May – June 2012 | USC-PRC Notes

"Promoting Health through Physical Activity"

Greetings from South Carolina! I hope this newsletter finds you happy and healthy. Our PRC is in the process of planning a community viewing of the recently released documentary series, “The Weight of the Nation.”  I had the opportunity to recently view the four main documentaries.  If you haven’t seen them, they are available for free viewing on HBO’s website, here.  We hope to use the viewing as a springboard for discussion about what our community can do to address obesity.  Although the documentaries addressed both diet and physical activity, it seemed to me that more “air time” was devoted to diet.  That might be necessary as food is an extremely complex topic.  If you are also planning a community viewing, however, I hope that you do not lose sight of the physical activity side of the energy imbalance equation and engage community members and decision makers in a discussion of how the environment and policy also play an important role in shaping physical activity behaviors. 

Happy summer!

Sara Wilcox, PhD,

Topics in this issue

Is It Possible To Walk And Work At The Same Time?
Fitness Regimens, Well Beyond Shuffleboard
US Surgeon General Stages “Walk to Wellness”
First Ever Bike to School Day is a Success
Upcoming Events and Observances: June, July, August

Prevalence of Bicycle Helmet Use by Users of Public Bikeshare Programs
Active Transport, Physical Activity, and Body Weight in Adults: A Systematic Review
Obesogenic Neighborhood Environments, Child and Parent Obesity: The Neighborhood Impact on Kids Study

America Bikes Releases 2012 Survey Results
Report to the U.S. Congress on the Outcomes of the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program SAFETEA-LU Section 1807
Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation

Weekly Event Inspires Physical, Social Activity (With Video)
Students Get Outdoors for Physical Fitness
Vo-Tech Involved in Healthy Schools Grant Program
Bike Newport to Help City Be More Bike Friendly

June, July, August

Park Surveys Underway in Sumter County, SC
Sumter County on the Move! Continues Recruitment and Booster Sessions


IS IT POSSIBLE TO WALK AND WORK AT THE SAME TIME?:  Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, CA has launched an online campaign to try and encourage all Americans to increase their physical activity level.  The campaign promotes the goal of walking 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week.  At Kaiser headquarters, employees often get extra physical activity by having walking meetings, a creative solution to fitting in a few extra steps each day. For more information on the campaign, visit Every Body Walk!.
[Source: NPR and Every Body Walk!]

FITNESS REGIMENS, WELL BEYOND SHUFFLEBOARD:  These days, growing older does not necessarily mean giving up physical fitness. Two independent living communities in Massachusetts are using an innovative program to assess overall health and monitor the progress of seniors.  The Vitality 360 program is designed to help assess the overall health and wellness of seniors, and then to help them set health and fitness goals and monitor their progress.  The program has been successful in helping to increase the physical activity of residents, and to empower them to find their full potential of fitness at any age.  The success of the program provides a model of a wellness program that could be effective for many groups of seniors.
[Source: NY Times]

US SURGEON GENERAL STAGES “WALK TO WELLNESS”: In an effort to promote physical activity among all Americans, the U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin led a "walk to wellness" in Washington D.C. on May 16th. Benjamin said that her goal is to move the U.S. to a country that is focused more on wellness and prevention rather than sickness. The walk even included a warm up lead by Cornell McClellen, the personal trainer for President Obama and his family. The walk helped get the people of Washington D.C. out of their offices for some easy physical activity, and participants said they enjoyed seeing the Surgeon General walking her talk.   
[Source: Voice of America]

FIRST EVER BIKE TO SCHOOL DAY IS A SUCCESS: The National Center for Safe Routes to School and the American League of Bicyclists collaborated to coordinate the first ever Bike to School Day.  Over 1,000 local events were held in 49 states and the District of Columbia, all geared towards promoting biking and active transport to school.  Building off the popularity of Walk to School Day, the event gave schools a chance to celebrate active transport, and schools that registered their events with the National Center for Safe Routes to School were entered into a raffle for bike racks for their school.  Organizers have set May 9, 2013 as the day for next year’s celebration, so schools can start getting ready to be part of this great new opportunity!
[Source: National Center for Safe Routes to School]

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

Park and Recreation Month - July 1-31, 2012

National Therapeutic Recreation Week - July 4-10, 2012

National Youth Sports Week - July 9-15, 2012

National Immunization Awareness Month - August 1-31, 2012

National Health Center Week - August 5-11, 2012


PREVALENCE OF BICYCLE HELMET USE BY USERS OF PUBLIC BIKESHARE PROGRAMS: As the prevalence and usage of bikeshare programs across the county increases, it is important to look beyond the increased physical activity that active transport might confer to users, and examine some of the potential unintended consequences.  In a prospective observational study of adult bicyclists in Boston, MA, and Washington, DC, researchers recorded information on whether bicyclists were wearing helmets, what type of bike they were riding (shared or personal), and the sex of the bicyclist. The results showed that over 50% of bicyclists were unhelmeted, though bikeshare users had higher odds of being unhelmeted compared to bicyclists riding their personal bikes.  Men and weekend riders also had higher odds of riding unhelmeted.  Efforts should be directed at increasing the helmet usage of all bicyclists, especially bikeshare riders.
Fischer, CM, Sanchez, CE, Pittman, M, et al. (2012) “Prevalence of Bicycle Helmet Use by Users of Public Bikeshare Programs”. Ann Emerg Med.

ACTIVE TRANSPORT, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, AND BODY WEIGHT IN ADULTS: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW:  In order to determine if active transport is consistently linked with higher overall physical activity levels and lower body weight in adults, researchers conducted a systematic review of studies that looked at this very issue.  Thirty-six unique studies were reviewed, and the results were mixed.  While many of the studies found at least some association between active transport and increased physical activity and lower body weight, not all of the expected associations were found.  The researchers suggest that the lack of findings could be partially due to study design and measurement issues associated with many of the studies of active transport.
Wanner, M, Gotschi, T, Martin-Diener, E, Kahlmeier, S, Martin, BW. (2012) “Active transport, physical activity, and body weight in adults: a systematic review”. Am J Prev Med.

OBESOGENIC NEIGHBORHOOD ENVIRONMENTS, CHILD AND PARENT OBESITY: THE NEIGHBORHOOD IMPACT ON KIDS STUDY: Neighborhood environment and parent influence have large implications for the formation of weight-related behaviors in kids.  Researchers used GIS data on the physical activity and nutrition environments in San Diego County and Kind County (Seattle metropolitan area), to see if the GIS codes for neighborhood environment were correlated with health outcomes. Overall, children and parents who lived in neighborhoods ranked high for both quality of the physical activity and nutrition environments were less likely to be obese than children and parents from neighborhoods rated low on both aspects of the environment.  The study provides some support for using GIS coded information on neighborhood environments to define “obesogenic” neighborhoods that might put children and parents at higher risk for obesity.
Saelens, BE, Sallis, JF, Frank, LD, et al. (2012). Obesogenic Neighborhood Environments, Child and Parent Obesity: The Neighborhood Impact on Kids Study. Am J Prev Med.


AMERICA BIKES RELEASES 2012 SURVEY RESULTS: A recent survey of 1,003 U.S. adults revealed that 83% of Americans favor maintaining or increasing funding for bike lanes and sidewalks.  The survey, conducted by the Princeton Survey Research Associates, showed very strong bipartisan support across the country for federal funding of biking and walking resources. Support for the funding of biking and walking resources was especially high among respondents between the ages of 19 and 29, with 91% of the respondents in favor of continuing or increasing federal funding.
[Source: America Bikes]

REPORT TO THE U.S. CONGRESS ON THE OUTCOMES OF THE NONMOTORIZED TRANSPORTATION PILOT PROGRAM SAFETEA-LU SECTION 1807: In August 2005, the Department of Transportation allocated $25 million dollars to four pilot communities for a Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP).  The NTPP ran for four years, in Columbia, Missouri, Marin County, California, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.  The program mission was “to construct…a network of nonmotorized 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”.  The program resulted in increased biking and walking, millions of miles of averted driving, and an increase in the number of biking and walking trips that also included transit. To learn more about the results of the NTPP, view the entire report from the Federal Highway Administration here.
[Source: Federal Highway Administration]

ACCELERATING PROGRESS IN OBESITY PREVENTION: SOLVING THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION: In an effort to catalyze efforts to stop the obesity epidemic in the U.S., the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to identify meaningful targets for obesity prevention.  The IOM released a report detailing potential areas for intervention on the growing obesity epidemic, providing their suggestions in a Consensus Report, entitled “Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving The Weight of the Nation”.  Among their suggestions were “Integrate physical activity every day in every way” and “Make healthy foods and beverages available everywhere”. 
Additionally, the IOM teamed up with HBO to release a series of documentaries on the challenges of the obesity epidemic; the series of four documentaries can be seen on now, and screenings of the films are being hosted nationwide.
[Source: Institute of Medicine, Washington Post, HBO]


WEEKLY EVENT INSPIRES PHYSICAL, SOCIAL ACTIVITY: The Loraine County Walks Program is working to get their Northern Ohio community up and walking through a county-wide walking program.  The program is a collaboration between county officials and a number of local radio stations, all working together to create a sense of community around getting active.  Organizers hope that the program will encourage people to start being active, increase their activity, and feel supported by knowing that everyone is in it together. The walks are held weekly at alternating times to accommodate the varied schedules of the community members, and the walks will all be hosted by radio DJs, who will play music, provide encouragement and excitement for the walk, and raffle off prizes to walkers.  
[Source: The Morning Journal]

STUDENTS GET OUTDOORS FOR PHYSICAL FITNESS:  Almost 700 kids in Kansas participated in the Pittsburgh State University’s celebration of Kansas Kids’ Fitness Day.  The PSU celebration included a basketball session with the PSU team, as well as relay races, parachute games, and dancing.  Physical activity events for children were hosted at over 40 sites across the state, with 40,000 kids expected to participate.    
[Source: The Morning Sun]

VO-TECH INVOLVED IN HEALTHY SCHOOLS GRANT PROGRAM: The Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School District is working to improve the health and well-being of its students by participating in a grant program through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The programs aim to increase the participation of students in physical activities, such as training for a 5K race, with the goal of ultimately improving academic performance. A school health expert with Middlesex County said that “the whole point of this grant is tying health to success…Healthy living lowers absenteeism and leads to success in school”.
[Source: East Brunswick Patch]

BIKE NEWPORT TO HELP CITY MORE BIKE FRIENDLY: The Newport City Council and Bike Newport are teaming up to promote bike friendly initiatives in Newport, Rhode Island.  Currently, Rhode Island is one of only two states without a certified “Bicycle Friendly Community”, and bicycle advocates in the state want to change that.  The Bicycle Friendly Community Program provides incentives, hands-on assistance, and recognition for communities that actively support bicycling.  Through a collaboration between the bicycle special interest group and the city, bicycle advocates in Newport hope to expand the bicycle services available, and to promote the benefits of bicycling beyond its recreational use, as a method of transportation and a gateway to improved health.
[Source: Newport Patch]


JUNE 2012
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

IDEA World Fitness Convention
July 5-8, 2012
San Diego, CA

2012 Annual National Wellness Conference
July 16-19, 2012
Stevens Point, WI



PRC Walking Intervention Underway in Sumter County, SC: The USC PRC core intervention project, Sumter County on the Move! is underway.  Study staff will continue to hold enrollment sessions throughout the summer, while participants who are currently enrolled continue with the six-month intervention program.  Walkers and walking group leaders continue to attend booster sessions on topics such as building confidence about walking, planning and setting goals, and how to deal with extreme summer heat. For more information, visit Sumter County on the Move!.

PARK SURVEYS UNDERWAY IN SUMTER COUNTY, SC:  Students working with the USC PRC are currently conducting park use observations in Sumter County, SC as part of an ongoing project at the PRC.  From 2005-2009, the USC PRC and their community partners, Sumter County Active Lifestyles (SCAL), awarded a series of community mini-grants to neighborhood organizations in Sumter County, in order to carry out community improvement projects.  Six communities were awarded mini-grants, and all six of the communities chose to do park improvement projects.  The USC PRC has since conducted four park observation surveys, in which trained observers visit the parks at specific times of day to count the number of people at each park, their activity level, and some basic demographic information on the park users.  The results of the park surveys will help the USC PRC to understand the level of park usage, and to consider what techniques might be helpful to encourage more widespread utilization of the park resources.

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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