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Active for Life - Increasing Physical Activity Levels in Adults Age 50 and Older!
National Program Office
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December 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

AARP AFL Report Released
Community-Wide Campaign to Promote Physical Activity Among Midlife and Older Adults: Lessons Learned from AARP’s Active for Life™ Campaign and a Synopsis of Evidence-Based Interventions has just been released by AARP ( . The publication addresses marketing and communications, partnership building, environmental barriers to physical activity, and development of community-wide walking campaigns. It also includes a summary of evidence-based community interventions to promote physical activity in midlife and older adults.

Lifestyle Discussion During Doctor Patient Interaction
AFL director Marcia G. Ory, PhD and colleagues recently published an article to document the length of time that primary care physicians discuss lifestyle issues with their older patients. Although physician influence can be especially powerful with older adults, the researchers found that little time was spent in lifestyle discussions. On average, physical activity was discussed for less than a minute and nutrition for slightly less than 90 seconds. The article appeared in Medscape (

Tips, Tactics and Tools

Getting Outside in Winter
If your clients or patients complain about limited physical activity options during the cold months, here’s an innovative tool to help. The National Wildlife Federation and NatureFind™ offer a quick way to find green places in your community. You plug in your zip code and NatureFind will display a list of close-by wild places including a Web link to each locale, the distance from your house, and the recreational opportunities available at each location. The National Wildlife Federation’s Green Hour™ Web site provides suggestions for things to do including animal tracking, catching snowflakes, filling bird feeders and watching for feathered friends to visit, or organizing a winter scavenger hunt. Many of these activities are as close as your own back door.

Smart Growth and Active Aging
The Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University released a report, Neighborhood Design and Aging: An Empirical Analysis in Northern California, that explores the residential and travel choices for older adults. The report is available at

Women and Environmental Health
The US EPA Aging Initiative has released a fact sheet on Women and Environmental Health. Heart disease is the number one killer of women over 65 years of age. For those with cardiovascular disease, air pollution can cause sudden variations or an increase in heart rate. Air pollution can also worsen coronary atherosclerosis or chronic heart conditions which can result in a heart attack, especially among post menopausal women. The fact sheet offers suggestions on how to reduce environmental hazards. It can be ordered online at or downloaded at

In the News

Prevention Throughout the Lifespan
Many chronic diseases begin in childhood and are present for years before people become aware of the symptoms. Toward Healthy Aging: The Preservation of Health, published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society ( notes that risk factors for a number of chronic diseases have been identified. Research shows that addressing these risk factors can result in a decrease in chronic diseases.

Thirst and Older Adults
Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio found that older adults show a dangerous tendency toward reduced drinking in response to dehydration, compared to younger adults. This emphasizes the importance of encouraging older adults to hydrate adequately when undertaking moderate and vigorous physical activity. The PET study on thirst appeared in a recent issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online Early Edition. For more information see

Good Physical Functioning Activity Lowers Risk of Stroke
Middle-aged and older adults who stay agile may be less likely to suffer a stroke than their less-nimble peers, researchers reported in an article in the December issue of Neurology ( In a study of more than 13,000 men and women, British researchers found that middle-age and older adults who reported good physical functioning at the beginning of the study were less likely to have a stroke over the next seven years. The findings suggest that measures of physical functioning could help identify "apparently healthy" people who are at increased risk of stroke.

Fitness Level May Be A Predictor of Longevity for Older Adults
Adults age 60 and older who had higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness lived longer than unfit adults, according to a study in the December issue of JAMA ( Researchers at the University of South Carolina, Columbia examined the associations between cardiorespiratory fitness, various clinical measures of adiposity (body fat) and death in older women and men. The researchers found that those who died were older, had lower fitness levels, and had more cardiovascular risk factors than survivors. Participants in the higher fitness groups were for the most part less likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as hypertension, diabetes, or high cholesterol levels.

Following Recommendations for Physical Activity Can Lengthen Life
According to research from the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study, adults age 50-71 who got at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days a week were 27 percent less likely to die over the next six or seven years. People who engaged in 20 minutes of vigorous exercise at least three times per week cut their risk of death by 32 percent. Smaller amounts of physical exercise appeared to be associated with a 19 percent reduced risk of death. Results of the study appeared in the December issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine (

Phone Coaching Helps Motivate Sedentary Adults
According to research led by Abby King, one of the developers of Active Choices, telephone coaching, either from a person or computer can be effective in motivating sedentary adults to get exercise. This is according to a study that appeared in the November issue of Health Psychology ( Researchers found that sedentary adults ages 55 and older, who received periodic advice and encouragement via the telephone increased exercise levels during a one-year period.

Adults At Risk for Disabilities Able to Adhere to Exercise Program
Elderly adults at risk for physical disabilities are able to adhere to a regular program of moderate exercise for one year, according to a recent study. Researchers from Tufts University observed that improvement in physical function was related to the participants’ ability to adhere to the physical activity regimen. The study was published in the November issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (

Upcoming Events


Meetings and Conferences

New Partners for Smart Growth Conference. Feb. 7-9, 2008. Washington, DC.

American College of Sports Medicine Health & Fitness Summit. March 24-27, 2008. Long Beach, CA.

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.

American Planning Association Conference. April 27-May 1, 2008. Las Vegas, NV.

American Geriatrics Society Annual Meeting. April 30-May 4, 2008. Washington, DC.

American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting. May 28-31, 2008. Indianapolis, IN.

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

Health Games Research
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is seeking proposals for its Health Games Research program. It is seeking projects that will investigate and develop evidence-based principles to use in the design of interactive games that increase players' physical activity and self-care. Proposals are due January 29. For information, go to

Purpose Prize
This award celebrates and supports outstanding individuals 60 or older who are already producing significant social innovation and accomplishing work of great importance. The Purpose Prize challenges prevailing perceptions by investing significantly in carefully screened social innovators over the age of 60. Each year Civic Ventures awards five $100,000 prizes, as well as ten $10,000 prizes, to individuals who have demonstrated uncommon vision, determination and entrepreneurialism in addressing community and national problems. For information see

Prescription for Better Health & Wellness
Sponsored by CVS/pharmacy and National Council on Aging this prize will recognize a senior center for outstanding work in promoting a healthy lifestyle for seniors in its community. Nominated senior centers must provide details on a unique health or well-being program they offer that is educational and/or participatory. The winner will receive $1,000 cash, paid expenses for one person to attend the NCOA-American Society on Aging Aging in America conference in Washington, DC, and the opportunity to present the winning program during one of NCOA's monthly Healthy Aging Briefing Webinars in 2008. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 30. For details see

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





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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: