January – February 2012 | USC-PRC Notes

Message from the USC-PRC Director

I hope this newsletter does not find too many of you in the Northeast, the Pacific Northwest, and the Midwest snowed in! But if you are, and still have internet access, I think you will enjoy this issue of the USC PRC newsletter.

As you will read below, our PRC, in partnership with Sumter County Active Lifestyles (SCAL), has launched recruitment for a large community-based walking intervention. We begin enrolling participants this week. As you can imagine, there is a heightened “busyness” all around our Center. I always find this part of a study the most exciting. Crazy? Stressful? Exhausting? Yes to all! But it is the challenge of planning how to test a new approach in a way that engages the community and is meaningful to the community that I find to be so exciting. Last week our team met, under the direction of Dr. Lyndie Forthofer, to talk through final plans. I think we are (almost) ready - please wish us luck!

Happy winter to all!

Sara Wilcox, PhD


Thousands of Dancing Students Help Kick Off Movement to Promote Active Lifestyles in West Virginia: Thousands of students at over 250 schools across West Virginia gathered on January 19, 2012 to dance the “Cupid Shuffle” line dance.  The huge dance party was a celebration of physical activity to show support for the launch of the West Virginia Physical Activity Plan, aimed at getting the state active. West Virginia suffers from some of the highest rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes in the United States. The plan aims to encourage physical activity by promoting new opportunities for getting active as well as emphasizing opportunities that might already be available to residents, such as walking more and using active transport. 
[Source: The Republic & West Virginia Physical Activity Plan]

Mass Transit Commuters’ Tax Breaks Falling: As of January 1st, commuters who use mass transit faced a sharp drop in the amount of money they can set aside, pre-tax, to pay for train and bus fares.  Congress failed to renew the previous monthly pre-tax benefit in the Commuter Benefits Equity Act, resulting in a reduction from $230 per month to a new limit of $125 per month.  Opponents of the cuts have pointed out that the new provisions allow for an increase in the tax credit allowed for parking, from $230 to $240 per month, a point they are using in their push to have Congress restore the previous commuter benefits.
[Source: The Chicago Tribune

American Council on Exercise Announces its Fitness Industry Vision Report for 2012: The American Council on Exercise (ACE) announced its annual vision for physical activity in the United States.  The plan includes an increased emphasis on addressing the high rates of obesity in the US, and ACE hopes to capitalize on what they see as an increased interest in people changing their lifestyles to get active and eat healthier.  Specifically, ACE will focus on facilitating community and workplace partnerships to help create and maintain environments that promote physical activity.  
[Source: International Olympic Committee]

Annual Healthy Weight Week - January 15-21, 2012

American Heart Month - February 1-28, 2012

National Cancer Prevention Month - February 1-28, 2012

National Wise Health Consumer Month - February 1-28, 2012

National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week - February 12-18, 2012

Trails Advocacy Week - February 13-15, 2012

National Girls and Women in Sports Day - February 1, 2012

National Wear Red Day - February 3, 2012


Senate Committee Unanimously Approves Safe Streets Amendment:  The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation passed a federal transportation authorization bill that will allow for all federally-funded street projects to include provisions to ensure safe usage for all persons. This includes special safety measures for pedestrians, an area of road safety that demands more attention especially in light of the growing numbers of pedestrian injuries and deaths in recent years.  The amendment to the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act passed with bi-partisan support and a unanimous vote by the Committee.
[Source: National Complete Streets Coalition]


Effects of a Promotor-based Intervention to Promote Physical Activity: Familias Sanas y Activas: Promotores have been shown to be effective agents of change in Latino communities for weight-loss and obesity programs, although promotor-based physical activity have been unsuccessful thus far.  In this community-driven study conducted by the San Diego Prevention Research Center, promotores from San Diego, CA communities were selected and trained to serve as unpaid volunteer exercise class leaders.  The exercise classes were offered free of charge to women in the community, and the progress of class participants was tracked over 12 months.  Participants showed improvements after the 12 month intervention in a variety of physical and mental health indicators, demonstrating the potential for future use of promotores in physical activity programs.
Ayala, GX. (2012) “Effects of a Promotor-Based Intervention to Promote Physical Activity: Familias Sanas y Activas” Am J Pub Health.

