American Fitness Index
With funding from the WellPoint Foundation, the American College
of Sports Medicine (ACSM) (http://www.acsm.org)
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.
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 http://walkscore.com/rankings
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 (http://www.agingsociety.org),
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.
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 (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/pubs/pubd/hestats/sleep04-06/sleep04-06.htm).
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
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 (http://www.ajpm-online.net/)
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
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
September is Healthy Aging
Month. Healthy Aging® Campaign. http://www.healthyaging.net.
America on the Move Campaign.
September. America on the Move Foundation. http://www.americaonthemove.org.
National Cholesterol Education
Month. September. National Heart, Lung and Blood
Meetings and Conferences
CDC National Conference
on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media.
August 12-14, 2008. Atlanta, GA. http://www.cdc.gov/healthmarketing/conference2008.htm.
American Public Health
Association Annual Meeting. October 25-29, 2008.
San Diego, CA. http://www.apha.org.
of America Annual Meeting. November 21-25, 2008.
National Harbor, MD.
December 4-6, 2008. San Antonio, TX. http://www.icaa.cc.
National Conference on
Chronic Disease Prevention & Control. February
23-25, 2008. Washington, DC. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/conference/
National Council on Aging-American
Society on Aging Aging in America Conference.
March 15-19, 2008. Las Vegas, NV. http://www.ncoa.org.
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. (http://www.epa.gov/aging/bhc/awards/)
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 (http://www.rwjf.org/applications/solicited/cfp.jsp?ID=20281&c=EMC-FA144).
College Station, Texas 77843-1266