March – April 2012 | USC-PRC Notes

Message from the USC-PRC Director

Happy Spring!  I hope that you are taking the opportunity to get out (and be active) and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather that is affecting many of us!

I was delighted earlier this year to accept the position of Director of our Prevention Research Center (PRC).  I look forward to this new chapter in my life and to the opportunities it will bring. Speaking of which…..I have to run…..lots more to do these days….

Sara Wilcox, PhD,


ASAP Innovation Competition:  As part of the White House’s ChildObesity180 campaign, a national competition is now underway to encourage the development of innovative strategies for physical activity promotion in schools.  The competition, Active Schools Acceleration Project (ASAP), will reward winners in two categories—“school programs” and “technology innovation”.  Schools, School Districts, Teachers, Technology Developers and anyone interested in increasing the physical activity of children is encouraged to visit the competition website, and hurry!  All entries must be received by April 2nd at 5pm EST.
[Source: Active Schools Acceleration Project]

2012 CALIFORNIA SENIOR GAMES: The California Senior Games Championships and the Bay Area Senior Games are being held this month in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The Senior Games are a series of athletic competitions for athletes age 50 and above, including basketball, fencing, rugby, soccer, and swimming.  Over 3,000 athletes are expected to compete, and the games serve as a qualifying event for the 2013 Summer National Senior Games to be held in Cleveland, OH.  For more information, and to read profiles of some of the inspiring senior athletes, visit the official website of the games.
[Source: California Senior Games]

UK: BLoated Bobbies Face New Police Fitness Tests: Police in the UK may have to undergo yearly fitness assessments in order retain their pay level and keep their position on the squad, according to a new report.  Research was conducted by an independent lawyer, commissioned by the government, and examined 11,500 police officers and staff in London.  The report details that half of the male employees and one-third of the female employees are overweight, which could be limiting their ability to apprehend suspects and perform their duties.  While no new fitness policies have been implemented by the government, the report recommends yearly fitness assessments involving running exercises be set in place to help motivate officers to maintain the fitness level required for them to join the service.
[Source: ABC News]

STUDENTS CELEBRATE DISABILITY AWARENESS MONTH WITH WHEELCHAIR SLALOM: Students with and without disabilities competed in a wheelchair slalom course to celebrate Disability Awareness Month, and demonstrated that anyone can be physically active, despite limitations they might have. The competition was held as a kick-off event to other month-long activities, all focused on starting a dialogue about the abilities and challenges of people with disabilities.  Students at the event expressed a new awareness and appreciate for individuals with disabilities, and their competitive abilities.   
[Source: BSU Daily News ]

APRIL 2012
Cancer Control Month - April 1-30, 2012

National Minority Health Awareness Month - April 1-30, 2012

National Public Health Week - April 1-7, 2011

Medical Fitness Week - April 22-28, 2012

National TV Turnoff Week - April 15-21, 2012

National Playground Safety Week - April 21-25, 2012

National Start! Walking Day - April 4, 2012

World Physical Activity Day - April 4, 2012

National Walk to Work Day - April 6, 2012

Earth Day - April 22, 2012

World T'ai Chi & Qigong Day - April 28, 2012

American Stroke Month - May 1-31, 2012

Clean Air Month - May 1-31, 2012

National Arthritis Month - May 1-31, 2012

Older Americans Month - May 1-31, 2012

National Bike Month - May 1-31, 2012

National Cancer Research Month - May 1-31, 2012

National Employee Health and Fitness Month - May 1-31, 2012

National High Blood Pressure Education Month - May 1-31, 2012

National Osteoporosis Awareness Prevention Month - May 1-31, 2012

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month - May 1-31, 2012

National Physical Education and Sports Week - May 1-7, 2012

National Women's Health Week - May 13-19, 2012

National Bike to Work Week - May 14-18, 2012

National Run a Mile Day(s) - May 1-5, 2012

National Bike to Work Day - May 18, 2012

National Senior Health & Fitness Day - May 30, 2012

National Great Outdoors Month - June 1-30, 2012

Professional Wellness Month - June 1-30, 2012

Bike Week [UK] - June 16-24, 2012

National Trails Day - June 2, 2012

World Environment Day - June 5, 2012


Senate Approves New Transportation Bill —Expiration of Current Bill Looms as House Considers The Bill: With the March 31st deadline for the current transportation bill fast approaching, the U.S. Senate passed a new transportation bill including many important amendments with mentions of active transport.  The bill passed with strong bipartisan support, and is now waiting at for a vote by the House of Representatives.  Notably, the new bill includes provisions for a number of programs that support active transport, pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and community programs for walkable neighborhoods.  
[Source: Washington Post & Transportation for America]


Habitual Active Transport, TV Viewing, and Weight Gain: A Four Year Follow-Up Study: While associations have been shown between amount of TV viewing time and weight change in past studies, researchers were interested in examining the relationship between TV viewing, domain-specific physical activity, and weight gain over time.  Using longitudinal data from the PLACE (Physical Activity in Localities and Community) study in Australia, researchers examined the four year trends for TV viewing time, physical activity, and weight gain. Overall, participants gained 1.6 kgs over the course of the four years, and this relationship was unaffected by recent recall of physical activity (for transport, leisure-time, or occupational physical activity).  However, the relationship between TV time and weight gain was moderated by habitual active transport, with less habitual active transport being associated with additional weight gain, and more habitual active transport unassociated with weight gain. The study suggests that habitual active transport can help to provide adults with enough regular physical activity to provide some protection against the weight gain associated with sedentary behaviors like TV viewing.
Ding, D, Sugiyama, T, Owen, N. (2012) “Habitual active transport, TV viewing and weight gain: A four year follow-up study”. Prev Med.

Pilot Study of a Dog Walking Randomized Interention: Effects of a Focus on Canine Exercise: Owning a dog has been associated with many health benefits, from decreased depression to more physical activity. Researchers were interested to see if an intervention targeted at increasing dog walking, focusing on the dog’s health, could actually increase the amount of exercise that the dog owner also got.  Participants were randomized to either a control group (instructed to walk their dog as usual) or the intervention group, which received materials and information on the benefits of walking for their dog.  Both groups showed an increase in steps during the study, but there was a greater increase in the intervention group as compared to the control group, demonstrating that a focus on dogs in a walking intervention might be an effective strategy for increasing participant walking.  
Rhodes, RE, Murray, H, Temple, VA, Tuokko, H, Wharf Higgons, J. (2012) “Pilot study of a dog walking randomized intervetion: Effects of a focus on canine exercise”. Prev Med.

Obesity and Physical Fitness in California School Children: In 2005, California legislators and the California Department of Education made changes to the state’s public school physical activity programs, including a requirement for increased minutes of activity for students in grades K-12.  Since 1996, schools in California have been monitored using student performance on the Fitnessgram, a test of 6 domains of physical activity, allowing researchers to investigate the impacts of the 2005 legislative changes.  Using data from the Fitnessgram in years 2003-2008 for grades 5, 7, and 9, researchers examined the impact of the program in terms of obesity rates and fitness scores across the five years.  The results suggest that the growth rate of child obesity may be slowing; levels of fitness, strength, and body composition remained the same or increased across years.  The researchers suggest that the high and increasing rates of obesity in 5th graders merit attention in future research. 
Aryana, M, Li, Z, Bommer, WJ. (2012) “Obesity and physical fitness in California school children”. Am Heart J.  


Developement and Testing of a Community Stakeholder Park Audit Tool:A number of tools exist to survey neighborhood park environments, and to assess the impact of parks on the physical activity of residents. However, these tools do not involve citizens in either the development or the field use stage of research.  Researchers in the current study designed a park audit tool informed by community stakeholders. They then tested the feasibility of community members using the tool in the field, as well as the reliability of the tool. The resulting park audit tool had strong psychometrics, including good reliability, and shows promise for future community engaged research on park usage and physical activity.
[Source:Kaczynski, AT, Wilhelm Stanis, SA, Besenyi, GM. (2012) “Development and testing of a community stakeholder park audit tool.” Am J Prev Med.]

Bridging the Gap Releases Two New Research Reports:Two new reports have been released by the Bridging the Gap research institute, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  The reports summarize findings from the first year of Bridging the Gap’s Community Obesity Measures Project, and both reports emphasize community-level physical influences on physical activity.  “Income Disparities in Street Features that Encourage Walking” examines pedestrian friendliness and community income.  “Using Local Land Use Laws to Facilitate Physical Activity,” focuses on land use and differences between communities and possible links between community policies and income level. Both reports are available in full on the Bridging the Gap website.
[Source: Bridging the Gap]

Human Kinetics Releases Two New Physical Activity and Health Promotion Texts: Human Kinetics is releasing two new physical activity and health promotion texts: Physical Activity and Health, Second Edition, edited by Claude Bouchard, PhD, Steven N. Blair, PED, and William L. Haskell, PhD, and Foundations of Physical Activity and Public Health by Harold W. (Bill) Kohl, III, PhD, MSPH, and Tinker D. Murray, PhD. Physical Activity and Health, Second Edition focuses on the connections between physical activity, sedentarism, and health outcomes, emphasizing the public health importance of physical activity.  Foundations of Physical Activity and Public Health uses kinesiology and public health to show how the integration of exercise science and community health can help to prevent chronic disease through physical activity promotion programs.
[Source: Human Kinetics]


Partners Healthcare Expands Connected Fitness Progam at Boston Schools: Beginning in April, six Boston area public schools will compete in a walking challenge as part of the expansion of the Partners Step It Up program.  Students in third and fourth grade will wear wireless pedometers (nicknamed “sneaker chips”) that will transmit the student’s step counts when the student walks near a designated data uploading hub. The ten week challenge is based on a virtual race from Boston, MA to Orlando, FL. 
[Source: MobiHealth News]

Get Fit, Get Cash:  Newark, NJ mayor Cory Booker launched a statewide program this month to encourage city residents to increase their physical activity.  The “Cory Booker Challenge” is open to anyone 13 years of age and older, although only city residents are eligible for the monetary incentives.  The challenge utilizes social media to connect with participants and to allow participants to post their location and physical activity plans so that they can receive support and encouragement from their friends.
[Source: Newark Patch]

Cycle-In Cinema--Sydney, Australia: Australians got a new take on the classic drive-in movie during the “Cycle-In Cinema” events in Sydney, Australia.  Held as part of a series of art programs in the city, the active movie-watching experience was hosted by Magnificent Revolution Australia, an organization that holds pedal-power events to raise awareness of the potential for alternative and renewable energy sources.  Participants could arrive early at the movie screenings to plug their bikes into a generator and help to power the movie projector with their peddling!  
[Source: City of Sydney]


APRIL 2012
Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association 18th Annual Symposium
April 12-14, 2012
Washington DC Metro Area (National Harbor, MD) 

Symposium on Therapeutic Recreation and Adapted Physical Activity
April 16-18, 2012
Springfield, Illinois

National Association of Recreation Resource Planners
April 16-19, 2012
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

MAY 2012
European Congress on Obesity
May 9-12, 2012
Lyon, France           

2012 Annual Meeting of the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
May 23-26, 2012
Austin, Texas

World Congress on Exercise is Medicine
May 29- June 2, 2012
San Francisco, CA

World Congress on Exercise is Medicine
May 29- June 2, 2012
San Francisco, CA

43rd Annual Conference of the Environmental Research Design Association
May 30 - June 2, 2012
Seattle, WA

47th Annual Canadian Transportation Research Forum Conference
June 3-6, 2012
Calgary, Aberta, Canada

8th Annual Games for Health Conference
June 11-14, 2012
Boston, MA
Social Marketing in Public Health Conference
June 13-16, 2012
Clearwater Beach, FL

2012 Built Environment Assessment Training (BEAT) Institute
June 24-29, 2012
Boston, MA

8th Annual International Conference on Kinesiology and Exercise Sciences
June 25-28, 2012
Athens, Greece


PRC Walking Intervention Underway in Sumter County, SC: The USC PRC Core project, Sumter County On The Move!, a walking intervention in partnership with Sumter County Active Lifestyles, has been enrolling participants since 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. Participants have formed their walking groups and have been offered booster sessions on healthy eating and finding social support. Study staff continues in their efforts to promote the program and recruit walkers.  The SCOTM! website provides more information and links to the registration surveys,

Enrollement Complete for SIP 09-028: Evaluation of a Self-Directed, Packaged Physical Activity Program for Adults with Arthritis: This USC Special Interest Project (SIP) is evaluating a self-directed exercise program for adults with arthritis as compared to a self-directed nutrition program.  Under the direction of Dr. Sara Wilcox, the study met its recruitment goal and enrolled 401 adults with arthritis into the trial.  Participants averaged 56 years of age, 35.3% are African American, and the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and gout. Participants complete functional and self-reported outcome measures at baseline, 12-weeks, and 9-months. The study team is busy working on manuscripts from the baseline study dataset.

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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