The Impact of Public Transportation Strikes on Use of a Bicycle Share Program in London: Interrupted Time Series Design: While researchers have looked at the health benefits of active transport and the increase in physical activity seen in cities with bikeshare programs, little is known about how interruptions in other forms of transport might affect the use of bikeshares.  This study examined the effects of two 24-hour strikes of the London Underground on the number of bikeshare trips immediately following the strikes.  The results suggest that interruptions in motorized transportation might inadvertently increase the number of people that use active transport, and such limits to transportation options might be a strategy to increase physical activity by encouraging active transport.
Fuller, D, Sahlqvist, S, Cummins, S, and Ogilvie, D. (2012). “The Impact of Public Transportation Strikes on Use of a Bicycle Share Program in London: Interrupted Time Series Design”. Prev Med.

Telephone-Delivered Interventions for Physical Activity and Dietary Behavior Change: An Updated Systematic Review: A systematic review of telephone-delivered interventions from 2006-2010 was conducted to assess the strength of the evidence for telephone delivery, and to see what support there is for the long term maintenance, cost effectiveness, and implementation of such programs.  Strong evidence was found for the efficacy of telephone-delivered interventions; however there was a lack of reported information on cost effectiveness, dissemination studies, and dose-response analyses.  The authors suggest that future research might work towards comparing telephone delivery to other cost-effective strategies, such as mail campaigns and Internet interventions.  
Goode, AD, Reeves, MM, Eakin EG. (2012) Telephone-Delivered Interventions for Physical Activity and Dietary Behavior Change: An Updated Systematic Review. Am J Pub Health.  

Best Practices for Using Physical Activity Monitors in Population-Based Research: With recent technological advances in mobile technology and monitoring devices, the use of monitors in physical activity research has dramatically increased. However, few guidelines or standardized recommendations exist to guide researchers in choosing monitors for population-based research, or in implementing an intervention that uses these devices.  This paper provides an overview of some of the commonly used monitors and offers suggestions on which monitors to use and how to report data from the monitors in publications. For more articles on the use of monitors in physical activity research, see the January, 2012 supplemental issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Matthews, CE, Hagstromer, M, Pober, DR, Bowles, HR.(2012) “Best Practices for Using Physical Activity Monitors in Population-based Research”. Med Sci Sport Exerc.  


Virginia Tech Capital Bikeshare Study: A Closer Look at Casual Users and Operations: While some analysis has been done to show the impacts of bikeshare systems on bicycle commuters and frequent users of such systems, little is known about the impacts of bikesharing on occasional or incidental bicycle riding.  A group students and researchers from Virginia Tech conducted an in-depth analysis of casual bikeshare users, who utilize bikeshare systems on an incidental basis, often by impulse when visiting a new city.  More information about the impacts of spontaneous riders and what the authors describe as the “See-Rent-Ride” phenomena can be found in their detailed report.
[Source: Virginia Tech]

USDA Releases New Online Food and Physical Activity Tracker: In response to comments that the previous online food and physical activity trackers were difficult to use and not interactive enough, the USDA released a new and improved tracking website, “SuperTracker”, on December 22, 2011. Unlike many other online trackers with similar features, the “SuperTracker” is offered free of charge.  Features include a nutritional database, a food diary, and a physical activity tracker that matches progress against national recommendations for weekly physical activity accumulation. 
[Source: USDA, SuperTracker; Story featured on NPR, 1/6/2012]


Becker Unveils Sweeping Livability Initiative: To kick off his second term, Mayor Ralph Becker has pledged to make Salt Lake City the nation’s first net-zero city.  Net-zero developments are built such that the facilities reuse and produce energy, resulting in a final “net-zero” of outside energy consumption.  Becker hopes to make Salt Lake City net-zero through a six-point initiative, focused on making neighborhoods walkable, building a solar farm on top of the city’s old dump, and promoting social justice by cracking down on hate crimes.  Additionally, Becker hopes to improve air quality in part by connecting the networks of existing trails and light-rail trains as well as building a line of streetcars.
[Source: The Salt Lake Tribune]

The Top 10 Smart Cities on the Planet: Co.EXIST Magazine released the first ever list of the Top 10 Smart Cities on the Planet.  Cities were rated on the extent to which they “use information and communication technologies (ICT) to be more intelligent and efficient in the use of resources, resulting in cost and energy savings, improved service delivery and quality of life, and reduced environmental footprint--all supporting innovation and the low-carbon economy”.  Vienna topped the list, touted for its innovative projects and incorporation of stakeholder consultations into programming decisions. Many cities on the list, including Toronto and Paris, were ranked highly because of their alternative transportation programs and successful bikeshare initiatives. New York was the only US city to make the list, coming in fourth place for its progressive collaborations with IBM to use technology to prevent fires and protect first responders.   
[Source: Co.EXIST Magazine]

After Decades of Neglect, Washington Finally Fixes its Waterfront: In a major redevelopment project, Washington D.C. city planners are preparing to renovate The Yards, 42 acres of outdated commercial real estate along the Anacostia River.  The Yards will include the construction of office buildings, shops, housing, parks and green spaces, and preservation of historic buildings, all using green building techniques to maximize water and energy use efficiency.  The improved walkability and green improvements to the area will also offer increased access to the Washington D.C. water ways, an area that is difficult for residents to access currently, given the limited walkways and transit options available.
[Source: The Atlantic Cities]

Canadian Spirit: the Trans Canada Trail: When the Trans Canada Trail is complete in 2017, the trail will connect over 400 local trails, link more than 1,000 communities, and cover 22,500 kilometers (13,500 miles).  The project was spearheaded in 1992 by two Canadian Olympians, Piere Camu and Bill Pratt, as a symbol of unifying Canada in celebration of the country’s 150th birthday in 2017.  More that 100,000 volunteers have been involved in the project thus far, and it has taken considerable collaboration and work by legislators at the local, state, and federal level.  This team effort is truly in line with the spirit of the trail, a project designed to connect as many communities across Canada as possible.
[Source: Rails to Trails]



Eleventh Annual Partners for Smart Growth: Building Safe, Healthy and Livable Communities
February 2-4, 2012
San Diego, CA

14th National Scenic and Historic Trails Conference
February 11-16, 2012
Washington, DC

Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: Tenth Annual International Comprehensive Symposium
February 23-26, 2012
Miami Beach, Florida

Active Living Research Conference
March 12-14, 2012
San Diego, CA

AAHPERD National Convention & Exposition
March 13-17, 2012
Boston, MA

National Bike Summit
March 20-22, 2012
Washington, DC

ACSM’s 16th Annual Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition
March 27-30, 2012
Las Vegas, NV

Aging in America Conference
March 28 - April 1, 2012
Washington, DC


CDC Healthy Aging Research Network: Call for Papers for Special Nutrition Issue:  The Journal of Aging Research requests submissions for a special issue on nutritional health and inequities in older populations.  Authors are invited to submit original research or review articles by May 4, 2012 to be considered for publication.  Guest Editors are Drs. Joseph R. Sharkey, Julie Locher, Nadine Sahyoun, and Sara Wilcox. See the Journal of Aging Research website for more information, http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jar/osi.

PRC Walking Intervention Recruiting Participants in Sumter County, SC: The USC PRC Core project, Sumter County On The Move!, a walking intervention in partnership with Sumter County Active Lifestyles, is set to begin enrolling participants at the end of January.  Under the direction of Dr. Lyndie Forthofer, researchers at the PRC are investigating whether strategies for mobilizing, supporting, and reinforcing existing social networks are effective for increasing physical activity levels among residents of Sumter County, SC. During the 6-month active program period, participants will be offered free workshops on community resources, strategies for staying motivated and keeping group members motivated, tips for overcoming common barriers, and health and safety information.  The SCOTM! website provides more information and links to the registration surveys, http://www.sumtercountymoves.org

Writer: Danielle Schoffman

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This publication was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number U48-DP-001936 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.

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