The School of Rural Public Health at the Texas A&M Health Science Center                                                        Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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Active for Life - Increasing Physical Activity Levels in Adults Age 50 and Older!
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August 2007

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

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 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

Dr. Ory Recognized by Gerontological Society of America
Marcia G. Ory, PhD, MPH, director of the Active for Life® (AFL) National Program Office, was selected as a co-recipient of the 2007 Distinguished Mentorship in Gerontology Award from the Gerontological Society of America. The award is given to individuals who have fostered excellence in, and had a major impact on, the field of gerontology by virtue of their mentoring and inspiration.

Synergy Projects Meeting
Diane Dowdy, PhD, director, and Kerrie Hora, MS, program manager, of the Generations Working Together to Prevent Childhood Obesity project participated in a Synergy Meeting recently with representatives from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded programs Preventing Obesity in Children: Reducing the Risk for Diabetes and Healthy Eating by Design. The Generations Project was established in response to the growing risk of overweight and obesity among low-income children. It is a pilot project for Active for Life grantees. The meeting participants focused on lessons learned, policy, and environmental impact of their programs. The potential for dissemination and development of a resource network at the grantee level to enhance sustainability and growth of these projects was also discussed.

Active for Life Final Grantee Meeting
The final meeting of the Active for Life grantees will take place October 3-5, in San Antonio, TX. The theme is Round Up in the Lone Star State. Program grantees will have an opportunity to share highlights of their efforts in reach and sustainability, some of their key learnings, and future plans. In addition, preliminary program evaluation results will be discussed.

Tips, Tactics and Tools

Active Options
Active Options has been developed to help older adults, health care providers, information and assistance specialists, and others identify appropriate and accessible physical activity programs for older adults. This Web site can also help physical activity program providers reach and recruit more older adults into their programs and help them identify gaps in the programs currently being offered in a community. For information, go to

Research Translator Blog
Community-based health and wellness practitioners who work with older adults need evidence-based information. However, this type of information is often only available through difficult-to-access university libraries and databases. The information can also be presented in an overly technical manner. To address this, the Aging Research Translator Blog ( offers weekly, easy-to-understand updates on aging-related research for community-based practitioners.

Take Control with Exercise
This upbeat 60-minute fitness DVD produced by the Arthritis Foundation provides a balanced exercise routine based on the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program. It has been created specifically for people with arthritis. The DVD includes two optional endurance routines to create a more challenging workout and a guided imagery segment for relaxation. For information, go to

In the News

Updated Physical Activity Guidelines
Updated physical activity guidelines have been released by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association, published in the August issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. The guidelines recommend the same amount of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for adults ages 65 and older, and adults ages 50 to 64 with chronic conditions or functional limitations, as for those ages 18-65. The recommendation is at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity on five days each week or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity for at least 20 minutes on three days each week. The recommended amount of aerobic activity, whether of moderate- or vigorous-intensity, is in addition to routine, light-intensity activities of daily living. Muscle-strengthening activities have been incorporated into the new guidelines. To maximize strength development, those 65 and older need to include resistance (weight) training into their fitness routine. This should include 10 to 15 repetitions of exercises that use major muscle groups. Flexibility training two days a week, and balance exercises to reduce the risk of falls, should also be incorporated into the fitness programs of people age 65 and older.

A Little Bit Helps
According to research published in the May 16 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association (, even small amounts of physical activity, approximately 75 minutes per week (25 minutes, three times per week), can help improve fitness levels for postmenopausal women who are sedentary and overweight or obese.

A Little More May Be Better
While moderate intensity walking can decrease the likelihood of disability and age-associated disease, researchers at the Mayo Clinic have noted that such physical activity may not be sufficient. High-intensity activity might be needed to protect against age-associated increases in blood pressure and decreases in thigh muscle strength and peak aerobic capacity. The study was reported in the July issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings (

Exercise Does Not Effect Osteoarthritis
Researchers have found that moderate physical activity has no effect on the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis (OA), according to a study in a recent issue of Arthritis Care and Research ( The results of the study, which monitored 1,279 older adults over a nine-year study period, suggested that older adults, even those who are overweight, can participate in recreational exercise without worrying that they might develop knee OA as a result.

Home-Based Self-Management of Arthritis
Researchers reported in the June 4 issue of the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity ( that older home-bound adults who participated in a home-based self-management arthritis intervention called I'm Taking Charge of My Arthritis! maintained their variety and frequency of exercise eight months following the completion of the intervention. The findings of this study indicate that significant improvements in exercise levels and the long-term maintenance of behaviors can be achieved through a self-management intervention with this target population. Home interventions may also have a strong impact on the facilitation of learning and adoption of behaviors. Wide scale interventions such as this may make a significant contribution to the management of disability among those suffering from arthritis.

Healthy Lifestyles Lower Cardiac Risk
In a study published in the July 2007 issue of the American Journal of Medicine (, researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston found that people 45 to 64 years of age who added healthy lifestyle behaviors could substantially reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and reduce their death rate. Compared to people with less-healthy lifestyles, study participants’ incidence of cardiovascular disease dropped 35 percent—and their death rate dropped 40 percent—when they ate at least five fruits and vegetables daily, exercised at least two and one-half hours per week, maintained a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18.5 and 30 kg/m, and did not smoke.

Upcoming Events


September 24 – October 1. Active Aging Week. The International Council on Active Aging has announced this year's theme, Choose An Active Life. For information, go to

September 30: World Heart Day. The theme for this year’s World Heart Day is Healthy Families, Healthy Communities. Sponsored by the World Heart Federation; for more information, visit their Web site at

September: America On the Move's Campaign.

September: Healthy Aging® Month.

September: National Cholesterol Education Month. Send e-mail inquiries to:

Meetings and Conferences

American Council on Exercise Fitness Symposium. September 5-7. Las Vegas, NV.

Physical Activity and Public Health Courses. September 11-19. Hilton Head Island, SC.

National Council on Aging Advocacy Day. September 18. Washington, DC.

National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Congress and Exposition. September 25-29. Indianapolis, IN.

The Cooper Institute Conference: Diversity in Physical Activity and Health. October 18-20. Dallas, TX.

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. November 3-7. Washington, DC.

Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting. November 16-20. San Francisco, CA.

National Prevention and Health Promotion Summit. November 27-29. Washington, DC. For information, go to

ICAA Conference: Active Aging 2007. Nov. 29-Dec. 1. Orlando, FL. For information go to

National Council on Aging/American Society on Aging Joint Conference. March 27-30. Washington, DC.

AAHPERD National Convention & Exposition. April 8-12. Fort Worth, TX.

World Congress on Physical Activity and Aging. Tsukuba, Japan. July 26-29, 2008. The University of Tsukuba, in collaboration with the Japan Ministry of Health and Nutrition; the Foundation of Fitness Promotion and Exercise Guidance, the Japan Health Promotion and Fitness Foundation, the Center of Excellence in Health and Sport Sciences, and the Tsukuba Advanced Research Alliance will host this important scientific event. Information will be posted at

Funding Opportunities

Excellence in Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging
A new awards program recognizes communities for their outstanding comprehensive approaches to implementing principles of smart growth, as well as strategies that support active aging. This award will be presented to communities with the best and most inclusive overall approach to implementing smart growth and active aging at the neighborhood, tribe, city, county, and/or regional level. Eligible candidates are invited to submit applications, which are due October 17. The initiative is a collaborative effort with the President's Council for Fitness and Sports, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Council on Aging's Centers for Healthy Aging, the National Blueprint Initiative, and Active for Life. More information about the award is located at:

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 or e-mail

Funding Childhood Obesity Initiatives
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will commit at least $500 million over the next five years to fight childhood obesity in the U.S. The Foundation will focus on improving access to affordable healthy foods and opportunities for safe physical activity in schools and communities. It will place special emphasis on reaching children at greatest risk for obesity and related health problems: African-American, Latino, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander children living in low-income communities. Information is available at





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: