November - December 2011 | USC-PRC NOTES

"Promoting Health through Physical Activity"

It does not seem possible that we have already reached Thanksgiving. It always feels like we go from August to December in a matter of weeks!  I hope you take some time to enjoy the season, give thanks, and enjoy family and friends.  Take an extra walk (or hike, or run, or bicycle ride) to relieve the holiday stress, keep your focus on what’s important, and keep off the holiday pounds!

My role as interim director of our PRC still seems “new” to me.  Sometimes I’m worried that we’ll run out of content for our newsletters.  But my fears are completely unfounded!  I am amazed (and inspired) by how much is going on related to physical activity at so many levels – scientific research, community programs, environmental change, and policy efforts.  This month’s newsletter was written by Ms. Danielle Schoffman, and I think you’ll find the information she compiled interesting.  We have added a section to the USC PRC Updates that focuses on the CDC Healthy Aging Research Network, a network that the USC PRC has been a member of since 2001.  I hope you enjoy this addition.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays to all!

Sara Wilcox, PhD, Interim Director


NEWS YOU CAN USE: New Statewide Plan Encourages Physical Activity, Healthy Lifestyle; Department of Transportation Data Visualization Contest Encourages Creative Integration of Data; International Olympic Committee Expert Paper Targets Better Health of Young People; American Diabetes Day; National Family Health History Day

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON: Recipients of Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grants Announced

RESEARCH NOTES: Adherence to the 2008 Adult Physical Activity Guidelines and Mortality Risk; Perceived Built Environment and Physical Activity in U.S. Women by Sprawl and Region; Air Quality and Exercise-Related Health Benefits from Reduced Car Travel in the Midwestern United States

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES:Go4Life-- Exercise and Physical Activity Campaign from the National Institute on Aging at NIH; Compendium of Physical Activities for Manual Wheelchair Users 

PROMOTING ACTIVE COMMUNITIES:South Carolina Receives Community Transformation Grant; Galveston Aims to Build a Healthier City After Ike's Wave of Destruction; Federal Aid Coming to Cities to Help Boost Smart Growth in Cities North of Boston; Boise Writes New City Blueprint; Biking, Walking, & Blogging: The Surprising Rise of Minneapolis as a Top Bike Town

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS:Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting; International Council on Active Aging Conference 2011

: CDC Healthy Aging Research Network


New statewide plan encourages physical activity, healthy lifestyle: West Virginia authorities have drafted a statewide plan to increase physical activity through the collaboration of eight sectors of state agencies (public health; education; business and industry; mass media; parks, recreation, fitness and sports; transportation, land use and community planning; and volunteer and non-profit organizations).  The plan aims to encourage physical activity by promoting new opportunities for getting active as well as emphasizing opportunities that might already be available to residents, such as walking more and using active transport.  Authorities hope to reduce their state’s climbing obesity rates, as well as help to prevent other chronic diseases and improve the general quality of life for West Virginia residents. 
[Source:  The Daily Athenaeum & West Virginia Physical Activity Plan]

Department of Transportation Data Visualization Contest Encourages Creative Integration of Data: A recent contest held by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) offered students the challenge of using publically available data sets to “create a data visualization product that addresses critical transportation policy or investment questions related to transportation safety or economic development”.  A few of the entries address issues of bicycle safety and bicycle commuting, including an innovative model of “Bicycle Commuting Trends in the United States” seen here.  The projects are featured on the DOT website where the public can vote for their favorite entry.  The top two submissions will be featured at the Transportation Research Board’s meeting in January, 2012.

International olympic committee expert paper targets better health of young people: The International Olympic Committee Medical Commission recently published a Consensus Statement as a result of a conference on the “Health and fitness of young people through physical activity and sport” held earlier this year.  The paper aims to define the consequences of inactivity and the benefits of physical fitness, with a particular emphasis on young people and their participation in sports.  The paper offers some common barriers to continued participation in physical activity as well as offering recommendations for potential solutions. 
[Source: International Olympic Committee]

American Diabetes Month
November 1-30, 2011

National Family Health History Day
November 24, 2011


Recipients of Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grants Announced:  After securing Congressional approval for funding for the 2012-2013 school year, the U.S. Department of Education has announced the new recipients new Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grants.  More than $35 million will be given to new programs in local education agencies and community-based organizations in 76 school districts across the country, with an additional $44 million allocated to fund the 2nd and 3rd years of PEP grants given in 2009 and 2010.  PEP grants are awarded to groups to enable them to purchase new sports equipment and attend trainings to improve their physical education programs.  The goal of these grants is to implement innovative PE programs that help students in grades K-12 reach state standards for physical education, as well as offering guidance on healthy eating and general physical well-being.
[Source: U.S. Department of Education]


Adherence to the 2008 Adult Physical Activity Guidelines and Mortality Risk: While a comprehensive review of the relationship between health benefits and physical activity led to the 2008 USDHHS Federal Physical Activity Guidelines, no research had looked at the impact of the new Guidelines on mortality risk.  This study examined the mortality risk for the general U.S. adult population associated with meeting or not meeting the 2008 Guidelines.  The study examined the benefits of exercise on reduction in risk of all-cause mortality as well as any added benefit of strength exercises. The effect of a prior diagnosis of a chronic condition was also tested.  The study found that meeting the 2008 Guidelines was associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality for U.S. adults.
Schoenborn CA, Stommel M. (2011) “Adherence to the 2008 Adult Physical Activity Guidelines and Mortality Risk”. Am J Prev Med.

Perceived Built Environment and Physical Activity in U.S. Women by Sprawl and Region: In an effort to bridge the gaps in knowledge about potential regional differences and extent of urban sprawl on health, investigators looked at the relationship between women’s perceptions about their neighborhood and their level of physical activity.  NHANES II data from 68,968 women were examined, including self-reported weekly physical activity and four questions about perception of neighborhood (perceived proximity to shops/stores, perceived access to recreation facilities, perceived presence of sidewalks, perceived crime).  The authors found that the region or dispersion of sprawl did not affect physical activity level, but perceived proximity to shops/stores and access to recreation facilities were positively correlated with amount of physical activity performed.
Troped, P.J., Tamura, K., Whitcomb, H.A., & Laden, L. (2011). “Perceived Built Environment and Physical Activity in U.S. Women by Sprawl and Region”. Am J Prev Med.

Air Quality and Exercise-Related Health Benefits from Reduced Car Travel in the Midwestern United States: “The secret to a long, healthy life: Bike to the store!”  Researchers examined data on obesity, the health effects of pollution, and automobile air pollution in 11 Midwestern cities in an effort to find out what the effects of biking more and driving less would be on community and individual health.  They found that if the Midwesterners they studied chose to bike instead of drive to one half of their local errands (2.5 miles or less, 25 minutes or less biking) they would prevent 1,100 deaths and save $7 billion in health-care costs.  The results suggest that even a modest increase in biking and decrease driving could have profound health implications for individuals and their neighbors.
Grabow, M.L., Spak, S.N., Holloway, T., Stone Jr., B., Mednick, A.C., et al. (2011) “Air Quality and Exercise-Related Health Benefits from Reduced Car Travel in the Midwestern United States.” Environ Health Perspect.  Story featured on NPR, 11/2/2011.

For additional summaries of recent research on promoting physically active lifestyles, visit the Research Updates section of our website at


Go4Life, Exercise and Physical Activity Campaign from the National Institute on Aging at NIH:Go 4 Life is a new campaign from the National Institute on Aging at NIH to help promote physical activity in Americans aged 50 and older.  The Go 4 Life website offers information, including a guide on “Exercise and Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging,” available in both English and Spanish.  The guide includes information on the 3 steps emphasized by the plan, “Get Ready,” “Get Set,” and “Go!” and also offers photos and instructions to help adults learn about new exercises and healthy eating tips.  A DVD with demonstrations of the suggested exercises is also available to give more instruction to people getting started with the program.  All materials are available free of charge on the Go 4 Life website.
[Source: Go4Life, NIA]

Exercise compendium for wheelchair activities: In a systematic literature review, researchers identified published studies on the energy expenditures associated with activities for individuals who use manual wheelchairs, and compiled a compendium of 63 activities and the associated energy costs.  While many individuals using wheelchairs do not get the recommended levels of physical activity, the comparison of research in this study demonstrates that it is possible for manual wheelchair users to accrue a significant amount of moderate and vigorous intensity activity by engaging in a select group of activities.  Achieving the recommended levels of physical activity is crucial for reducing risk for chronic diseases including obesity and heart disease, and the compendium could help improve the measurement of such activity in future research.
[Source: Conger SA, Bassett DR. A compendium of energy costs of physical activities for individuals who use manual wheelchairs. Adapt Phys Activ Q.]


South Carolina Receives Community Transformation Grant: The Community Transformation Grants (CTG) program was recently created by the Affordable Care Act as a new mechanism through which the CDC can fund community-based programs targeted at eliminating health disparities.  Through the CTG program, approximately $103 million was awarded to 61 states and communities throughout the US.  These grants will support community-level efforts to reduce chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. All 61 grantees will address the following priority areas: 1) tobacco-free living; 2) active living and healthy eating; and 3) evidence-based quality clinical and other preventive services, specifically prevention and control of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. 

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is receiving $4,624,724 to serve the entire state of South Carolina, an estimated population of 4,500,000 including a rural population of over 1,050,000. Work will focus on expanding efforts in tobacco-free living, active living and healthy eating, quality clinical and other preventive services, and healthy and safe physical environments. To learn more about the CTG program, click here.
[Source: CDC, Community Transformation Grants]

Galveston Aims to Build a Healthier City After Ike's Wave of Destruction: residents of Galveston, TX are aiming to rebuild their city in a way that not only protects them from further storms, but also promotes healthier lifestyles.  Three years after Hurricane Ike hit the sand bar city, the storm’s devastation is still evident, and the reconstruction is still underway.  However, some residents want to make sure that the new Galveston offers residents improved access to healthy foods and more opportunities for exercise.  The struggle is finding ways to accomplish this in an economically depressed area with the threat of future storms.  
[Source: PBS Newshour]

Federal aid coming to cities to help boost smart growth in cities north of Boston: A handful of cities north of Boston will be receiving federal funding to help develop and implement innovative space planning models, with extensive input from the communities. The goals of the “smart growth” plans include the promotion of local businesses in pedestrian-friendly areas, creating mixed neighborhoods with residential and commercial development, and promoting social equity through local economic development.  In one such community, Chelsea, part of the nearly $70,000 in federal aid is being used to fight pollution through green solutions such as rain gardens and stormwater tree boxes and planters. 
[Source: Boston Globe and]

Boise Writes New City Blueprint: A comprehensive city blueprint plan has recently been prepared with the input of residents and community business leaders to describe how they want the next 20 years of Boise’s development to look.  The plan emphasizes non-motorized transportation and livability issues such as sidewalks, bike paths, and the promotion of a vibrant city center with mixed-use areas.  The plan will be proposed in a public hearing in Boise in November. 
[Source: Idaho Statesman]

Biking, Walking, & Blogging: The Surprising Rise of Minneapolis as a Top Bike Town: Many people were surprised last year when Minneapolis was named America’s “#1 Bike City” by Bicycling magazine, beating cities like Portland and Boulder.  Despite its sprawl and cold weather, Minneapolis residents stay very active and bicycling is a large part of the city’s identity.  The widespread influence of bicycling can be seen in the city’s well-developed bike paths and bike-share programs as well as the impact of several large bike corporations on the local economy.  Minneapolis is now trying to inspire other U.S. cities to follow their lead and become more bicycle friendly.  Recently, city officials and bicycling advocates met with a delegation of transportation leaders from Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio, during a visit sponsored by the Bikes Belong Foundation.
[Source: Bike Walk Twin Cities]   



Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting
11/18/2011 - 11/22/2011
Boston, MA


International Council on Active Aging Conference 2011
12/1/2011 - 12/3/2011
Orlando, Florida


CDC HEALTHY AGING RESEARCH NETWORK:  USC has had the privilege of participating in the CDC Healthy Aging Research Network (CDC-HAN) since 2001.  The CDC-HAN is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Healthy Aging Program.  The coordinating center and seven member and affiliate universities are a subset of CDC’s Prevention Research Centers located throughout the United States.  In late September, the CDC-HAN centers and partners met in Atlanta for a two-day in-person meeting.  There we celebrated our 10 year anniversary.  We were fortunate to have Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee address our meeting.  The CDC-HAN is doing great things!  Check out our website to learn more about us.

Writer: Danielle Schoffman

This publication was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number U48-DP-001936 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.