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

February is American Heart Month
Each year, more than a million persons in the United States have a heart attack and about 515,000 of them die as a result. The Active for Life® NPO reminds our colleagues that February is American Heart Month which is a good opportunity to remind clients and patients that physical activity is an excellent way to take care of their hearts. The American Heart Association offers some great resources such as Choose To MoveSM, a free 12-week physical activity program for women. The program shows women how to Choose To Move by being physically active, eating healthfully, loving their body, selecting nutritious foods and taking time for themselves. The focus is on helping women build more physical activity into their existing routine. Go to for information.

Active for Life® Director Receives University Award
Marcia Ory, Ph.D., director of the Active for Life® NPO received the School of Rural Public Health Award for Excellence in Research. The honor was presented at the first Texas A&M University Health Science Center convocation, January 24, 2006.

Research Participants Needed
The Oregon Center for Applied Science has developed a new Web program designed to help inactive adults 55 + increase their level of physical activity. The program helps users plan a tailored exercise routine specific to personal health conditions and physical limitations. Qualified participants 55 and older are needed to help evaluate the new Web program and can receive up to $75 for filling out 3 online surveys. Participants must reside in the U.S., have regular access to a computer and have an active e-mail account. Recruitment for this study closes on March 31, 2006. For more details about the study and/or to sign up, please go to

Upcoming Events

Joint Conference of the National Council on the Aging and the American Society on Aging. March 16-19, 2006. Anaheim, CA. The conference will feature more than 800 sessions covering a diverse range of topics in aging. For information, go to

National Public Health Week. April 3-9, 2006. Sponsored by the American Public Health Association.

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

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 and Bike-to-Work Day on Friday, May 19. For more information see

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

Almost Home Documentary to Air February 21 on PBS
The Almost Home film goes inside the revolutionary transformation of a nursing home. And a companion Web site gives the bigger picture. The site includes Understanding Aging, which addresses general topics, while Changing Long-Term Care offers information about culture change. There are interviews, essays, tools, discussion guides, links and video clips throughout, including a curriculum designed to support the film. A true-life drama, Almost Home engages viewers while eliciting important issues such as: coping with disability and dementia; adapting to how aging changes relationships; negotiating care-giving responsibilities; preparing for the end of life; the economics of nursing home care; the difficulty of surviving on nursing assistant wages; and the challenge of changing nursing homes. See for information.

AARP’s The State of 50+ America 2006
Compared with a decade ago, the state of 50+ America seems to have improved, but AARP's third annual "report card" on the quality of life of mid-life and older Americans finds that the picture has become less favorable and the outlook bleaker during the most recent year. The 2006 report examines the status of age 50+ Americans' economic, health, and social well-being, and includes a special section on housing and how people are responding to the current housing landscape. For information go to

AoA Announces Theme for Older Americans Month
The Administration on Aging has announced that the theme for the May 2006 observation of Older Americans Month will be Independence + Dignity + Choice = Healthy Aging. Resources for Older American’s Month are available at

In the News

Regular Exercise May Delay Dementia
Older adults who exercised at least three times a week were much less likely to develop dementia than those who were less active, according to a study reported in the January 17, 2006 issue of The Annals of Internal Medicine. The study did not demonstrate directly that exercise reduces the risk of dementia, but it joins a growing body of observational research pointing to an association between exercise and cognitive decline, say scientists at the National Institute on Aging. To view a news release about the study, see

Physical Activity and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Physical activity appears to counter the effects of long-term HRT on mental acuity among postmenopausal women, according to findings published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging. The journal also reported that increasing physical fitness and moderating/changing food intake can contribute to the maintenance of functional integrity and mental health later in life. Both studies were published in a special issue of the journal, Volume 26, Issue 1, Supplement 1. December 2005. For information see

Exercise Helps Keep Aging Minds in Shape
In a paper appearing September 21, 2005 in The Journal of Neuroscience, scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies show that mice that voluntarily started exercising in old age were better able to learn new tasks and added more of the brain's message-relaying neurons than their sedentary counterparts. "Our findings show it is never too late in life to start to exercise," says author Henriette van Praag, PhD, "and that doing so will likely delay the onset of aging-associated memory loss." For more information see

Exercise May Speed Healing
The body’s ability to heal even small skin wounds normally slows down with age. But a new study in older adults finds that regular exercise may speed up the wound-healing process by as much as 25 percent. “This is the first time we’ve been able to document this kind of enhancement associated with exercise,” said Charles Emery, a professor of psychology and the lead author of the Ohio State University study. The faster that a wound heals the less chance it will become infected. The results appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences. For more information see

Exercise Reduces Risk for Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease
A new study by Group Health Cooperative in Seattle finds that older adults who exercised three or more times a week had a 30-40 percent lower risk for developing dementia compared with those who exercised fewer than three times per week. Exercises included: walking, hiking, aerobics, calisthenics, swimming, water aerobics, weight training and stretching. Researchers followed 1,750 adults age 65 or older with normal mental function for six years. Authors note this is the most definitive study yet of the relationship between exercise and risk for dementia. Previous research on this relationship has yielded mixed results. The study is published in the January 17, 2006 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

Exercise Attitudes of Low-Income Urban Adults
Past surveys have shown that exercise participation is higher among more highly-educated white people. Curious about the perceptions of people in ethnic and economically disadvantaged populations, a research team found that the amount of exercise among socioeconomic groups is not as different as expected. The researchers concluded that "when physicians encourage moderate exercise, when patients believe that they can overcome barriers to exercise, and when the environment supports moderate exercise through the availability of community exercise classes, inequities in health behaviors can be reduced." The research is reported in the January 2006 issue of the Journal of Aging & Physical Activity.

Dog Owners Walk More
Dog owners log more exercise time than their urban neighbors without pet dogs, according to a study in the February issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine. "There's this extra dog obligation that helps get people up and out for their exercise," said author Shane Brown, a physical education instructor and researcher at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. Brown and co-author Ryan Rhodes surveyed 177 men and 174 women between the ages of 20 and 80 in Greater Victoria and found that the 70 dog owners walked an average of 300 minutes a week compared to 168 minutes a week for the others. However, other than walking, dog owners exercised less than non-owners, suggesting that when dog lovers go on walks, they do it partly because they choose to be active with their pets. For more information see

Funding Opportunities

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 at

Civic Ventures Accepting Nominations for Purpose Prize
Civic Ventures, a non-profit organization working to help America achieve the greatest return on experience, announces The Purpose Prize - five $100,000 investments in Americans over 60 whose creativity, talent and experience is transforming the way our nation addresses critical social problems. Sixty semi-finalists will also receive national recognition for their work. To nominate someone or apply yourself, visit The application deadline is February 28, 2006. The first awards will be made in June 2006.

Orange Thumb Grant Program
Fiskars Garden & Outdoor Living is accepting applications for its 2006 Project Orange Thumb grants program. Project Orange Thumb recipients will receive grants of up to $1,500 in Fiskars Garden Tools and up to $800 in gardening-related materials such as plants, seeds, mulch, etc. Recipients will also receive Project Orange Thumb t-shirts for garden members/volunteers. Gardens and/or gardening projects geared toward community involvement, neighborhood beautification, sustainable agriculture, and/or horticultural education are eligible. Community garden groups, as well as schools, youth groups, community centers, camps, clubs, treatment facilities, etc. are encouraged to apply. Only group applications will be considered; single individuals are not eligible. The program is open to any community garden in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The deadline for applications is February 17, 2006. Visit the Fiskars Web site for more information 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: