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Active for Life - Increasing Physical Activity Levels in Adults Age 50 and Older!
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April 2006

Previous Newsletters

From the Active for Life Program Office
Upcoming Events
Tips, Tactics and Tools
In the News
Funding Opportunities

The Active for Life® E-Newsletter Update is produced monthly by the Active for Life® National Program Office at The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health. To include information, contact Brigid McHugh Sanner at or call 214-244-4186. This program is funded by a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation®.

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From the Active for Life® National Program Office

April 12th Webinar - How to Keep Your Prevention Activities Going
Marcia G. Ory, PhD, MPH, Active for Life® National Program Office director will be a featured speaker at the April 12 You Can! webinar on the topic of How to Keep Your Prevention Activities Going. You Can! partners can sign-up for the final You Can! webinar to take place April 12 from 3 - 4 pm (Eastern). Other speakers include Susan Lachenmayr, MPH, CHES, of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services and Diane Joyce of the Southeast Minnesota Area Agency on Aging. This is the eighth and final in a series of webinars offered to You Can! partners. Please RSVP to and specify the date and time. The first 50 callers to sign up for each webinar will be registered and will receive dial-in information and instructions.

Generations Working to Prevent Childhood Obesity
The “Generations” initiative is an RWJF Synergy pilot project administered through the Active for Life program office. Four Active for Life grantees (Hamilton County General Health District, working with Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio; FirstHealth of the Carolinas; The OASIS Institute, San Antonio; and City of Berkeley Public Health Division, a partner of San Mateo County Health Department) have received funding to include intergenerational efforts to prevent and/or reduce childhood obesity by changing policies and environments. The NPO will host a planning meeting for these four organizations on April 26-27. In addition, NPO staff members Diane Dowdy, PhD, Kerrie Hora, and Lisa Groce will attend the upcoming American College of Sports Medicine’s 2006 Health and Fitness Summit & Exposition to build additional relationships and identify resources to support further synergy work.

International Conference on Physical Activity
AFL NPO staff will also be represented at the International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health, April 17-20 in Atlanta. AFL director Marcia Ory will participate in a panel presentation that will address aging, environment, and public health. To learn more see

AFL NPO Members are Walkin’ Across Texas
As part of a state-wide initiative to promote physical activity, members of the Active for Life NPO are involved in the 8-week 2006 Walk Across Texas initiative. The program was created by the Texas Cooperative Extension Agency to encourage regular physical activity. The AFL Team expects to surpass their 8 week goal of logging 830 miles. “It’s fun, and it’s about setting an example of how you can remain active for life,” notes AFL director Marcia Ory, Ph.D. Dr. Ory points out that three of the eight-person AFL team members are over the age of 50.

Upcoming Events

TV-Turnoff Week. April 24-30, 2006. For information and resources see

International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health. April 17-20, 2006.
Atlanta, GA.
The CDC Prevention's Physical Activity and Health Branch, in partnership with the Association of State and Territorial Chronic Disease Program Directors, are sponsoring this congress. To learn more see

American Occupational Therapy Association Conference and Expo. April 27-30, 2006. Charlotte, NC. For information, go to

Older American’s Month. May 2006. The Administration on Aging sponsors this annual celebration. See the AoA Web site for updates at

National Bike Month. May 2006. The League of American Bicyclists is promoting Bike-to-Work Week from May 15-19, 2006 and Bike-to-Work Day on Friday, May 19, 2006. For more information, see

American Geriatrics Society Annual Scientific Meeting. May 3-7, 2006. Chicago, IL. The 2006 Annual Meeting will address the educational needs of geriatrics professionals from all disciplines. To find out more about the meeting, visit

CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation Annual Diabetes Conference. May 16-19, 2006. Denver, CO. Sponsored by CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation and CDC's Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, this conference will address diabetes and obesity. For more information, see

National Employee Health & Fitness Day. May 17, 2006. Presented by the National Association for Health & Fitness. For more information see

N4A Annual Conference. Aug. 6-10, 2006. Chicago, IL. For information go to

NASU National Home and Community Based Services Waiver Conference (in conjunction with the Minnesota Aging and Disabilities Odyssey). Oct. 1-4, 2006. Minneapolis, MN. For information go to

Tips, Tactics and Tools

Look to Worksite to Reach Women with Health Messages
Outreach to midlife and older women through the work place may be a missed opportunity for many programs that assume most females older than age 55 are retired or working in the home. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were 10.3 million employed women aged 55 and over in the U.S. in 2004. These women were most frequently employed in management, professional and related occupations (3.9 million) and sales and office occupations (3.8 million). For more information on this population group see

Tool to Assess Readiness to Implement Programs
The National Council on the Aging has developed a Readiness Checklist: A Tool for Self-Assessing Readiness to Implement Evidence-Based Health Promotion, Self-Management and Prevention Programs. This tool provides a framework for discussions within a community aging service provider organization, or more appropriately among partnering organizations, interested in offering evidence-based health promotion and self-management programming. For more information go to

Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults
This book, co-authored by Tufts University and the CDC, builds upon the original NIA physical activity guide for older adults, but is focused more specifically on strength training. The book was focus-tested with older adults. It can be downloaded at

Accompanying work sheets to track progress are available at

Alberta Centre for Active Living Web site
The Alberta Centre for Active Living Web site allows professionals to find evidence-based physical activity information. Check it out at

HHS Prevention Report: Internet As Resource for Seniors
Internet use among seniors remains lower than among other American age groups. Only about one-third of older adults have gone online and these seniors are not representative of the entire age group. They are predominantly white, college-educated, and have an above-average income. The report addresses challenges to using the Internet for older Americans. For instance, seniors may experience a decline in vision, manual dexterity, memory, and cognitive ability that all may negatively impact their online experience. Also, seniors who do go online overwhelmingly log on from home using dial-up connections which can complicate navigation of Web sites and online features, result in extremely long download times, and increase the likelihood that online forms and applications will time out. In addition to addressing the challenges associated with seniors and the Internet, the report offers suggestions and provides examples for developing senior-friendly Web sites, and offers resources such as computer training programs for seniors. For information see

Remind Physical Activity Participants to Protect Themselves from Too Much Sun
As the weather gets warmer, many physical activity programs will move outside. It’s important to remind people that they need to protect their skin from overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Here are some tips from the American Cancer Society and the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention:

  • Cover up as much as possible with a wide-brimmed hat and tightly woven long-sleeved shirt and pants.
  • Wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher, and apply it at least 20 minutes before going outside, and reapply every two hours (more frequently when sweating or in water). Also note that sunscreens have an expiration date.
  • Use lip balm with sunscreen.
  • Limit exposure to the midday sun (10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.) when the sun’s rays do the most damage.

For more tips, visit the American Cancer Society Web site at and the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention Web site at

In the News

Exercise Capacity Declines with Age But Can Improve with Exercise Training
A University of Washington study published in the March 8 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology notes that as people age they require more oxygen to carry out the same amount of physical activity as younger people. However, this age-related htmlect of health can be reversed with exercise training, which improves efficiency to a greater degree in the elderly than in the young. For more information see

Even Started Late in Life, Exercise Brings Benefits
According to a Stanford University School of Medicine study, published in the Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 61:97-102 (2006), the benefits of regular physical exercise, even when begun later in life, can delay the progression of musculoskeletal disability in seniors. For more information see

Program Helps Medical Students Understand Elderly
The mingling of young and old is at the heart of the Vital Visionaries project, a program designed to improve future doctors’ attitudes towards older people and to awaken in older people awareness of their creative possibilities. It is managed for the National Institute on Aging by the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, a non-profit corporation that promotes the incorporation of the arts in health care. For more information see

Work and Home Provide Most Physical Activity for Latinos
Latino men and women get most of their daily physical activity from work and home-related tasks, rather than recreational exercise, according to the results of a study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine 31(2), 2006. Researchers also found significant differences in how Latino men and women get most of their physical activity. Among the 155 people followed in the study, men participated in more work-related physical activity than women, while women engaged in more household-related physical activity. Latinos who were more “Americanized” in their language and culture than others had lower overall and work-related activity rates, perhaps because they did not work in manual labor jobs. For more information see

Exercise Helps Reduce Menopausal Symptoms
Regular exercise can reduce severe symptoms in menopausal women and improve their quality of life, according to a study published in the April 2006 issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing. Researchers from the University of Granada in Spain found that the number of women suffering severe symptoms fell by a quarter after they took part in a 12-month supervised exercise program, while problems increased among women who didn't exercise. Fifty percent of the exercise group had severe symptoms at the start of the program compared with 37 percent at the end. For more information see

BMI, Physical Inactivity, and Cardiovascular Health
Weight (BMI) is more strongly related to adverse cardiovascular biomarker levels including total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol than physical inactivity, according to an article in the March 22 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. However, within BMI categories, physical activity was generally associated with more favorable cardiovascular biomarker levels than inactivity. The study is based on cross-sectional analysis of 27,158 women (mean age, 54.7 years) in the Women's Health Study. See for more information.

Older Heart Failure Patients Don’t Adhere to Exercise Regimes
Older patients with heart failure are likely to take their medications as directed and to keep their office appointments, but they are less likely to follow advice to exercise and to check their weight regularly. Researchers from the University Medical Center Groningen (the Netherlands) surveyed 501 older heart failure patients. Researchers noted that compliance with medication and office appointments was high -- more than 90 percent. The lowest compliance rates were for exercise and weighing, with only 39 percent of the subjects complying with exercise advice and only 35 percent getting on the scale daily or at least three times per week. Because patients with more depressive symptoms showed more non-compliant behavior in this study, the researchers suggest that extra attention should be paid to this patient subgroup. The study results were published in the February 2006 issue of the European Heart Journal.

Funding Opportunities

Awards of Excellence in Older Volunteer Program Management
The MetLife Foundation Older Volunteers Enrich America Awards will honor volunteer programs for promising practices in recruiting and engaging older volunteers. Awards will be given to three volunteer programs whose practices in recruitment, orientation and training, retention and recognition of older volunteers set the standard and can be replicated by other organizations. Award honorees will receive a monetary award of $2,500 to help further their work. Additional information about the 2006 MetLife Foundation Older Volunteers Enrich America Program Awards, including nomination forms, can be found at Deadline for nominations is April 7, 2006.

Community Participation in Research
The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research/NIH/DHHS is sponsoring support for research on health promotion, disease prevention, and health disparities that is jointly conducted by communities and researchers. For more information, go to and e-mail:

Wisconsin Longitudinal Study
The Center for Demography of Health and Aging (CDHA) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will award three pilot grants to investigators using the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) data for scholarly research. Selected recipients will receive $10,000 to support their research, along with a residency at CDHA, where they will receive training and support in use of WLS data. The residency will take place August 3 – 4, 2006. Grant recipients will be invited back to CDHA to present their work at a later date. Authors will be encouraged to publish their work in any appropriate outlet. Application deadline is June 1, 2006. For details see

Meet Our PartnersNPO Contact Info
SRPH Building
1266 TAMU
College Station, Texas 77843-1266

Phone: 979-458-4202
Fax: 979-458-4264

Active for Life National Program Office | SRPH Building | 1266 TAMU | College Station, TX 77843-1266
Phone: 979-458-4202 | Fax: 979-458-4264 | Email: