the Active for Life Program Office
Tactics and Tools
Active for Life® E-Newsletter Update is produced
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Office at The Texas A&M Health Science Center School
of Rural Public Health. To include information, contact
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the Active for Life® National Program Office
Kudos to Laura Leviton
Laura Leviton, one of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
(RWJF) Active for Life® (AFL) program officers,
was recently promoted to Special Advisor for Evaluation at
RWJF. Laura is a respected leader in the evaluation field.
Before joining RWJF, Laura had a distinguished career as a
professor and evaluator. She has published more than 70 articles
in peer-reviewed journals, numerous book chapters, and several
books. In 2000 she served as the President of the American
Evaluation Association. She is on the editorial boards for
three evaluation journals, including the American Journal
Lisa Groce Earns Fitness Certifications
Lisa Groce, senior coordinator for the AFL National Program
Office, recently earned certifications from the Cooper Institute
as a Personal Trainer and Healthy Behaviors Coach. She and
AFL Intergenerational program coordinator Kerrie Hora will
lead a stretching session on March 6 during the Program on
Health Promotion and Aging Healthy Aging meeting being held
March 5-7 in College Station, TX.
AFL Team Members Present at
Aging In America, the joint conference of the National Council
on Aging and American Society on Aging, is set for March 26-30
in Washington, DC. The conference will bring together a diverse,
multi-disciplinary community of more than 3,500 professionals
from the fields of aging, healthcare, and education. Information
is available at http://www.agingconference.org.
Among the presenters are:
- Robin Mockenhaupt, RWJF, Addressing
the Chronic Care Challenge through Collaborative Care. March
27, 8:00 a.m.
- Marcia Kerz, The OASIS Institute,
Increasing Civic Engagement through Creative Partnering.
March 29, 8:00 a.m.
- Marcia Ory, AFL, Aging Texas Well:
Using Evidence-Based Programs With Older Adults. March 29,
- Brigid Sanner, AFL, Marketing Health
Programs: Lessons from Active for Life. March 29, 1:30 p.m.
Healthy Communities for Active
Seven communities and government agencies are the recipients
of the first Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging
Awards sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency's Aging Initiative. The program recognizes outstanding
community planning and strategies that support active aging
and smart growth to improve older residents' quality of life.
The Atlanta Regional Commission and the city of Kirkland,
WA, received the Achievement Award. Winning the Commitment
Award for initiating a plan to implement smart growth and
active aging principles are: City of Rogers Adult Wellness
Center, AR; Carver County Public Health, Carver County, MN;
Town of Scarborough, ME; Queen Anne's County Housing and Community
Development, MD; and Brazos Valley Council of Governments,
TX. Active for Life staff are members of the Brazos Valley
Building Healthy Communities Coalition. The Active for
Life® Learning Network (http://www.LNactiveaging.org)
is a partner in the EPA's Aging Initiative program.
Make Every Month “Heart
The American Heart Association offers several fitness programs
that can help adults increase their activity levels. Information
on these and other programs is available at http://www.Americanheart.org.
Choose To Move
is a free 12-week physical activity program for women.
It shows women how to get active, eat healthfully and
love their heart in just 12 weeks.
is the American Heart Association movement calling on
all Americans and their employers to live longer, more
heart-healthy lives through walking and other healthy
The Reference Guide of Physical
Activity Programs for Older Adults
This resource for planning interventions provides information
on 17 physical activity programs that could be used with
older adults having healthy to frail functional status.
All of the programs contain physical activity components
that might achieve important benefits for all older adults
with diabetes. It is available from the CDC at http://www.cdc.gov:80/diabetes/pubs/refguide_physactivity.htm.
HHS Release Health Literacy
Tool, Strategic Plan
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has released
a new health literacy tool for people who serve older adults.
The Quick Guide to Health Literacy and Older Adults
is designed to provide useful strategies and suggestions
to help bridge the communication gap between professionals
and older adults. The guide is available at http://www.health.gov/communication/literacy/olderadults/index.html.
Older American’s Month
Materials for the May observance of Older American’s
Month are available on the Administration on Aging (AoA)
Web site. Logos, posters, sample proclamations, and drop-in
newspaper articles can be downloaded at http://www.aoa.gov/PRESS/oam/May_2008/Materials_Downloads.html.
Health, United States, 2007
Health, United States, 2007 is a compilation of
more than 150 health tables prepared by CDC’s National
Center for Health Statistics. The report also contains a
special section focusing on access to care, which shows
that nearly 20 percent of adults reported that they needed
and did not receive one or more of these services in the
past year – medical care, prescription medicines,
mental health care, dental care, or eyeglasses – because
they could not afford them. The publication is available
Is My Community Elder Friendly?
The Elderberry Institute offers a two-page questionnaire,
Is My Community Elder Friendly? that will score
a community based on a series of graded questions. Questions
are grouped under the following topics: housing, transportation,
accessibility, services, work, shopping, social/cultural,
and values. The questionnaire is available at http://www.elderberry.org.
Footloose and Fancy Free: A Field Survey of Walkable
Urban Places in the Top 30 U.S. Metropolitan Areas,
available from The Brookings Institution, is a field survey
that attempts to identify the number and location of ''regional-serving''
walkable urban places in the 30 largest metropolitan areas
in the U.S., where 138 million, or 46 percent, of the U.S.
population lives. Read more or download the complete document
Guide Helps Older Adults
Find Health Information Online
Health issues are a vital concern for older adults, and
surveys show that most of those who go online search for
health and medical information. However, since only 34 percent
of people age 65 and older are online, the majority of older
adults are missing out on valuable health information. To
broaden the numbers of older adults able to search for and
find reliable health information online, the National Institute
on Aging (NIA) has developed a free training curriculum
for those who teach and work with older adults. This Toolkit
for Trainers is now available at http://www.NIHSeniorHealth.gov,
a Web site developed by the National Institute on Aging
and the National Library of Medicine.
Exercise Keeps You Young
Individuals who are physically active during their leisure
time appear to be biologically younger than those with sedentary
lifestyles, according to a report in the January 28 issue
of Archives of Internal Medicine (http://archinte.ama-assn.org/).
Regular exercisers have lower rates of cardiovascular disease,
type 2 diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, obesity and
osteoporosis, according to background information in the
Walking Speed Predicts Long-Term
Researchers who followed the health of nearly 500 older
people for almost a decade found that those who walked more
quickly were less likely to die over the course of the study.
The findings, the researchers said, suggest that gait speed
may be a good predictor of long-term survival, even in people
who otherwise appear basically healthy. The study was presented
at a conference of the Gerontological Society of America.
In a related study appearing in the November issue of the
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers
also found that a faster walking speed reduces the risk
of death. The article is available at http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2007.01413.x.
Increasing Walking Among
Sedentary Older Adults
A study reported in the November issue of the Journal
of the American Geriatrics Society found that more
than 50 percent of participants who attended a community-based
physical activity pilot program that included a one-hour
exercise class, followed by attribution-retaining sessions,
reported improvements in pain, energy levels, and sleep
quality. In addition, they reported increasing weekly walking
by 24 percent. The article is available at http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.html?ref=0002-8614&site=1.
Regular Walking Can Lower
Risk of Dementia
People age 65 and older who regularly walk and get other
forms of moderate exercise appear to significantly lower
their risk of developing vascular dementia, the second most
common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease,
according to a study published in the December 19 issue
of Neurology®, the online medical journal of
the American Academy of Neurology, available at http://www.aan.com/go/elibrary.
Metabolic Benefits of Brisk
Walking briskly for 30 minutes a day, six days a week can
significantly reduce blood pressure, waist circumference,
triglycerides, and fasting glucose while increasing HDL.
These findings come from researchers at Duke Medical Center.
They note that compared with sedentary adults, those with
moderate intensity exercise -- walking 10 to 11 miles over
an average 170 minutes a week -- resulted in a significant
improvement in metabolic syndrome. Moreover, the benefit
was achieved without dietary changes, the investigators
reported in the December 15 issue of the American Journal
of Cardiology, available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00029149.
Research Supports Health
Group Health seniors are not only sweating to the oldies
in local health clubs. They are also keeping healthcare
costs down, according to a study by researchers at Group
Health and the University of Washington (UW). The study
appears in the January 2008 issue of the journal Preventing
Chronic Disease, available online at http://www.cdc.gov/PCD/.
The research found long-term total healthcare costs grew
more slowly for older Group Health patients who regularly
used their SilverSneakers® health club benefit.
Aerobic Fitness Can Reduce
A moderate level of aerobic fitness can significantly reduce
stroke risk for men and women, according to a large, long-running
study presented at the American Stroke Association’s
International Stroke Conference 2008. Although many previous
studies have looked at an association between self-reported
physical activities and cardiovascular disease, few have
used direct measurements such as the cardiorespiratory fitness
measure used in this study, said Steven Hooker, Ph.D., the
study’s lead author. This is also the first study
to explore the association between cardio respiratory fitness
and the risk of stroke in women. For more information, go
PDAs Help People Stay Active
A study reported in the February issue of the American
Journal of Preventive Medicine (http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/600644/description#description),
showed that specially programmed personal digital assistants
(PDAs) can prod middle-aged and older Americans - the most
sedentary segment of the U.S. population - into increasing
their physical activity levels. In the program, participants
set goals, tracked their physical activity progress twice
a day and received feedback on how well they were meeting
their goals. After eight weeks, the researchers found that
while participants assigned to the PDA group devoted approximately
five hours each week to exercise, those in the control group
spent only about two hours on physical activities.
One surprise was the participants' positive response to
the program's persistence. The PDA users liked the three
additional "reminder" beeps that went off if they
failed to respond to the first one. In fact, almost half
of them wound up responding to the PDA only after being
beeped for the fourth time.
Meetings and Conferences
American College of Sports
Medicine Health & Fitness Summit. March 24-27,
2008. Long Beach, CA. http://www.acsm.org.
National Council on Aging/American
Society on Aging Joint Conference. March 27-30.
Washington, DC. http://www.agingconference.org.
AAHPERD National Convention
& Exposition. April 8-12. Fort Worth, TX.
American Planning Association
Conference. April 27-May 1, 2008. Las Vegas,
American Geriatrics Society
Annual Meeting. April 30-May 4, 2008. Washington,
American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting.
May 28-31, 2008. Indianapolis, IN. http://www.acsm.org.
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 http://www.isapa2008.org.
American Public Health
Association Annual Meeting. October 25-29, 2008.
San Diego, CA. http://www.apha.org.
Dec. 4-6, 2008. San Antonio, TX. http://www.icaa.cc.
The Purpose Prize provides five awards of $100,000 each
to people over 60 who are taking on society’s biggest
challenges. It’s for those with the passion and experience
to discover new opportunities, create new programs, and
make lasting change. The prize is offered by Civic Ventures,
with generous grants from The Atlantic Philanthropies and
The John Templeton Foundation. http://www.purposeprize.com.
College Station, Texas 77843-1266