2008 Newsletters


IN THIS ISSUE – November-December 2008

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

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

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

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

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

Expand to read this issue.

"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


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.


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.


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.


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


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]


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.


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/]


Marsha Stepp, Catherine Carlstedt


IN THIS ISSUE – September-October 2008

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Map My Run; Kranking: The Next Revolution in Fitness; Walk to School Month


RESEARCH NOTES: Activity Improves Cognitive Function; Physical Activity and Neighborhood Parks; Health Passport; Physical Activity in Children Ages 9-15

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES: Investment in Disease Prevention; Strategies for Promoting Health Environments; Safe Routes to School Final Report; Social Support Encourages Walking

PROMOTING ACTIVE COMMUNITIES: Public Health and the Built Environment; Places for Physical Activity; Bikes4work; Bicycle Friendly Business

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: International Conference on Diet and Activity Methods(ICDAM 7); 2008 European Public Health Conference; National Trails Symposium

Expand to read this issue.

"Promoting Health through Physical Activity"

The USC PRC's Associate Director, Dr. Delores Pluto, has accepted a position with the SC Dept. of Education’s Healthy School's program. She will be coordinating administration of the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance (YRBS) system, disseminating its results, and providing training and assistance to districts and schools to implement effective school health policies. This is right up Delores' alley, as she has been involved with environmental and policy approaches to promoting PA and health for many years. She has served effectively as editor of this newsletter, evaluator of our center-level activities, and PI of our center’s role in the PRC Healthy Aging Network and PA & Policy Research Network. Her skills, support, and enthusiasm will be missed, but we wish her the very best in all of her future personal and professional pursuits.

Steven P. Hooker, PhD, Director


MAP MY RUN. Plot your running and walking routes with this innovative website. View elevation, topographical maps, and street level views with just a few mouse clicks. Once your map is complete you can quickly view it in 3D, satellite maps, or share it with friends. Go to http://www.mapmyrun.com/ [Source: AUS PA NET, 8/15/2008]

KRANKING: THE NEXT REVOLUTION IN FITNESS. There is a new, state-of-the-art, cool, and hip training method that provides a much-needed venue where individuals of all abilities can train together and have fun. Called a Krankcycle, it was developed by Johnny Goldberg, the inventor of the spinning class, and was based on the hand-cycle, or arm cycle ergometer, used by persons with disabilities. The Krankcycle features independent crank arms; adjustable headstock and self tensioning chain; elliptical bends in the frame to encourage sitting, standing, and increased movement options for creative choreography; it’s smaller and easier to move, much like the spinning cycle, and costs less.  Read more at http://www.ncpad.org/fitt/fact_sheet.php?sheet=638. [Source: NCPAD News, 7(8) 2008]

October 1-31, 2008
International: http://www.iwalktoschool.org/
US: http://www.walktoschool.org/

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


USC RESEARCHER TESTIFIES. Dr. Russ Pate, an exercise physiologist at the University of South Carolina, testified before the House Committee on Education and Labor on July 24, 2008 as it deliberated on the H.R. 3257, Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids Act (Fit Kids),. Dr. Pate stated that “A new field of research is providing encouraging evidence that physical activity may help with brain function and activity, and other recent studies have found a positive correlation between aerobic fitness and academic performance. Normal-weight children also have lower rates of school absenteeism than obese children and may also have reduced rates of tobacco use, insomnia, depression, and anxiety.” The full text of this testimony is at http://edlabor.house.gov/hearings/fc-2008-07-24.shtml.


ACTIVITY IMPROVES COGNITIVE FUNCTION.  A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society looked at women between the ages of 80 and 84 to determine whether an objective measure of daytime movement is associated with better cognitive function. For an average of three days, 2,736 women wore an accelerometer to objectively measure how much they moved during the day. None of the women showed evidence of dementia.  Women in the group with the highest amount of movement had better results on cognitive tests. The results were independent of physical function, health conditions, health-related behaviors or self-reported walking. Barnes, Blackwell, Stone, et al. “Cognition in Older Women: The Importance of Daytime Movement.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Published Online: July 24, 2008.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND NEIGHBORHOOD PARKS. Researchers collected observational data on 28 specific features from 33 parks, and 7-day physical activity logs from adult residents to study whether park size, number of features in the park, and distance to a park were related to its usage. Results showed that number of features was a significant predictor of increased use for physical activity, while size and distance were not. Park facilities (e.g., bike trails or ball fields) were more strongly related to park-based physical activity than park amenities (e.g., drinking fountains or picnic area).  Of facilities, trails had the strongest relationship with park use for physical activity. Kaczynski, Potwarka, Saelens.Association of Park Size, Distance, and Features with Physical Activity in Neighborhood Parks.” American Journal of Public Health, 98(8): 1451-1456.

HEALTH PASSPORT. The Health Passport program was a collaborative effort with school PE teachers, health educators, and researchers. Teachers used the Health Passport process to hold students accountable for their involvement in physical activity outside of PE class over 3-7 months.  Four groups of students (average n=25) were assigned to different levels of physical education lessons given by four different health educators. Results showed that children displayed five different profiles of involvement (regularity, transformation, bursting out and burning out, keeping aloof, and disguise) in completing the tasks related to their passport. PE teachers chose to trust students’ self-management capacity instead of using a formal evaluation to hold them accountable. Findings show that PE teachers can effectively promote physical activity beyond the school environment when they use specific strategies. Blais. “A Health Passport to Promote Children’s Regular Practice of Physical Activity Outside of School.” Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 27(3), 416-433, 2008.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN CHILDREN AGES 9-15. A large, geographically diverse population of youth from the U.S. was followed from birth to 15 years with a common study protocol as a part of the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) study of Early Child Care. The protocol included interviews as well as home, school, and neighborhood observations. Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) was measured using accelerometers. Results showed a steep decrease in MVPA with age, from approximately 3 hours of MVPA on both weekend and weekdays at age 9 to 49 minutes per weekday and 35 minutes per week-end at age 15. Boys were more active than girls, and the rate of decrease in MVPA was the same for boys and girls. The average age when youth crossed below the recommended amount of physical activity on weekends and weekdays was 14.7 & 13.4 years for boys and 13.1 & 12.6 years for girls respectively. Nader, Bradley, Houts, et al. “Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity From Ages 9 to 15 Years.” JAMA, 300(3): 295-305, 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.


INVESTMENT IN DISEASE PREVENTION PAYS OFF. A small, strategic investment in disease prevention could result in significant savings in health care costs, according to a new report released by the Trust for America’s Health. The report, “Prevention for a Healthier America: Investments in Disease Prevention Yield Significant Savings, Stronger Communities,” finds that an investment of $10 per person per year in proven community-based programs to increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and prevent smoking and other tobacco use could save more than $16 billion annually within five years (a return of $5.60 for every $1 spent). The report is available at http://www.healthyamericans.org/. [Source: Press Release, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 7/17/2008]

STRATEGIES FOR PROMOTING HEALTHY ENVIRONMENTS. On behalf of the Healthy Eating Active Living Convergence Partnership, the Prevention Institute has developed two briefs that provide strategies for promoting organizational policies and practices in support of healthy eating and physical activity.  The briefs identify opportunities for collaboration and focus on environments such as community, schools, workplaces, healthcare, government, and media.  The resources can be found at http://www.preventioninstitute.org/highlights.html and

SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL FINAL REPORT.  The National Safe Routes to School Task Force has released its final report, “Safe Routes to School: A Transportation Legacy.” This report represents the culmination of nearly two years of work by a Task Force of national experts in transportation, education, and child health and safety. Forty-two states have announced funding for local and/or statewide programs involving nearly 2,600 schools. The remaining states are either working to set up their programs or are in various stages of the first application cycle. To access the full report, visit www.saferoutesinfo.org/task_force. [Source: “American Bicyclist Update”, 8/4/2008]

SOCIAL SUPPORT ENCOURAGES WALKING. The “Step & Stride with Ruby” walking program provided 21 Red Hat Society chapters (totaling 556 women) with a start-up kit, step counters and a log to record their steps. The chapters recorded the total number of steps their participants walked on a public website to foster competition between chapters; participants in the three chapters with the largest number of steps at the end of the year also received cash prizes.  A majority of participants (87%) stayed with the program for the full year. For more findings and a link to the full report, go to http://www.aarp.org/research/health/prevention/step_stride.html
[Source ICAA Research Review, 8(28), 2008]


PUBLIC HEALTH AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT. The American Planning Association has created a talking points webpage as part of the American Institute of Architects’ “Communities by Design” program. These talking points provide facts and figures that support the argument for including public health concerns in decisions affecting the built environment. Architects can design environments that incorporate physical activity into people's daily routines, give them a community with attractive destinations within walking or biking distance, and keep safety in mind with lighting, ''eyes on the street'' design, traffic calming, and other techniques to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety. Read more at http://www.aia.org/liv_TP_health. [Source:  New Smart Growth Network State by State News Headlines, July 2008]

PLACES FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. “Facilitating Development of a Community Trail and Promoting Its Use to Increase Physical Activity among Youth and Adults” is an action guide from the Partnership for Prevention. Although there are many options for modifying the environment to allow for increased physical activity, community trails have a unique advantage in that they can accommodate different types of physical activity by people of all ages. Read more at http://www.prevent.org/actionguides/CommunityTrail.pdf

BIKES4WORK. The Bicycle Federation of Australia has launched a new service to help organizations set up bike fleets in their workplaces. Workplace bike fleets are similar to car fleets – they are available for employees to use for work trips where riding a bike is more convenient than other transport modes. There is a toolkit to assist organizations that may be considering implementation of a bike fleet. It can also be used by individuals who are trying to convince management of the benefits of a fleet. The toolkit can be accessed at www.travelsmart.gov.au/toolkits/bikefleets. [Source: AusPAnet E-News, 8/28/2008]

BICYCLE FRIENDLY BUSINESS. A new Bicycle Friendly Business program was launched in June by the League of American Bicyclists. It offers resources and technical assistance to help businesses create the culture and facilities to promote bicycling. The program appeals to businesses' corporate social responsibility and greening efforts. Learn more at http://preview.tinyurl.com/3obz2f.


INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON DIET AND ACTIVITY METHODS (ICDAM 7).  June 5-7, 2009: After introducing physical activity as a theme at the last meeting (Denmark 2006), diet and physical activity methods will be equally represented in all aspects of the program, hence, the change of the name, but not the acronym, of the meeting from the International Conference on Dietary Assessment Methods to International Conference on Diet and Activity Methods. The goal is to provide a forum for sharing knowledge on the assessment of diet and physical activity by promoting a better understanding of their strengths and limitations; stimulating international and interdisciplinary research focusing on analytical issues; and identifying future research priorities. For more information:  http://www.icdam.org/.

2008 EUROPEAN PUBLIC HEALTH CONFERENCE, "I-Health: health and innovation in Europe." Lisbon, Portugal, November 6-8, 2008. http://www.eupha.org/

NATIONAL TRAILS SYMPOSIUM, INNOVATIVE TRAILS: “Transforming the American Way of Life.” San Antonio, TX, November, 15-18, 2008. http://www.americantrails.org/2008/index.html

NOTE: The deadline for abstracts for the 2009 American College of Sports Medicine (Seattle, WA, May 27-30, 2009) is November 8, 2008. http://preview.tinyurl.com/3jlhpk.


Delores Pluto, Marsha Stepp, Catherine Carlstedt


IN THIS ISSUE – July - August 2008

NEWS YOU CAN USE: International Walk to School Month; Redesigned Healthfinder.gov

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON: Bike Resolutions; Complete Streets Bills

RESEARCH NOTES: VERB(tm) Campaign Summary; Neighborhood Design; Senior Intervention

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES:  American Fitness Index; PA Guidelines Report; UK’S NICE Research on PA

PROMOTING ACTIVE COMMUNITIES: Active Living Strategies; Bicycle Friendly Community Awards; Bicycle Friendly State Program Launched; “Active After School” Communities; Find Thirty Every Day (Australia); Active Living Minnesota

SCHOOLS: Active After-School Communities (Australia); School Health Profiles Released

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: 10th Annual International Symposium of Adapted Physical Activity; America on the Move's September Campaign; Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2008; 8th European Conference on Health Promotion and Health Education; Family Health and Fitness Day USA; WALK 21: 9th Annual; National Trails Symposium


Expand to read this issue.

"Promoting Health through Physical Activity"

I recently served on the our local county Transportation Study Commission charged with establishing roadway, public transit, and bike/ped/greenway priorities for the next 8+ years.  What a learning experience!  When I recommended that a “complete streets” philosophy underlie decision-making and project planning processes, the reaction was mixed - like a contentious dissertation defense, with me defending.  Public debate on a $.01 sales tax increase to fund projects has been heated.  Many of us advocate for active living policies (see What’s Happening in Washington section), but it’s not easy.

PS – the recommendation to adopt a complete streets philosophy was included in the Commission’s final report, but County Council can choose to ignore it.

Steve Hooker, PhD, Director


INTERNATIONAL WALK TO SCHOOL MONTH. It’s time to start planning for International Walk to School month in October. In the US, you can register at www.walktoschool.org/register. Registered schools will be displayed on an interactive map and organizers will have access to a variety of downloadable materials, including certificates, templates for printing stickers, and a frequent walker punch card. Registrants can also subscribe to receive a weekly e-newsletter with tips and resources on holding a Walk to School event. Not in the US? Find out if your country is participating at www.iwalktoschool.org. [Source: CDC/NSPAPPH Physical Activity One-Way Listserv, 6/19/2008]

REDESIGNED HEALTHFINDER.GOV. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has redesigned healthfinder.gov and is looking for feedback on the site. The new site has a prevention focus and has been redesigned based on usability and health literacy principles. The site’s “Quick Guide to Healthy Living” focuses on 5 key health behaviors, including physical activity. Check it out at http://beta.healthfinder.gov. Be sure to provide your comments using the feedback button.


BIKE RESOLUTIONS. House Concurrent Resolution 305, dubbed the National Bike Bill, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on May 21. The resolution documents the many ways in which bicycling benefits individuals, communities, and the nation. The Resolution has been forwarded to the U.S. Senate. A similar resolution was adopted at the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors on June 23. You can read the text of the House resolution at http://thomas.loc.gov and the text of the Mayors’ resolution at http://www.bikeleague.org/news/newsletter/e-news_061008.html (scroll to end of newsletter). [Source: American Bicyclists Update, June 2008]

COMPLETE STREETS BILLS. In May, Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced the Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2008 into the U.S. House (HR 5951). The bill would ensure that roads built and improved with federal funds safely serve everyone using the roadway, including pedestrians, bicyclists, bus riders, and people with disabilities. The Senate version of the bill was introduced in March. This is the first time that comprehensive complete streets bills have been introduced in the House and Senate. For more information on complete streets, please visit www.completestreets.org. [Sources: American Bicyclist Update, 5/12/08; CenterLines 201]


VERB(tm) CAMPAIGN SUMMARY. A supplemental issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine entitled "The VERB(tm) Campaign. Not about Health, All about Fun: Marketing Physical Activity to Children,” summarized the successful VERB Campaign that ended September 30, 2006. Evaluation methods and selected results are presented, along with previously unreported outcomes of the parent campaign, the effect of the augmented dose of marketing activities in six communities, and the testing of a communication theory underlying the campaign strategy. Free access: http://www.ajpm-online.net (American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 34, Issue 6, Supplement 1). Additional information about CDC's VERB Campaign can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/youthcampaign/. [Source: CDC/NSPAPPH Physical Activity One-Way Listserv, 5/29/2008]

NEIGHBORHOOD DESIGN, Using cross-sectional and quasi-longitudinal designs, researchers examined the association between neighborhood design and physical activity (PA) while controlling for preferences and attitudes.  A sample of 1,682 adults was stratified into two groups: movers and non-movers.  Respondents were asked to report PA within the past seven days and any change in PA within the year for movers and from one year ago for non-movers. Analyses showed an association between neighborhood design and PA.  Neighborhood characteristics that may improve PA include: attractiveness, PA options, interaction among neighbors, and safety.  Handy, Cao, & Mokhtarian. “The causal influence of neighborhood design on physical activity within the neighborhood: evidence from Northern California.” American Journal of Health Promotion, 22 (5):350-358, 2008.

SENIOR INTERVENTION. A neighborhood-based PA intervention among seniors aged 65 to 74 years was examined to determine potential increases in total physical activity levels and to explore factors linked to PA participation. 573 participants were recruited from 30 intervention neighborhoods and 30 control neighborhoods. Self-reported questionnaire was given at baseline, midpoint, and post-intervention. PA was assessed through the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. The intervention was successful in increasing time spent in weekly physical activity by 2.25 hours.  Financial struggle was positively correlated with PA time; whereas, a lack of social support resulted in a negative correlation. Jancey, Lee, Howat, et al. “The effectiveness of a PA intervention for seniors.” American Journal of Health Promotion, 22 (5):318-321, 2008.


AMERICAN FITNESS INDEX. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recently launched the ACSM American Fitness Index™ (AFI). This program is being implemented in partnership with the WellPoint/Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation. The AFI will provide an evidence- and science-based measurement of the state of health and fitness at the community level throughout the U.S. During the pilot phase, the project assessed the 15 largest cities in the U.S. (plus Indianapolis). Go to http://www.americanfitnessindex.org/ to read the reports and see how the rankings were created.

PA GUIDELINES REPORT. On June 20th, the USDHHS released the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report. It summarizes the Committee’s review of science relating PA to a variety of health outcomes, and addresses the benefits of PA for particular subgroups of the population: children and youth, pregnant and postpartum women, persons with disabilities, individuals with some chronic conditions, and older adults. It provides the scientific basis for PA Guidelines currently being developed for a fall 2008 launch. You may comment on the report, but it will not be amended; all comments will be considered in the preparation of the PA Guidelines. Read and comment at http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/.

UK’S NICE RESEARCH ON PA.  The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is the independent organization that provides national guidance in the UK on health promotion and disease prevention and treatment. NICE recently produced a guidance report titled “Promoting Physical Activity in the Workplace.” The report includes recommendations in four areas: policy and planning; implementing PA programs; components of PA programs, and supporting employers. In each area, the document indicates the type of action and who should take it. Your can read the report at http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/index.jsp?action=byID&o=11981. [Source: CDC/NSPAPPH Physical Activity One-Way Listserv, 6/9/08]


ACTIVE LIVING STRATEGIES. “Strategies for Enhancing the Built Environment to Support Healthy Eating and Active Living” is the first of four policy briefs from the Healthy Eating, Active Living Convergence Partnership. It outlines organizational practices and public policies being considered to improve the built environment in support of healthy eating and regular physical activity. In the area of Active Transportation and Public Transit, strategies include enacting complete streets policies, connecting roadways to complementary systems of trails and bicycle paths, adopting pedestrian and bicycle master plans, investing in public transit, ensuring that children can walk and bicycle safely to school, and increasing federal funding for active transportation and public transit. Strategies are also included for activity-friendly recreation environments and land use planning. Review at http://www.kintera.org/site/c.fhLOK6PELmF/b.3917599/.

BICYCLE FRIENDLY COMMUNITY AWARDS: Eleven communities were recently honored with the League of American Bicyclists’ prestigious Bicycle Friendly Community designation, and eleven communities renewed their designation. The new winners bring the total number of Bicycle Friendly Communities to 84, stretching across 31 states. The League awards this four-year designation to communities that have made impressive, measurable efforts to integrate bicyclists into the community. See press release at http://www.bikeleague.org/media/press/ for the list of new recipients. [Source: American Bicyclist Special Issue, 5/1/2008]

BICYCLE FRIENDLY STATE PROGRAM LAUNCHED. The League of American Bicyclists has expanded its Bicycle Friendly Community program to cover States. Initially, the Bicycle Friendly State program will rank all 50 states using over 50 criteria ranging from state laws to advocacy and education programs. States that wish to apply for a Bicycle Friendly State designation can receive further recognition, feedback, technical assistance, training and encouragement to improve their bicycling legislation, projects, and programs. For more information, go to http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlystate. [Source: American Bicyclists Update, 6/08]

FIND THIRTY® EVERY DAY [Australia]. This campaign aims to increase the number of Western Australian adults who are sufficiently active for good health. The campaign includes television advertising, supporting media, resources, and community-based strategies. The website (http://www.findthirtyeveryday.com.au) includes information on the campaign and how to “Find Thirty® every day,” as well as information for professionals working in physical activity. The campaign is an initiative of Heart Foundation and is funded by the Department of Health, Western Australia.  [Source: AusPAnet e-News 6/6/08]

ACTIVE LIVING MINNESOTA. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota selected eight Minnesota communities to receive funding from its Active Living Minnesota program. The funding will support grassroots efforts to make towns, cities and counties across “active-living friendly” for walking and cycling. Learn more at http://preview.tinyurl.com/69k4ut. [Source: Centerlines 204]


ACTIVE AFTER-SCHOOL COMMUNITIES [Australia]. More than 150,000 children are now playing sports, games and activities after school in Australia’s Active After-school Communities (AASC) program. The AASC program provides Australian primary school aged children with access to free, structured physical activity programs after school from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm. The program is designed to engage traditionally inactive children in structured physical activities and build links with community based organizations to create opportunities for ongoing participation. See http://www.ausport.gov.au/participating/schools_and_juniors/aasc for more information.

SCHOOL HEALTH PROFILES RELEASED. CDC’s Division of School Health recently released a report from the 2006 School Health Profiles, a system of surveys assessing school health policies and programs in states and large urban school districts. These surveys are conducted biennially by state and local education and health agencies among middle and high school principals and lead health education teachers. The profiles include a detailed description of the methodology; short-term and long-term changes over time; and results related to the six components of the coordinated school health model. Detailed reports and state fact sheets can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/profiles/index.htm.


10th Annual International Symposium of Adapted Physical Activity:  Creative Approaching and Practice in Adapted Physical Therapy. Seoul, Korea, August 8-10, 2008. http://www.ifapa.biz

8th European Conference on Health Promotion and Health Education. New frontiers: future political, cultural, and scientific challenges for Health Promotion. September 10-13, 2008, Turin, Italy. http://www.hp08torino.org/

Family Health and Fitness Day USA. The purpose is to promote family involvement in physical activity, one of the goals of the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health, September 27, 2008. http://www.fitnessday.com/family

WALK 21: 9th Annual:  Create a world where people choose and are able to walk as a way to travel, to be healthy and to relax. October 8-10, 2008, Barcelona, Spain. http://www.walk21.com/conferences/barcelona.asp

National Trails Symposium.  The agenda addresses both non-motorized and motorized issues and a vision for trails and greenways nationwide. November, 15-18, 2008, San Antonio, TX. http://www.americantrails.org/2008/index.html

Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2008. Transforming Communities. September 2-5, 2008; Seattle, WA. http://www.bikewalk.org/conference.php


USC PRC HIGHLIGHTED ON CDC PRC WEBSITE: The USC PRC has been working with Sumter County Active Lifestyles to provide mini-grants to increase physical activity resources in underserved areas of Sumter County. This project is the subject of a feature story on the CDC PRC website. Read more at.


Delores Pluto, Marsha Stepp, Catherine Carlstedt , Mary Ellen Suitt


NEWS YOU CAN USE:  Public Bike Rental Program in DC; WE Play!; National Senior Health and Fitness Day; National Trails Day; Bike Week [UK]

RESEARCH NOTES:  Is PA a Gateway Behavior for Diet?; PA and
Neighborhood Resources among High School Girls

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES:  Healthy Minnesota Workplace Initiative; Potential of Parks and Recreation; Evaluation Tools for Local SRTS Programs; Community Assessment Tools (CAT's)

PROMOTING ACTIVE COMMUNITIES:  A Residents' Guide to Creating Safe and Walkable Communities; Healthy Transportation Network; Benefits of Complete Streets; Local Governments Can Promote Active Living

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS:  Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM); 53rd Annual AAHPERD Leadership Development Conference; 7th World Congress on Aging and Physical Activity; Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2008

Expand to read this issue.

"Promoting Health through Physical Activity"

I recently attended two outstanding meetings: the Active Living Research (ALR) Conference and the International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health (ICPAPH).  At the ALR conference, the progress we’ve made in understanding environmental and policy approaches to promote physical activity was apparent, as was the lack of understanding we have in how to get certain sectors (e.g., schools) to implement these strategies.  At the ICPAPH, I became aware of similar challenges faced by others throughout the world.  Sedentary lifestyle is a global phenomenon, and it seems as if we are fighting an uphill battle.  That being said, there are excellent researchers and practitioners in many countries working hard to discover and implement effective PA promoting programs and policies.  Kudos to the planning committees for excellent programs!  I encourage you to visit the web sites for information about the presentations at these two meetings (http://www.activelivingresearch.org/alr/conference/2008 and http://www.icpaph08.org).  It will be well worth your effort.

Steve Hooker, PhD, Director


PUBLIC BIKE RENTAL PROGRAM IN DC.  Next month, Washington, DC will be initiating a self-service, public bicycle-sharing program called SmartBike DC.  Bicycles will be available to subscribers at 10 locations in the city for a fee of $40/year.  Learn more about it at http://www.smartbikedc.com/.

WE PLAY! Community members can learn how to fundraise, build and advocate for great places to play at Workshops Entirely on Play (WE Play!).  These one-day, free regional trainings cover everything from planning a playground project to involving your local government in the cause of play.  See http://preview.tinyurl.com/6bb2fr  for more info.

NATIONAL SENIOR HEALTH AND FITNESS DAY:  The common goal for this day: to help keep older Americans healthy and fit.  May 28, 2008.  http://www.fitnessday.com/senior.

NATIONAL TRAILS DAY:  Discover, learn about, and celebrate trails while participating in educational exhibits, trail dedications, gear demonstrations, instructional workshops and trail work projects.  June 7, 2008.  http://www.americanhiking.org/events/ntd/index.html

BIKE WEEK [UK]:  A challenge to everyone to get out of their cars, step away from the TV, and get on their bikes!  June 14-17, 2008.  http://www.bike2work.info


IS PA A GATEWAY BEHAVIOR FOR DIET?  Eating behaviors of 280 sedentary women enrolled in a randomized controlled physical activity trial were monitored to examine cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships between health behaviors within the context of physical activity.  Participants were randomly assigned to receive one of three print-based interventions, including Jumpstart, Choose to Move and a wellness control condition.  Investigators found that participants in more advanced PA stages of change reported significantly greater fruit/vegetable consumption than participants in less advanced stages.  Tailored and targeted print-based PA interventions showed significant reductions in fat intake from baseline to month 3 and baseline to month 12.  There was no significant effect on fruit/vegetable intake.  Researchers concluded that diet change was independent of physical activity improvements.  Dutton, Napolitano, Whiteley, & Marcus. “Is physical activity a gateway behavior for diet?  Findings from a physical activity trial.” Preventive Medicine, 2008, 46:216-221.

PA AND NEIGHBORHOOD RESOURCES AMONG HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS:  Researchers examined the relationship between neighborhood physical activity resources and physical activity level in high school girls.  High school girls who had participated in a large physical activity intervention trial (n=1506) completed the 3-Day Physical Activity Recall in 12th grade.  Data were collected on the number of physical activity resources within a .75 mile buffer of each girl’s home.  An average of 3.5 physical activity resources were found within a .75 mile street-network buffer; but 36% of the girls had no physical activity resource within the buffer.  After considering multiple physical activity resources, significant associations were found between vigorous physical activity and the number of commercial physical activity facilities.  Additionally, there was a significant increase in total METs with an increase in the number of parks for white girls. Pate, Colabianchi, Porter, et al. “Physical activity and neighborhood resources in high school girls.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2008; 34(5).


HEALTHY MINNESOTA WORKPLACE INITIATIVE. The Minnesota Department of Health received a grant from the National Governor's Association to promote health through active living and healthy eating strategies. A web-based toolkit was developed for Minnesota employers to implement worksite wellness programs. It features ready-to-use materials such as handouts, newsletters, and e-mail templates, as well as sample wellness policies, assessment tools, and examples of promising programs throughout the state. The toolkit is a one-stop-shop for wellness coordinators charged with improving the health of their workforce. For more information, visit http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/hpcd/chp/worksite/index.htm.

POTENTIAL OF PARKS AND RECREATION.  The March 2008 issue of the Research Digest from the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports focuses on "The Potential of Parks and Recreation in Addressing Physical Activity and Fitness." The article summarizes current research on the relationship between PA and parks and recreation.  The March issue can be accessed at http://preview.tinyurl.com/6e7qul.  To see an archive of previous issues or subscribe to the Research Digest, go to http://preview.tinyurl.com/3kdgg4.

EVALUATION TOOLS FOR LOCAL SRTS PROGRAMS.  The National Center for Safe Routes to School has announced the release of new resources to assist local communities in evaluating their SRTS programs.  These include a review of the benefits of evaluation, a step-by-step process for conducting one, and an overview of commonly used methods, including standardized forms developed by the Center.  The “Student Travel Tally” records the frequency of various transportation modes.  The “Parent Survey” measures parent attitudes that influence whether children are allowed to walk or bicycle to school.  Evaluation resources are part of the SRTS Guide at http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/guide/evaluation/.

COMMUNITY ASSESSMENT TOOLS (CAT’s).  Geographic Information System (GIS)-based CATs are featured in a new on-line demonstration by the Active Living Resource Center.  Tools were developed that allow community members to assess the strengths and limitations of an area by using a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) to collect information about safe routes to school.  Software quickly assembles maps showing curb ramps, streets that are deemed unsafe due to heavy traffic, missing sidewalks, or intersections difficult for children to cross.  Other planned modules include ADA, transit, Complete Streets, and bikeability.  The on-line demo can be viewed at http://www.activelivingresources.org/cat_resources.php.  [Source: CDC/NSPAPPH Physical Activity One-Way Listserv, 4/2/08]


A RESIDENTS' GUIDE TO CREATING SAFE AND WALKABLE COMMUNITIES.  Walkable communities have sidewalks, trails, and street crossings that are safe, accessible, and comfortable for people of all ability levels.  "A Residents' Guide to Creating Safe and Walkable Communities" from the Federal Highway Administration provides examples from communities that are working to improve pedestrian safety.  The guide provides a thorough introduction to pedestrian safety, and includes many references to other resources and materials for those interested in more in-depth information.  You can find the PDF document at http://preview.tinyurl.com/5qmdw6  or view it online at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/ped/ped_walkguide

HEALTHY TRANSPORTATION NETWORK (HTN).  The HTN website provides walking and bicycling safety information for everyday transportation - doing it safely and in supportive environments.  HTN also trains local stakeholders interested in creating environments that encourage safe walking and bicycling.  The network is a project of the California Center for Physical Activity - a joint program of the California Department of Public Health State and Local Injury Control Branch (SLIC) and the University of California San Francisco, Department of Nursing's Institute for Health and Aging.  Funding is provided by the Federal Highway Administration and administered by the California Department of Transportation.  Visit this website at http://www.healthytransportation.net/. [Source: New Smart Growth Network State by State News Headlines, 4/14/2008]

BENEFITS OF COMPLETE STREETS.  Visit the Benefits page on the Complete Streets website at http://www.completestreets.org/benefits.html  for two new fact sheets, "Complete Streets Fight Climate Change” and “Complete Streets Spark Economic Revitalization.”  There are also fact sheets documenting the benefits of complete streets for children, people with disabilities, older adults, health, transit, and safety. [Complete Streets News, 4/10/08]

LOCAL GOVERNMENTS CAN PROMOTE ACTIVE LIVING. The top three actions local governments say they could take to combat health problems related to obesity are 1) developing a cohesive system of parks and trails, 2) using zoning to support mixed land uses, and 3) requiring neighborhood streets to be designed considering pedestrians and cyclists.  These are the results of a survey recently conducted by ICMA (International City/County Management Association) to understand how local government leaders view their role in promoting active living and healthy eating.  For details go to http://www.icma.org/main/ns.asp?nsid=3695&LGM=1.


ANNUAL MEETING OF THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SPORTS MEDICINE (ACSM):  “At the Crossroads of Science and Practice.”  May 28-31, 2008, Indianapolis, IN

53RD ANNUAL AAHPERD LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE:  “Many Voices, One Mission.”  June 18-21, 2008, Washington, DC

7TH WORLD CONGRESS ON AGING AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: “Active Aging:  Focus on Longevity and Physical Activity.”  July 26-29, 2008, Tsukuba, Japan.  http://www.isapa2008.org/

PRO WALK/PRO BIKE 2008:  “Transforming Communities" (registration opens May 10).  September 2-5, 2008, Seattle, WA.  http://www.bikewalk.org/conference.php


CARDIORESPIRATORY FITNESS AS A PREDICTOR OF STROKE. Dr. Steven Hooker, Director of the USC Prevention Research Center, recently presented a study on the association between cardiorespiratory fitness and stroke at the International Stroke Conference in New Orleans. Based on an analysis of data from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study at the Cooper Institute in Dallas, TX between 1970 and 2001, this study is the first to find a significant, independent association between cardiorespiratory fitness and fatal and nonfatal stroke in men and nonfatal stroke in women. An abstract of Dr. Hooker's presentation can be accessed at http://stroke.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/39/2/527. The paper will be published in Stroke.


Delores Pluto, Marsha Stepp, Catherine Carlstedt


NEWS YOU CAN USE: National Bike Month; Good Walking Cities; Practical Advice for Parents; Ten Reasons We're Couch Potatoes

RESEARCH NOTES: SilverSneakers Fitness Program; An Ecological Approach; Michigan's PAC Program; WV Walks; Special Issue of Preventive Medicine

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES: Active Education; Eat Smart-Play Hard(tm); Resources for Cycling; Preventing Diseases through Physical Activity; WAY to a Healthier Alabama; CDC Community Health Resources

PROMOTING ACTIVE COMMUNITIES: Achieve Initiative; Funding for Children's Running Programs; Smart Moves; Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program


PREVENTION RESEARCH CENTER UPDATE: Cardiovascular Fitness and Stroke

Expand to read this issue.

"Promoting Health through Physical Activity"

Physical Activity Special Interest Group (PA SPIG) needs your commitment! As many of you know, we are 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. To be recognized formally by APHA, we must recruit at least 100 new members who will select the PA SPIG as their primary affiliation. We invite you to join us in our efforts to elevate PA as a priority within APHA, and to provide PA and other professionals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to address sedentary behavior and its detrimental consequences. We call on persons in diverse disciplines (e.g., physical education, kinesiology, transportation, land use planning, commercial fitness industry, medicine, gerontology, nursing, clinical exercise physiology, and athletic training) to take this opportunity to align their interests and efforts with those from the public health arena. If you are willing to commit to becoming either a professional or student member of APHA and the PA SPIG, click on the following link to access the membership commitment form and submission instructions: http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/SPIGform.pdf. No membership dues are needed now - we only need your commitment. Once we have received formal SPIG approval, we will alert you to join APHA and the PA SPIG officially.

Steve Hooker, PhD, Director


NATIONAL BIKE MONTH. Bike Month planning has started! "Bike to Work Day" is May 16 this year, and Bike to Work Week is May 12-16. Don't forget to memorialize fallen cyclists one week later on a "Ride of Silence," to be held nationwide on May 21. For more information, go to http://www.bikeleague.org/.

GOOD WALKING CITIES. Every year, Prevention Magazine and the American Podiatry Medical Association (APMA) compile a list of America's best walking cities. This year, professionals from six organizations devoted to promoting walkable communities picked the ten largest cities in each state and ranked them based on dozens of criteria. Visit the website to find out how your favorite cites rank: http://www.prevention.com/bestcities/. To see the criteria used to rank them go to http://preview.tinyurl.com/2ese4p.

PRACTICAL IDEAS FOR PARENTS [Australia]. The "Unplug + Play" Parent Campaign targets parents in Western Australia to increase awareness of the urgent need for children to spend more time in active play and less time on TV, electronic games and the Internet. Watching TV for more than two hours a day is associated with a higher risk of obesity, poor fitness, increased social problems, and may also be associated with lower school achievement. Visit http://preview.tinyurl.com/ytvysd to download their "Unplug + Play" brochure and Electronic Entertainment Tally Sheet. [Source: AusPAnet e-News, 2/29/08]

TEN REASONS WE'RE COUCH POTATOES. We all know exercise is good for us, and the CDC says that if done it regularly, it can lower people's risk of heart attack, colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as help with weight control, arthritis pain, and even symptoms of depression. It also cuts down on ER and doctor visits and the need for medications. Apparently, however, that's not enough to get us up off our couches. See ten reasons so many of us don't exercise illustrated in pictures at http://preview.tinyurl.com/3dauzl. [NCPPA News, 3/6/08]


SILVERSNEAKERS FITNESS PROGRAM. A CDC-funded study conducted by Group Health and the University of Washington reports that older adults who participated in the SilverSneakers Fitness Program visited their primary and specialty physicians more often, were admitted to the hospital less, and had lower overall healthcare costs compared to a control group of over 9,000 people who were the same age and gender. Nguyen, Ackermann, Maciejewski, et al. "Managed-Medicare Health Club Benefit and Reduced Health Care Costs among Older Adults." Prev Chronic Dis, 5:1, 2008. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2008/jan/07_0148.htm

AN ECOLOGICAL APPROACH WITH PRIMARY-CARE COUNSELING TO PROMOTE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. The effectiveness of primary-care counseling using a 2-pronged intervention to increase physical activity (PA) was examined by researchers in Greenville County, South Carolina. The intervention included physician counseling as well as educational maps highlighting recreational facilities within 2 miles of the healthcare center. Two types of control groups were compared to the experimental group. One control group received PA counseling only, and the other received normal care. PA was measured using the short version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), comprised of 7 questions that allow for sensitivity to mild PA such as walking. Results from the 237 randomly assigned patients showed that the experimental group significantly increased their weekly PA in comparison with patients in the control groups. Additionally, between baseline and second visits, the number of hours spent sitting per day decreased by one hour for both the experimental-group and the control group receiving counseling. Reed. Malvern, Muthukrishnan, et al. "An Ecological Approach Combined with Primary Care Counseling to Promote Physical Activity." Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 39(5):S80-S81, 2007.

MICHIGAN'S PAC PROGRAM. Michigan's "Promoting Active Communities" (PAC) is a web-based assessment that enables communities to evaluate their programs, policies, and environments related to physical activity in order to generate new ideas and increase community involvement. Originally designed in 2001, this community tool was evaluated and improved based on literature review, focus groups, and expert review. The literature review resulted in the identification of indicators in 15 categories. These results were used to create a theoretical model and a matrix of action-living design elements. Focus groups communicated motivations, processes, and obstacles for completing the PAC and developing an action plan. The information gathered was then used to improve the PAC website http://www.mihealthtools.org/communities/ and create a technical assistance document, "Design Guidelines for Active Michigan Communities" to aid in creating active-living environments. Alaimo, Bassett, Wilkerson, et al. "The Promoting Active Communities Program: Improvement of Michigan's Self-Assessment Tool." J Phys Act Health, 5(1):4-18, 2008.

WV WALKS. The WV Walks campaign to promote physical activity replicated the community-wide campaign methodology used by Wheeling Walks, a social marketing intervention to promote physical activity in insufficiently active 40-65 year olds. The WV Walks intervention included an 8-week mass media campaign, policy, and environmental activities with pre and post random-digit-dial cohort telephone studies measuring the differences from baseline and post campaign in intervention and comparison regions. The quasi-experimental intervention successfully enrolled more than 5400 residents and logged over 6,862,771 walking minutes. Active respondents to the WV Walks initiative in north-central West Virginia were 82% more likely to become active walkers versus the comparison community. Furthermore, 12% of the target population transitioned from insufficiently active to sufficiently active (30 minutes or more, 5 days per week) versus the control population. Positive results from the campaign increased confidence that the initial effects of the Wheeling Walks intervention can be applied to similar rural communities. Reger-Nash, Bauman, Cooper, et al. WV Walks: "Replication with Expanded Reach." J Phys Act Health, Jan;5(1):19- 27, 2008.

SPECIAL ISSUE OF PREVENTIVE MEDICINE. The January 2008 special issue of Preventive Medicine (Volume 46, Issue 1: pp. 1-84) focuses on self-transportation, public transportation, and health. Many of these articles are related to PA. Access is free at http://preview.tinyurl.com/24g79y


ACTIVE EDUCATION. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Active Living Research program has published a research brief entitled "Active Education: Physical Education, Physical Activity and Academic Performance" that summarizes peer-reviewed research on the relationship between physical activity and academic performance among children and adolescents. The study concluded that more time in physical education and other school-based physical activity programs does not adversely affect academic performance, and that physically active and fit children tend to have better academic achievement. There are several possible mechanisms by which physical education and regular physical activity could improve academic achievement, including enhanced concentration skills and improved classroom behavior. Download the brief at: http://www.activelivingresearch.org/alr/alr/files/Active_Ed.pdf. [Source: CDC/NSPAPPH Physical Activity One-Way Listserv, 2/15/08]

EAT SMART. PLAY HARD.(tm) The USDA Food and Nutrition Services' Eat Smart. Play Hard.(tm) Campaign has revised its website for educators. This site provides practical tools to motivate children and their caregivers to eat healthy and be physically active. Messages and materials are fun, and are based on MyPyramid and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Find free materials at http://www.fns.usda.gov/eatsmartplayhardeducators/. [Source: NCPPA News, 3/6/08]

RESOURCES FOR CYCLING. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) launched its redesigned bicycling website at www.bicyclinginfo.org. New features include a centralized library of bicycling-related materials and documents compiled by practitioners and researchers, and several searchable databases. Users can sign up to received email updates and news from the Center. [Source: American Bicyclist Update, 1/14/08]

PREVENTING DISEASES THROUGH PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. The Healthy States Initiative produces policy briefs and talking points that provide state legislators with concise, up-to-date information on public health topics. "Talking points on preventing disease through PA" can be accessed at http://preview.tinyurl.com/2gxlb5. It describes the effects of being inactive, benefits of PA, associated disparities, and action items for state legislators. Visit the Healthy States website at http://www.healthystates.csg.org/Publications to see the list of available publications. [Source: Council of State Governments Newsletter, 2/27/08]

WAY TO A HEALTHIER ALABAMA, a coalition of public and private partners, is committing $1 million to public schools to combat childhood obesity. Using a kid-friendly, multidisciplinary health and wellness program called Wellness, Academics, and You (WAY) for fourth and fifth graders, the coalition is fighting childhood obesity and improving the health of Alabama's school children and their families. For more information, visit http://www.healthy-america.org. [Source: Health Policy Highlights & Healthy States E- Weekly, 2/13/08]

CDC COMMUNITY HEALTH RESOURCES. The CDC, working with the YMCA's Pioneering Healthier Communities program, recently implemented a new website designed to be the single source for finding CDC's best web- based materials concerning chronic disease and health disparities (http://www.cdc.gov/communityhealthresources). The site features direct links to hundreds of resources, including program guidelines and recommendations, campaign materials, handbooks, fact sheets, evaluation frameworks, and behavioral and risk factor data, among other topics. For physical activity information, click on "Physical Activity" under "Browse by health topic."


ACHIEVE INITIATIVE. The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) and the YMCA of the USA have announced that 10 communities will participate in a collaboration between local health departments and YMCAs. This initiative, "Action Communities for Health, Innovation, and EnVironmental ChangE" (ACHIEVE), will partner local leaders and stakeholders to build healthier communities by promoting policy and environmental changes focused on: obesity, diabetes, heart disease, healthy eating, physical activity, and preventing tobacco use. The communities are: Blackhawk, IA; Wichita, KS; Hancock County, ME; Albuquerque, NM; Cattaraugus, NY; Cleveland County, NC; Stark, OH; Allentown, PA; Houston, TX; and Tacoma, WA. The announcement can be viewed at http://preview.tinyurl.com/2lzbxb.

FUNDING FOR CHILDREN'S RUNNING PROGRAMS. To provide financial support for the fight against childhood obesity, Saucony, Inc., a global supplier of performance athletic footwear and apparel, established a foundation to fund grant proposals from nonprofit organizations that initiate and support running and fitness programs for kids. Eligible nonprofits are programs whose participants are 18 years of age or less and can demonstrate that their program positively impacts the lives of participants through their increased participation in running. The foundation has two grant cycles per year, with up to seven awards (a maximum of $10,000 each) granted each cycle. Deadline for Applications: June 13, 2008. For details and an application form go to http://www.sauconyrunforgood.com/Application.pdf [NCPPA News, 3/6/08]

SMART MOVES [Australia]. "Smart Moves - Physical Activity Programs in State Schools" is a program in Queensland, Australia designed to increase the curriculum time in which students are engaged in healthy, better quality physical activity. Under this new program, primary school students will be required to participate in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day. In secondary schools the requirement is a minimum of two hours a week. Information on "Smart Moves" and its guidelines is available at http://preview.tinyurl.com/2rs7he. [Source: AusPAnet e-News, 2/14/08]

NON-MOTORIZED TRANSPORTATION PILOT PROGRAM: The US Department of Transportation has submitted to Congress an interim report on the non-motorized transportation pilot program in four pilot communities (Columbia, MO; Marin County, CA; Minneapolis, MN; and Sheboygan County, WI). The purpose of the program was to construct "... a network of non-motorized transportation infrastructure facilities, including sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian and bicycle trails, that connect directly with transit stations, schools, residences, businesses, recreation areas, and other community activity centers." A draft of the report can be downloaded at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bikeped/ntpp/index.htm. This draft does not include a few technical corrections that will be found in the final report, to be posted on the Federal Highway Administration's Web site. [Source: CDC Livability Listserv, 2/20/08]


2008 SPARK INSTITUTES. Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARK) Institutes has announced its schedule for 2008: These courses, offered in San Diego, CA, provide a research-based approach to physical education content and instruction. Visit http://www.sparkpe.org/institutes.jsp for details on class schedules and registration information.

CDC WORKSHOPS. CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) has created the DASH Training Network (D-Train), master trainers who conduct workshops on how to use school health tools. Workshops on the School Health Index: A Self-Assessment and Planning Guide (SHI) and the Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (PECAT) are available. For a limited number of sites, CDC will pay expenses associated with the trainer (travel, lodging, per diem, honorarium); the site must cover other costs. Most workshops will be held as part of a state professional development meeting or in conjunction with a conference. Learn more at http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/DTrain.


CARDIORESPIRATORY FITNESS AS A PREDICTOR OF STROKE. Dr. Steven Hooker, Director of the USC Prevention Research Center, recently presented a study on the association between cardiorespiratory fitness and stroke at the International Stroke Conference in New Orleans. Based on an analysis of data from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study at the Cooper Institute in Dallas, TX between 1970 and 2001, this study is the first to find a significant, independent association between cardiorespiratory fitness and fatal and nonfatal stroke in men and nonfatal stroke in women. An abstract of Dr. Hooker's presentation can be accessed at http://stroke.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/39/2/527. The paper will be published in Stroke.


Delores Pluto, Marsha Stepp, Catherine Carlstedt


NEWS YOU CAN USE: Online Physical Activity Programs; Bike Safety PSA

RESEARCH NOTES: Dog Ownership and Physical Activity; Physical Activity and Mortality; StrongWomen Community Strength Training; Pedometers and PA; Mortality Predictors in Older Adults

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES: Exercise is Medicine™; Trail-Building Toolbox; Adolescent Obesity Research; Physical Activity and the Deaf

PROMOTING ACTIVE COMMUNITIES: Complete Streets Briefing Paper; Promoting PA among Those 50+; Healthy Land Use Plans; High-Tech Solution for Promoting Bicycling; Promoting PA at the Mall

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: APHA Annual Meeting; Training on Assessment of the Built Environment; Physical Activity and Public Health Courses (US); Physical Activity Course for Public Health Practitioners (Canada)

USC PREVENTION RESEARCH CENTER UPDATE: Question Order Matters When Assessing PA and Walking

Expand to read this issue.

"Promoting Health through Physical Activity"

Recently, I came across one of the presidential primary debates on TV and stopped to listen. Interestingly, two of the candidates mentioned primary prevention, health and wellness policies, and incentives as critical to health care reform. They talked about prevention of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension through healthy lifestyles, and how the health care system is really a "disease care" system that is spiraling out of control. I was pleasantly surprised that these statements were made is such a vital public forum (by Republican candidates no less). My wife took notice and commented how my work in promoting health through physical activity is very important to these issues. As such, so is your work! With primary prevention on the lips of these and other policy makers, we are positioned to make important contributions to the health and wellness of our country. Let's make sure our voices are heard and our work recognized as much as possible, so that we can be a part of the solution in 2008 and beyond.

Steve Hooker, PhD, Director


ONLINE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PROGRAMS: Two online activity/adventure programs are available on the AARP website. "Get Fit on Route 66" users can virtually trace the legendary highway that runs from the shores of Lake Michigan to the California coast by recording their exercise minutes online; minutes convert to highway miles. You may register to participate at http://aarp.getfitonroute66.com/. "Step Up to Better Health" incorporates a step counter to help users build up to walking 10,000 steps per day by virtually traveling along one of four famous trails: Lewis & Clark, Alaska Highway, Highway 50, or the Appalachian Trail. Register at http://aarp.stepuptobetterhealth.com/default.asp.

BIKE SAFETY PSA: The Sonoma County (CA) Bicycle Coalition public service announcement (PSA) promoting bike safety has been shown on TV stations. This video was directed by award-winning filmmaker Michael Danty, and is now available for viewing at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_PEt8xfjG4. Another PSA promoting bicycling as an activity is also available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFUgNHg_qaM.


DOG OWNERSHIP AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Data from the first phase of a RESIDentail Environmental (RESIDE) project in Australia was used to investigate the association between dog ownership and physical activity (PA) levels. Of 1813 adults surveyed, 44% were dog owners. Dog owners perceived their environments to be more attractive and accessible compared to non-dog owners. Self-reported PA data indicated that dog walking accounted for 65% of all walking, and 93% of all walking-for-recreation within the neighborhood. Dog ownership was found to be independently associated with physical activity and walking. Cutt, Giles-Corti, Knuiman, et al. "Understanding Dog Owner's Increased Levels of Physical Activity: Results From RESIDE." American Journal of Public Health, 98(1): 66-69, 2008.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MORTALITY: The NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study examined recommended PA guidelines in relation to mortality in 252,925 persons aged 50 to 71. Mortality was further categorized into "deaths due to cardiovascular disease" (CD) and "deaths due to cancer." Results indicate that achieving recommended moderate activity levels of 20 minutes 3 times per week was associated with a 27% decrease in mortality risk compared with being inactive. PA of any kind was associated also with a clear decrease in risk of mortality. The inverse association between PA and mortality was mainly due to mortality from CD, though mortality due to cancer also had a statistically significant reduced mortality risk. Leitzman et al. "Physical Activity Recommendations and Decreased Risk of Mortality." Arch Intern Med., 167(22):2453-2460, 2007.

STRONGWOMEN COMMUNITY STRENGTH TRAINING: The StrongWomen program aims to enable women aged 40 or older to maintain their strength, function, and independence. Program leaders are trained through participation in the StrongWomen Workshop and receive the StrongWomen Tool Kit and further support to implement the program in their communities. Assessment of the StrongWomen program implemented in 38 states reveals that successful evidence-informed strength training programs can be successful using trained leaders in the community. Seguin, Economos, Hyatt. "Design and National Dissemination of the StrongWomen Community Strength Training Program." Preventing Chronic Disease, 5(1), 2008. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2008/jan/06_0165.htm

PEDOMETERS AND PA: A recent review of 26 studies evaluated the association of pedometer use with PA and health outcomes among outpatient adults. Studies with reported assessment of pedometer use among adult outpatients, change in number of steps per day, and with more than 5 participants were included. Eight studies were randomized control trials (RCT); 18 were observational. The populations had a mean age of 49; 85% were women; and the mean duration of intervention was 18 weeks. In the RCTs, pedometer users significantly increased physical activity by 2,183 steps per day over baseline. Physical activity increased 27% overall, and having a step goal (such as 10,000 steps per day) was an important predictor of increased PA. Data from all studies showed a significant decrease in BMI among pedometer users. Bravata, Smith-Spangler, et al. "Using Pedometers to Increase Physical Activity and Improve Health: A Systematic Review." JAMA, 298(19): 2296-2304, 2007.

MORTALITY PREDICTORS IN OLDER ADULTS: In a study (from 1979-2001) to determine the association among cardiorespiratory fitness, adiposity, and mortality in older adults, low fitness predicted higher risk of all-cause mortality (after adjustment for potential confounding factors). Fit individuals had greater longevity than unfit individuals, regardless of body composition or fat distribution. Data provide evidence regarding the complex long-term relationship among fitness, body size, and survival. It may be possible to reduce all-cause death rates among older adults, including the obese, by promoting regular physical activity. Sui, LaMonte, et al. "Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Adiposity as Mortality Predictors in Older Adults." JAMA, 298(21): 2507-16, 2007.


EXERCISE IS MEDICINE™: The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Medical Association (AMA) have launched Exercise is Medicine™, a new program designed to encourage patients to incorporate physical activity and exercise into their daily routine. Exercise is Medicine™ calls on doctors to prescribe exercise to their patients. A new website (http://www.exerciseismedicine.org) contains educational materials and toolkits for physicians to use, and information for patients, the media, and policymakers. Educational models will be developed for use in medical schools so students can learn early the importance of prescribing exercise to patients.

TRAIL-BUILDING TOOLBOX: A new feature of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's Trailbuilding Website is a trail building toolbox. This resource, which is still under development, is designed to "fit the needs of all involved in trail development, from first-time citizen advocates to more experienced planners and trail managers." The website includes sections on corridor research, rail-banking, acquisition, outreach, planning/construction, and management/maintenance. For details, go to http://preview.tinyurl.com/27gllx. [Source: Centerlines, Dec. 2007]

ADOLESCENT OBESITY RESEARCH: Bridging the Gap (BTG), a collaborative research initiative supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is a multidisciplinary, multi-site initiative that now includes the role of the policies, programs, physical inactivity, and dietary habits that contribute to the obesity among adolescents. For papers related to physical activity from this initiation see: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 33, Issue 4, Supplement 1, 2007.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND THE DEAF: The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD) has produced a report on physical activity and the Deaf community. This report focuses on the relationship of hearing loss, communication skills, and the development of motor skills in deaf or hearing-impaired children and adults, and makes recommendations for physical educators on the challenges of integrating and involving the deaf and hearing-impaired in community sport and recreation activities. Providing physical education programs to help individuals develop healthy and active lifestyles is a critical issue for the Deaf community. Full text is available at http://www.ncpad.org/disability/fact_sheet.php?sheet=579&view=all [Source: NCPAD Monthly Newsletter, 6(12), 2007.]


COMPLETE STREETS BRIEFING PAPER: The National Conference of State Legislators (NCLS) recently completed a briefing paper on the "complete streets" policy movement, in order to help state legislators and their staff respond to the demand for policies across the country. The brief is available for free to NCSL members and for a fee to the general public on the NCSL website. http://www.ncsl.org/programs/pubs/summaries/07LBNovDec_Streets-sum.htm. [Source: Centerlines, Dec. 2007]

PROMOTING PA AMONG THOSE 50+: AARP's Active for Life (AFL) campaign (funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) focused on getting sedentary older adults to engage in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. AFL tested this directive's effectiveness by conducting targeted physical activity campaigns in Madison, Wisconsin and Richmond, Virginia. These local campaigns employed various interventions to educate residents about physical activity, provide information about local physical activity programs, and advocate for environmental changes that would make it easier for the 50+ population to walk and bike. A collection of five AFL guides is presented here: http://preview.tinyurl.com/2c9d5q

HEALTHY LAND USE PLANS: A new toolkit details various strategies for creating healthy communities, from building relationships and assessing existing conditions, to creating policy language for implementation of these strategies. It is designed for training advocates in the relationship between the built environment and public health, such as improving community health by ensuring that farmers' markets and neighborhood grocery stores are supported, or by promoting sidewalks, parks and other environmental components that encourage physical activity. The toolkit was developed by the Planning for Healthy Places program at the Public Health Institute in California. For details, visit http://www.healthyplanning.org/toolkit_healthygp.html.

HIGH-TECH SOLUTION FOR PROMOTING BICYCLING: A program in Boulder, Colorado has doubled the annual number of bicycle trips taken by students at one elementary school from 10,000 to 20,000. Using innovative technology to count the days kids bicycle to school, the Freiker (FREquent - bIKER) registers helmet tags and wirelessly uploads data to a website. The Freiker measures participation every day, rain or shine, with no guesswork, no surveys, and no need for volunteers to stand in the snow punching cards or counting bicycles. Learn more at http://www.freiker.org. [Source: Safe Routes to School, Dec. 2007 E-news]

PROMOTING PA AT THE MALL: The Friendly Corner (TFC) is a successful partnership between the St. Laurent Centre mall in Ottawa, the Canadian Public Health agency, and 24 volunteers. TFC is a bilingual, health information and activity center, open in this mall since 1994. It provides opportunities for older adults to take charge of their health and improve their quality of life through physical activity, healthy eating, social connectivity, and positive mental health. The mall location is accessible and safe; fees are minimal, and instructors are certified. Details at: http://ottawa.ca/residents/health/living/activity/older/friendly_corner_en.html [Source: Betty-Ann Hamilton, R.N., B.Sc.N, Physical Activity Team, Ottawa Public Health]


APHA ANNUAL MEETING: The deadline to submit abstracts for this year's APHA Annual Meeting is February 4-8th, depending on the section for which you are submitting. For submission details and specific sections and dates, go to http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/.

TRAINING ON ASSESSMENT OF THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: The BEAT (Built Environment Assessment Training) Institute will offer training at Emory University in Atlanta, GA from June 15th - 20th, 2008, to prepare investigators and practitioners to use both observational and self-report measures of nutrition and activity environments and related behavioral assessments. If you wish to attend, go to http://www.sph.emory.edu/BEAT/ for information on how to apply.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND PUBLIC HEALTH (PAPH) COURSES (US): The CDC and the USC PRC will sponsor an 8-day postgraduate course on Research Directions and Strategies, and a 6-day Practitioner's Course on Community Intervention, in Park City, Utah, September 16-24, 2008. The goal: to give more researchers and practitioners expertise in the relationship between physical activity and health. Approximately twenty-five fellows will be accepted for each course. Acceptance criteria include professional credentials, experience, and potential to enhance public health research and practice. PAPH courses received the 2004 CDC PRC Award for Excellence in Training and Technical Assistance. Details: http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/seapines/

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COURSE FOR PUBLIC HEALTH PRACTITIONERS (CANADA): The Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute (CFLRI) will conduct this course at the Banff Park Lodge in Banff, Alberta, September 29 to October 2, 2008. This is a professional development opportunity which specifically targets increasing effectiveness in building a healthy active community. This intensive academic-style program brings together theory, best practices, and communications, and provides international insights as well as a uniquely Canadian perspective on increasing knowledge about physical activity. Spaces are limited to ensure the most productive and engaging learning environment with an internationally recognized faculty team. For more info: http://cflri.ca/eng/info/2008_paph_info.php.


QUESTION ORDER MATTERS WHEN ASSESSING PA AND WALKING. Two different versions of a telephone survey were used in a study conducted by the USC PRC. In one version, questions about walking followed questions about moderate and vigorous PA; and on the alternate version, walking questions were asked before those about moderate and vigorous PA. The authors found that walking questions can cause a bias in reporting levels of vigorous and moderate PA and should be placed after those questions on a survey. Hutto, Sharpe, Granner, et al. "The Effect of Question Order on Reporting Physical Activity and Walking Behavior." Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 5 (Suppl.1): S16-S29, 2008.


Delores Pluto, Marsha Stepp, Catherine Carlstedt

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