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!
National Program Office
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July 2008

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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

American Fitness Index
With funding from the WellPoint Foundation, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) ( developed the ACSM American Fitness Index™ (AFI) ( program to help cities understand how the health of their residents and community assets that support active, healthy lifestyles compares to other cities nationwide. The AFI reflects a composite of community indicators for preventive health behaviors, levels of chronic disease conditions, access to health care, and community supports and policies for physical activity. Active for Life® Director Marcia Ory, PhD, MPH served as a member of the expert panel that helped identify indexed measures for the report.

CDC Poster Presentation
AFL marketing director Brigid Sanner will present Marketing Health Programs: Lessons Learned from Active for Life at the CDC National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media in Atlanta on August 12-14. The poster will highlight key lessons learned and insights into hard-to-reach audiences including African Americans, Latinos, and men.

Tips, Tactics and Tools

Walkable Community Web Site
The Walk Score Web site, operated by a civic software company Front Seat, researches and promotes pedestrian-friendly places, offering home seekers address scores based on proximity of easily accessible amenities. Information on urban walkability grades can be found at and

Green Volunteering
Volunteering for environmental protection activities can be physically and mentally sustaining for older people, according to the latest issue of Public Policy & Aging Report (PPAR), which is titled "Gray and Green Together". PPAR is published by The National Academy on an Aging Society (, the policy institute of the Gerontological Society of America. Older adults are in a unique position to have a noticeable impact on their surroundings and to fill meaningful roles in the community after retirement. The programs of environmental organizations routinely bring together people of different generations. Many of these involve healthy physical activity, such as the testing of rivers or clean up of natural areas.

In the News

Sleep and Health Behaviors
Adults who sleep less than six hours a night and those who sleep nine hours or more, have higher rates of physical inactivity than adults who sleep seven to eight hours, according to data recently released by the CDC ( The study notes that the associations between sleep and other behaviors are complex, and the directions of causality cannot be determined with the cross-sectional data used in this analysis. Additional analyses are needed to identify the causal directions of these relationships, as well as to identify other factors that may influence sleep and its associated factors. Despite these limitations, the findings provide important information about the potential relevance of discussing health risk behaviors such as smoking, alcohol use, physical inactivity, and obesity with patients who seek medical advice for sleep concerns.

Walking and Independence
Older adults can decrease their risk of disability and increase their likelihood of maintaining independence by 41 percent by participating in a walking exercise program, according to a new University of Georgia study. The study, which appears in the July issue of the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy (, also found that walking program participants increased their peak aerobic capacity by 19 percent when compared to a control group and increased their physical function by 25 percent.

Walkable Communities Contribute to Healthy Weight
Researchers reporting in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine ( note that people may be at less risk of being obese or overweight if they lived in walkable neighborhoods—those that are more densely populated, designed to be more friendly to pedestrians and have a range of destinations for pedestrians. The study found that neighborhoods built before 1950 tended to offer greater overall walkability as they were designed with the pedestrian in mind, while newer neighborhoods were often designed to facilitate car travel.

Exercise and Weight Loss
Overweight and obese women may need to exercise 55 minutes a day for five days per week to sustain a weight loss of 10 percent over two years, according to a report in the July 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine ( To calculate the amount of exercise needed, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh enrolled 201 overweight and obese women in a weight loss intervention between 1999 and 2003. All the women were told to eat between 1,200 and 1,500 calories per day. They were then assigned to one of four groups based on physical activity amount and intensity. After six months, women in all four groups had lost an average of eight to 10 percent of their initial body weight. However, most were not able to sustain this weight loss. The 24.6 percent of individuals who did maintain a loss of 10 percent or more over two years reported performing more physical activity (an average of 1,835 calories per week, or 275 minutes per week over the baseline level of activity) than those who lost less weight. They also completed more telephone calls with the intervention team, engaged in more eating behaviors recommended for weight control, and had a lower intake of dietary fat.

Exercise Makes the Heart Younger
According to a study conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, older people who did endurance exercise training for about a year ended up with metabolically much younger hearts. After endurance exercise training — which involved walking, running or cycling exercises three to five days a week for about an hour per session — the participants' hearts doubled their glucose uptake during high-energy demand, just as younger hearts do. For the first three months, participants were required to exercise to about 65 percent of their maximum capacity. After that, the program was stepped up so participants reached about 75 percent of maximum. The researchers also showed that by one metabolic measure, women benefited more than men from the training. The study appeared in the June issue of the American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology (

Upcoming Events


September is Healthy Aging Month. Healthy Aging® Campaign.

America on the Move Campaign. September. America on the Move Foundation.

National Cholesterol Education Month. September. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Meetings and Conferences

CDC National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media.
August 12-14, 2008. Atlanta, GA.

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. October 25-29, 2008. San Diego, CA.

Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting. November 21-25, 2008. National Harbor, MD.

ICAA Conference. December 4-6, 2008. San Antonio, TX.

National Conference on Chronic Disease Prevention & Control. February 23-25, 2008. Washington, DC.

National Council on Aging-American Society on Aging Aging in America Conference. March 15-19, 2008. Las Vegas, NV.

Funding Opportunities

Active Aging/Healthy Communities
The EPA seeks applications for Excellence in Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging. This award 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 on a variety of fronts, at the neighborhood, tribe, city, county, and/or regional level. The deadline for application is Sept. 12. (

Ladder to Leadership
A collaborative initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Center for Creative Leadership, this funding initiative is designed to enhance the leadership capacity of community-based non-profit health organizations serving vulnerable populations. Ladder to Leadership focuses on developing critical leadership competencies for early- to mid-career professionals through a 16-month leadership development curriculum. The program will be delivered in nine priority communities on a staggered schedule over the next four years. Up to 30 fellows will be selected to participate in the program in each of nine targeted communities across the U.S.: Central NY; Cleveland, OH; Birmingham, AL; Albuquerque, NM; Eastern NC; Portland, OR.; Mid-South Region (Western TN, Eastern AR, and Northern MS); NJ (specific site/region to be determined); and Starr County, TX. For information, visit the RWFJ Web site (





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: