New ACSM Certification; Tips for Family Fitness Fun; Parks and Recreation Magazine Blog; New Bicycle Friendly Cities

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON: Investment in Walking and Bicycling Will Save Billions; Bicycle Commuter Act Passes House

RESEARCH NOTES: Social-Environmental Influences on the Physical Activity Behavior of Women; Strategies for Physical Activity Maintenance in African American Women; Implementation of a Faith-Based Physical Activity Intervention; Built Environment and Physical Functioning in Hispanic Elders: The Role of “Eyes on the Street”

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES:New Physical Activity Guidelines; Updated BRFSS Prevalence and Trends Tables; America’s Best Healthy Places to Retire; Launching MYPYRAMID for Preschoolers; Social Marketing Web Course

PROMOTING ACTIVE COMMUNITIES: California Passes Complete Streets Law; SMART GROWTH Resource Library; Active Transportation Vision

SCHOOLS: Maryland Ties Public School Construction to Complete Streets; The Need to Expand Physical Activity in Schools

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: International Transportation Research Board; 8th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth, International Stroke Conference; Childhood Obesity Conference

USC PEVENTION RESEARCH CENTER UPDATES: USC Researchers to Tie Into Existing Major Study; Russell Pate Promotes National Physical Activity Plan


PHYSICAL ACTIVITY SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP (PA SPIG). A leadership team has been working to provide a visible and credible “home” within the American Public Health Association (APHA) for those with a primary interest in PA science, practice, and policy.  The team has recruited over 100 persons who will join APHA and select the PA SPIG as their primary affiliation, developed an organizational infrastructure, and drafted a letter of intent. These were recently packaged and submitted as a formal application to APHA (the review process will take 4-6 months).  At the recent APHA meeting in San Diego, the 4 program sessions organized by the PA SPIG were standing room only; about 100 persons attended the PA SPIG reception, and 50 brave souls participated in the first-ever 5K fun run/walk. Look for future alerts with regard to submitting PA abstracts for next year’s APHA annual meeting in Philadelphia.

NEW ACSM CERTIFICATION. The American College of Sports Medicine® (ACSM) has announced a new specialty certification for professionals promoting physical activity focused on the public health setting.  This specialty certification was developed by a group of subject matter experts representing ACSM and the National Society for Physical Activity Practitioners in Public Health (NSPAPPH).  ACSM is performing BETA testing in preparation for a live exam.  Live testing will begin early next year.  Read more at http://www.nspapph.org

TIPS FOR FAMILY FITNESS FUN: Everyone knows that it is important to turn off the TV, DVD, Gameboys etc. in order to prevent the development of childhood obesity. But without their “screens” available, many children complain that they are bored. With this in mind, Shape Up America! and Sweet ‘N Low have partnered on a set of ideas for parents to use to help children become more active and live a healthier lifestyle. Lists of tips are available at http://www.shapeup.org/fittips/index.php

PARKS AND RECREATION MAGAZINE BLOG.  Parks & Recreation magazine has a new addition: P&RNow, the official blog for the magazine. Here you can read highlights from the most current issue of P&R, search magazine archives, and browse articles by different categories. Read it today at
[Source:  Parks and Recreation Weekly News Brief, October 2008]

NEW BICYCLE FRIENDLY CITIES. Ten new communities were honored with the League of American Bicyclists prestigious Bicycle Friendly Community designation. This was the program’s biggest application cycle to date—51 communities applied for the designation. There are one gold, one silver, and eight bronze communities awarded, and 19 communities renewed their designations. Boulder, Colo. joins Portland, Ore. and Davis, Calif. as the only cities in the U.S. to have earned the platinum designation -- the top designation in the program. To see who earned the designation this time, click here: http://www.bikeleague.org/news/092408bfc.php

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.

