the Active for Life Program Office
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the Active for Life® National Program Office
February is the Month for Hearts
February is an ideal time to focus on taking care
of your heart, that incredible muscular organ that rhythmically
beats an average of 100,800 times each day and will pump 50
million gallons of blood in an average lifetime. Regular physical
activity can keep the heart healthy and Diane Dowdy, Ph.D.,
deputy director of the Active for Life program points
out, “With spring around the corner it’s a great
time to begin, or renew, a physical activity program. Health
and wellness professionals can remind their patients and clients
that there are 1,440 minutes in every day and people just
need to be physically active for 30 of those minutes.”
For more information and free activity resources see the Active
for Life Web site at http://www.activeforlife.info.
Congratulations to Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko
Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, Ph.D., chair of the Active Aging Partnership,
is a new member of the President’s Council on Physical
Fitness and Sports Science Board. Dr. Chodzko-Zajko has dedicated
the past 15 years to studying how physical activity affects
health and quality of life in the aging population. He is
head of the Department of Kinesiology at the University of
Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Active for Life is one
of the lead members of the Active Aging Partnership.
Walk Across Texas
For the fourth year in a row, a team from the Active for
Life National Program Office is joining thousands of
Texans in the annual Walk Across Texas. The program is designed
to have teams of seven keep track of the miles they walk,
jog, or bicycle, aiming to cover the 830 miles “across
Texas” in 8 weeks. Walk Across Texas was created by
Texas Cooperative Extension in 1996 to help participants establish
the habit of regular physical activity.
and Health Screening
EASY (Exercise and Screening for You) is a quick
consumer-focused online assessment that helps a person know
if they should see a healthcare provider before starting
a physical activity program, and how to choose activities
for optimal benefit given particular health conditions or
situations. EASY can be accessed at http://www.easyforyou.info.
It was developed in collaboration with First Step to Active
Health® and the Texas A&M School of Rural Public
Health’s Aging and Health Promotion Program.
Online Heart Month Materials
The International Council on Active Aging and Philips Medical
Systems have prepared a special online Heart Month support
package to help you prepare specific programs for older
adults during February. By taking advantage of the national
publicity that surrounds Heart Month, you can maximize your
promotion of physical activity, healthy eating and smoking
cessation. The ICAA Heart Month Web site is at http://www.icaa.cc/heartmonth.htm.
March Is National Nutrition
Diet fads come and go, and some may help people lose weight
– in the short term. March is National Nutrition Month®
and the American Dietetic Association points out that the
most effective long-term way to achieve a healthful lifestyle
is to be 100% Fad Free. Information from ADA is available
Proper nutrition with physical activity are keys to a healthy
weight at any age.
Start! is an American Heart Association movement
calling on all Americans and their employers to live longer,
more heart-healthy lives through walking and other beneficial
habits. Information and resources targeted to both individuals
and their employers are available free at http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3040778.
Spanish Edition of Covering
La cobertura periodística de temas de salud 2006
– 2007, the Spanish version of the Alliance for
Health Reform book Covering Health Issues, can be downloaded
This resource is especially helpful for professionals who
work with Spanish-speaking adults. It includes information
on Medicaid, Medicare, children’s health coverage,
disparities, mental health, the uninsured and an array of
other topics. The guide is produced with a grant from the
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The English version can
be downloaded at http://www.allhealth.org/sourcebook2006/toc.html.
Smart Growth Illustrated
The US Environmental Protection Agency’s Smart Growth
Illustrated provides visual examples of smart growth techniques
as they have been used in different places. Although every
example illustrates several smart growth principles, each
was chosen to illustrate one specific principle. Areas in
DuPont, WA and Bethesda, MD provide examples of walkable
communities. Narrative description and photographs are provided
for each case study. To view the smart growth examples,
go to http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/case.htm.
The Surface Transportation Policy Partnership (STPP) has
released two new reports on the federal transportation law.
The Guidebook -- A Guide to Transportation Opportunities
in Your Community -- reviews how federal surface transportation
law can be used to support local and statewide efforts to
build more livable communities and expand travel options.
The Workshop Report -- Using the Federal Transportation
Law to Meeting the Mobility Needs of Your Community: Report
on Workshop Discussions, Findings and Next Steps --
describes key findings from the STPP Partners workshop series.
To view the reports go to http://www.transact.org/form_guidebook.htm.
Smart Growth Communities
Are you trying to encourage smart growth activities that
will help prepare for older adults in your community? Are
you concerned with coordinating smart growth design with
an active aging program? The Development, Community, and
Environment Division in U.S. EPA's Office of Policy, Economics,
and Innovation has issued a request for applications for
the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance program. A team
of multidisciplinary experts will provide free technical
assistance to communities, regions or states that want to
develop in ways that meet environmental and other local
or regional goals. EPA is soliciting applications from communities
that want help with either policy analysis or public participatory
processes. Selected communities will receive assistance
in the form of a multi-day visit from a team of experts
organized by EPA and other national partners to work with
local leaders. Applications will be accepted until March
8. For information and application materials see http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/sgia.htm.
Exercise Enhances Seniors'
Physical, Mental Functioning
Reversal of the brain shrinkage that occurs as
people age is just one benefit of physical activity, according
to research published in the Journal of Gerontology:
Medical Sciences (Vol. 61A, No. 11). Until recently,
scientists believed older brains could not grow new neurons.
However, a team at the University of Illinois has evidence
showing that three hours of brisk walking per day can trigger
biochemical changes that increase production of new brain
neurons. Another article in the same journal shows that
a structured exercise program may boost the physical well-being
of sedentary seniors who are at risk of losing independent
functioning. For more information see http://www.geron.org/journals/medical.html.
Walking Can Reduce Stress
A small pilot study reported in the January 2007 issue of
Biological Research for Nursing demonstrated that
walking for 30-minute intervals five times per week at a
pace able to elevate the heart rate to 60 percent of the
maximum heart rate can result in significant decreases in
perceived stress, as well as an improvement in many quality
of life measures among older adults. For more information
Exercise Frequency Important
How often an exercise or activity is performed is one of
the foundation components of an exercise program. The role
of frequency was examined for 34 women, average age 67.8
years, who participated in a 3-month exercise program. The
women were divided into groups that met once, twice or three
times a week. After 12 weeks, the group that met three times
a week had significant improvements in body weight, coordination
and six-minute walking distance compared to the other groups.
There were no significant differences in muscle strength
among the groups. The authors suggested that "in order
to improve functional fitness in older women, an exercise
frequency of at least three times each week should be recommended."
The study is published in the March-April 2007 issue of
the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics. More
information is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01674943.
Exercise Helps Older Adults
Leave Hospital Sooner
Older hospital patients who participate in special care
programs that include exercise may go home sooner and incur
fewer medical costs than patients receiving standard care,
according to a new review of evidence that appears in The
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007, Issue
1. Although the health benefits of physical activity are
well known, older adults are not always encouraged to exercise
during acute hospitalization. As a result, they may lose
strength and mobility and require time in a rehabilitation
center before returning home. Visit http://www.cochrane.org
for more information.
Challenge of Communicating
Physical Activity Message
While the benefits of regular physical activity are well
documented in medical literature and the problems associated
with a sedentary lifestyle are even more apparent, public
health officials struggle for methods to promote increased
physical activity that will work in American society. In
a study published in the January 2007 issue of the American
Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers examine
the challenges in promoting physical activity in a society
less and less inclined to walk, run or exercise. For more
information go to http://www.ajpm-online.net.
Physical Activity May Reduce
Breast Cancer Risk
Women who engage in physical activity may have a reduced
risk of breast cancer after menopause, according to a report
in the December 11/25, 2006 Archives of Internal Medicine.
The association appears to be stronger for estrogen receptor
positive/progesterone receptor negative tumors (which are
typically more aggressive) than for other types of breast
cancer tumors. For information see http://archinte.ama-assn.org.
Exercise Boosts Well Being
A structured exercise program may boost the physical well-being
of sedentary seniors who are at risk of losing independent
functioning, according to a study published in the November
2006 Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.
The study also showed that exercise holds promise for lowering
older people’s chances of major walking disabilities
and that older adults can safely begin a program of moderate
exercise. For details see http://www.geron.org/journals/medical.html.
Active Living Research
Conference. Feb. 22-24, 2007 in Coronado,
CA. Presentations on perspectives related to
economics, crime, culture, etc., and will focus on the
prevention of obesity in communities, neighborhoods, children,
and families. For information, go to http://www.activelivingresearch.org.
NCOA-ASA Joint Conference.
March 7-10, 2007. Chicago, IL. This conference
will feature over 900 sessions covering a diverse range
of topics in aging. For details, go to http://www.agingconference.org/asav2/conf/jc/jc07/.
AAHPERD National Convention. March 13-17, 2007. Baltimore,
MD. This conference, sponsored by the American
Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and
Dance, features a comprehensive program including programming
and events targeted to the distinct populations of the
health and physical activity industry.
American College of Sports
Medicine Health and Fitness Summit & Exposition. March
21-24, 2007. Dallas, TX. The American College
of Sports Medicine Health & Fitness Summit seeks to
bridge the gap between the science of sports medicine
and practice for the fitness professional, broadly defined.
For information, go to http://www.acsm.org.
National Health and Livability
Summit. April 17-19, 2007. Atlanta, GA. The National
Recreation and Park Association invites local, state,
and national officials and citizen advocates to join together
to examine new management practices, and investigate the
vital contributions park and recreation agencies make
to increase the quality to life, health, and livability
of the individuals they serve. For details, go to http://www.nrpa.org/content/index.html?documentId=4704.
American College of Sports
Medicine 54th Annual Meeting. May 30-June 2, 2007. New
Orleans, LA. For information, go to http://www.acsm.org.
World Congress on Physical
Activity and Aging. July 26-29, 2008. Tsukuba, Japan.
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 http://www.isapa2008.org.
Decision Making in Health:
The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement
is to invite applications for research projects that will
expand the knowledge of basic decision-making processes
underlying initiation and long-term maintenance of healthy
lifestyle behaviors that may reduce the risk of cancer and
other chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease,
diabetes, and addiction. For more information, and to apply,
go to http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-05-016.html,
Resource Centers For Minority
Aging Research (RCMAR)
The NIH invites applications from qualified institutions
to create or continue RCMAR and the RCMAR Coordinating Center.
It is anticipated that approximately $2,740,000 will be
available for each RCMAR award in their first year, and
that three to five RCMAR awards will be made plus one Coordinating
Community Participation in
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 http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-05-026.html
or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stepping On Grant
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced
the availability of funding through the Dissemination
Research on Fall Prevention: “Stepping On” in
a U.S. Community Setting Grant. The deadline for applications
is February 23, 2007.
College Station, Texas 77843-1266