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INVESTMENT IN BICYCLING AND WALKING WILL SAVE BILLIONS. On November 4th the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy presented the "Active Transportation for America" report to Congress via Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), who serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The report quantifies - for the first time - the national benefits of bicycling and walking. Putting figures to facts, the report documents the transportation, energy, climate, public health, and economic benefits of bicycling and walking. Read more at http://preview.tinyurl.com/5wdpxz. The full report is at http://www.railstotrails.org/whatwedo/trailadvocacy/atfa/index.html [Source: Parks and Recreation Weekly News Brief, November 4, 2008]

BICYCLE COMMUTER ACT PASSES HOUSE, SENATE. After seven years, the bicycle commuter tax provision has passed both the House and Senate as part of the financial bailout package. President Bush has said that he is eager to sign the legislation. Bicycle commuters will now be extended similar benefits to people who take transit or drive to work - it’s an equitable and sensible incentive to encourage greater energy independence, improve air quality and health, and even help tackle climate change. Check with www.bikeleague.org as they work on the implementation process.

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SOCIAL-ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON THE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY BEHAVIOR OF WOMEN. This review identified key social-environmental influences and proposed an organizing framework of these influences in the social environment. The review indicated that women are exposed to societal messages that indicate physical activity is not a priority, and may be inappropriate. Women may also lack the social support necessary to adopt and maintain physical activity. The authors proposed a social-environmental framework related to Bronfenbrenner's social ecological model, along with recommended strategies to apply in interventions targeting women. Vrazel, Saunders, Wilcox. “An Overview and Proposed Framework of Social-Environmental Influences on the Physical-Activity Behavior of Women.” American Journal of  Health Promotion, 23(1):2-12, 2008.

MAINTENANCE OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN. A study conducted in Chicago’s South Side investigated whether African American women who were exercise maintainers reported the same barriers to and benefits from exercise as did inactive women, and identified strategies described by exercise maintainers. A semi-structured qualitative interview was used involving women who had at least one risk factor for diabetes. Ten women were classified as exercise maintainers, and 9 as re-lapsers. Both groups reported similar benefits from and barriers to exercise, suggesting that programs addressing barriers to exercise may not be successful unless they also promote maintenance. Maintainers identified being a positive influence for family members, establishing social support, and goal setting/rewards as strategies they used to sustain their exercise program. Kirchhoff, Elliott, Schlichting, et al. “Strategies for Physical Activity maintenance in African American Women." Am J Health Behav, 32(5): 517-24, 2008.

IMPLEMENTATION OF A FAITH-BASED PHYSICAL ACTIVITY INTERVENTION. Researchers examined program implementation, church leadership support, and changes in church leadership in a 3 year faith-based physical activity initiative, and related these variables to the percentage of participants who met physical activity recommendations.  The most commonly reported implemented program activities were bulletin boards related to healthy eating and physical activity, bulletin inserts, walking programs, chair exercises, praise aerobics, a 10 min exercise CD, and an 8 week behavior change class. Churches that implemented the 8 week behavior change class at the 1 year follow-up had significant increases in physical activity.  Health directors listed church members’ lack of time, motivation, and dedication as common barriers. Baruth,  Wlicox, Laken, et al.  Insights from Church Health Directors." Journal of Community Health, 33(5): 304-12, 2008.

BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND PHYSICAL FUNCTIONING IN HISPANIC ELDERS. Researchers examined whether architectural features of the built environment predicted social support and psychological and physical functioning in low SES, older Hispanics.  A 3,857 lot, 403 block community was assessed, and three annual assessments of social support, psychological distress, and physical functioning were conducted in a population based sample of 273 low SES Hispanics aged 70-100 years.  Results showed that architectural features, such as buildings with porches or stoops, had a significant direct relationship with physical functioning after three years, and an indirect relationship with social support and psychological distress, after controlling for age, sex, and SES. Brown, Mason, Perrino, et al. “Built Environment and Physical Functioning in Hispanic Elders: The Role of “Eyes on the Street”.” Environmental Health Perspectives, 116(10):1300-7, 2008.

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.
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NEW PHYSICAL ACTIVITY GUIDELINES. The US Department of Health and Human Services has published guidelines that outline exercise recommendations for healthy adults and older adults and are an update from the 1995 guidelines. These recommendations are designed so people can easily fit physical activity into their daily plan and incorporate activities they enjoy. They are based on the first thorough review of scientific research about physical activity and health in more than a decade. There are several websites offering information on these guidelines:
http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/index.html  http://www.health.gov/PAGuidelines/
http://tinyurl.com/36dyon (American College of Sports Medicine)


UPDATED BRFSS PREVALENCE AND TRENDS TABLES. The CDC has announced the release of combined and updated prevalence and trends tables. The new combined table will show prevalence rates and trends together on a single page. It will continue to offer state-by-state and nationwide data, as well as graphs and trend data points. It will still offer the ability to sort prevalence data according to variables such as gender, age, and race. Prevalence and Trends tables are located at http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/BRFSS/. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008.]

AMERICA'S BEST HEALTHY PLACES TO RETIRE. U.S. News traveled the country and selected 10 editors' picks: places way ahead of the healthy living curve—those providing numerous places to exercise, promoting strong social support, and encouraging healthy lifestyle habits. Their new tool (at http://www.usnews.com/directories/retirement) allows you to sort through more than 2,000 locations according to the criteria that are most important to you, including climate, access to healthcare, cost of living, and recreational choices. You'll end up with a customized list of places with detailed information about each city or town. [Source: U.S. News & World Report, September 18, 2008]

LAUNCHING MYPYRAMID FOR PRESCHOOLERS. MyPyramid for Preschoolers was launched on October 26th by the United States Department of Agriculture.  It is designed for children 2 to 5 years of age. You can do many things to help children develop healthy eating habits for life. Visit the web at http://www.mypyramid.gov/preschoolers/index.html to access this newly added resource to USDA's MyPyramid.gov. Please direct any inquiries to http://www.mypyramid.gov/global_nav/contact.html

SOCIAL MARKETING WEB COURSE. The process for social marketing planning is described in the Social Marketing for Nutrition and Physical Activity Web course and CDCynergy: Social Marketing. This web course, developed and maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, provides training for public health professionals about how to use social marketing to plan nutrition, physical activity, and obesity prevention programs. For an overview of the course, visit http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/socialmarketing/training/index.htm

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CALIFORNIA PASSES COMPLETE STREETS LAW. In a major victory for the National Complete Streets Movement, California’s governor has signed into law the California Complete Streets Act of 2008. The new law requires cities and counties to include complete streets policies as part of their general plans so that roadways are designed to accommodate all users safely, including bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders, children, older people, and disabled people, as well as motorists. In addition to California, five other states have complete streets legislation. For more information, visit www.completestreets.org. [Source: Complete the Streets News, October 2008]

SMART GROWTH RESOURCE LIBRARY. Getting to Smart Growth II. 100 More Policies for Implementation provides states and communities with policy options that can be mixed and matched to fit local circumstances, visions, and values that can be used to achieve each of the 10 Smart Growth Principles. These policies are supported with ''Practice Tips'' which offer additional resources or brief case studies of communities that have applied the approach to achieve smart growth. Free and available online or in print. http://smartgrowth.org/Default.asp?res=1024.

ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION VISION. The Missouri Bicycle Federation represents over 15,000 Missouri residents and speaks for the 2 million Missourians who bicycle regularly and the 5.8 million who walk. This group is working to realize its vision of active transportation in Missouri by creating a world-class bicycle and pedestrian network in the state, building a movement around walking and bicycling, encouraging more walking and bicycling, and increasing safety for all road users. For more info on their vision, go to: http://mobikefed.org/vision. [Source: Centerlines, October 15, 2008]

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MARYLAND TIES PUBLIC SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION TO COMPLETE STREETS. Maryland's new school construction guidelines discuss the need to increase transit options to and from schools. Currently, bus and auto trips account for the majority of all trips to and from school, while only 15% of children are walking or biking. To encourage physical activity, decrease transportation costs, and improve air quality around local schools, the guidelines recommend sidewalk construction in areas within one mile of the schools as well as participation in Safe Routes to Schools programs. View the entire document http://www.mdp.state.md.us/pdf/MG27.pdf  for more information.

THE NEED TO EXPAND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN SCHOOLS. At the 2005 “Walking for Health” conference, hosted by the American College of Sports Medicine and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, teachers, researchers, and others met to discuss solutions to childhood obesity.  Among the solutions drafted was the integration by schools of physical activity throughout the curriculum. This strategy requires the commitment not only of PE teachers but also fellow teachers, administrators, parents, community members, and of course students themselves. Chodzko-Zajko, Zhu, Bazarre, et al. “We Move the Kids” = The Consensus report from the roundtable to examine strategies for promoting walking in the school environment.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 40(Suppl. 1):S603-S605, July 2008.

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INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD. The TRB 88th Annual Meeting, January 11-15, 2009, in Washington, D.C., covers all transportation modes and attracts more than 10,000 policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academia. The Annual Meeting, which draws attendees from throughout the United States and from more than 65 countries, is perhaps the single largest gathering of transportation practitioners and researchers in the world. The online interactive preliminary program can be accessed at http://www.trb.org/news/blurb_detail.asp?id=9652

8TH ANNUAL NEW PARTNERS FOR SMART GROWTH. Building Safe, Healthy and Livable Communities. January 22-24, 2009, Albuqueque, NM. The Conference will offer the latest research, cutting-edge implementation tools and techniques, best practices, model projects, policies and codes, coordinated networking activities, interactive learning experiences, and new partners. Most importantly, this dynamic event offers you the opportunity to network and coordinate with your peers as well as practitioners from many different disciplines. You may register at http://www.newpartners.org/index.html

INTERNATIONAL STROKE CONFERENCE 2009. February 17-20, 2009, San Diego, CA. The International Stroke Conference is a two-and-a-half-day educational forum highlighting the most recent advances in the treatment, prevention and outcomes of cerebrovascular disease and stroke. Please visit the conference Web site for detailed information on the International Stroke Conference: http://strokeconference.americanheart.org/portal/strokeconference/sc/.

CHILDHOOD OBESITY CONFERENCE. Los Angeles, CA, June 9-12, 2009. The 5th biennial Childhood Obesity Conference is the largest gathering of professionals focused on the prevention of pediatric overweight in the nation with over 1,800 in attendance. The conference is devoted to providing the most pressing and innovative issues related to childhood obesity. Showcased will be presentations focused on issues, strategies and programs as they relate to the environmental, organizational, media advocacy and policy, nutrition and physical activity education, and family and clinical approaches to childhood obesity. For more information visit http://www.cce.csus.edu/conferences/childobesity/09/.


USC RESEARCHERS TO TIE INTO EXISTING MAJOR STUDY. Public health researchers in South Carolina and Alabama are joining forces to study the effects of physical activity on stroke and cognitive decline in a group of some 20,000 racially and geographically diverse men and women. Dr. Steven P. Hooker, director of the USC PRC and research associate professor in the Arnold School’s Department of Exercise Science, will lead the five-year $2.9 million study. Hooker’s effort is an ancillary study to the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) – study, based at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Hooker’s study will have the support of Dr. Steven Blair of the Department of Exercise Science, Dr. Natalie Colabianchi of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Brent Hutto of the USC PRC. Read more at http://sph.sc.edu/news/hooker.htm.

RUSSELL PATE PROMOTES NATIONAL PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PLAN. During a joint meeting between the American College of Sports Medicine and National Institutes of Health on October 29th to discuss and explore new directions for physical activity research, Russell Pate, Vice Provost for Health Sciences and PRC Co-Investigator at the University of South Carolina, and NPAP coordinating committee member, gave a presentation on the National Physical Activity Plan titled “Public Health Promotion of Physical Activity - Filling Critical Research Gaps.”  In attendance were representatives from the ACSM, NIH, National Cancer Institute, National Institute on Aging, and faculty from several universities. [Source: http://www.physicalactivityplan.org/]

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.htm.

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Writers: Marsha Stepp, Catherine Carlstedt

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 Marsha Stepp at mstepp@gwm.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. If you have an e-mail filter in place that only allows messages from approved email addresses, please add uscprc@gwm.sc.edu to your approved list.

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/newsletter/commands.htm.

The USC Prevention Research Center is a member of the CDC Prevention Research Center's National Network, consisting of 33 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
921 Assembly Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29208

This publication was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number 5-U48-DP-000051 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.

The University of South Carolina does not discriminate in educational or employment opportunities or decisions for qualified persons on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or veteran status.


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