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

Generations Working to Prevent Childhood Obesity Grants Awarded
In response to the growing risk of overweight and obesity among low-income children, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has created Generations Working to Prevent Childhood Obesity to support intergenerational initiatives through which adults will work to help prevent or reduce the incidence of obesity among children in their communities.

Four Active for Life® grantees will receive grants through this initiative:

  • Synergy for the Ages: Creating Communities that Support Healthy Lifestyles: Hamilton County General Health District, working with Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio
  • First Garden: FirstHealth of the Carolinas
  • Active Generations: The OASIS Institute, San Antonio
  • San Pablo Park Steps to Wellness Project: City of Berkeley Public Health Division, a partner of San Mateo County Health Department

The projects will promote physical activity and healthy eating. While the specific grants will support work that is narrow in geographic or programmatic focus it is expected that effective outcomes will be replicable on a larger scale.

Active for Life® Featured in AAMC Newsletter
AFL director Marcia Ory is quoted in the February 2006 issue of the Association of Medical Colleges newsletter. The article, Curing Couch Potatoes: Doctors Play Key Role in Promoting Exercise, notes, “Last year, the National Committee for Quality Assurance added a new measure to its set of quality-care measurements, which requires physicians to ask Medicare patients age 65 and older about physical activity and to give them advice about starting and maintaining an exercise program. Right now, whether or not your doctor talks to you about physical activity is one of those things that's going to be checked off," said Dr. Ory. The article features a photo of Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington, Inc., AFL team leader Christine Bruchac and program participant Vermetta Gilmore. For more information see

Active Aging Presentations at Upcoming NCOA/ASA Conference
The Joint Conference of the National Council on the Aging and the American Society on Aging is coming up March 16-19, 2006. There are a number of presentations related to active aging. Here are some highlights:

  • Active Options for Aging Americans: Using the Web to Increase Accessibility to Physical Activity Programs. This session highlights the importance of physically active lifestyles for older adults. Components include community and Web-based surveys, community coalition building, and increasing access to physical activity programs for older adults.
  • Active Options for Aging Americans: Creating and Utilizing an Online Census Survey of Physical Activity Programs for Older Adults. This session covers the SHAPE survey and discusses its translation and outreach efforts.
  • Just Doing It and Keeping It Up: A Panel of Vintage Athletes. This session features the return of a panel of female vintage athletes, as well as the addition of some older male athletes, who will discuss their experiences, motivations, rewards, struggles and their adaptation to waning physical prowess.

For more information see

March Is National Nutrition Month
March is National Nutrition Month. Health and wellness professionals who work with older adults can use this as an opportunity to talk about the importance of good nutrition in connection with regular physical activity. One good resource is the International Food Information Council’s brochure Better Eating for Better Aging, available online at Also look for resources on the AoA ( ) and NIA ( Web sites.

Upcoming Events

Joint Conference of the National Council on the Aging and the American Society on Aging. March 16-19, 2006. Anaheim, CA. For information go to

Future of Aging Services Conference. April 3-5, 2006. Washington, DC. For information, go to

National Hispanic Council on Aging. April 7-9, 2006. Miami, FL. Successful Strategies for Generations of Change: A Roadmap for the Hispanic Community. 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

American Occupational Therapy Association Conference and Expo. April 27-30, 2006. Charlotte, NC. For information, go to

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, 2006 and Bike-to-Work Day on Friday, May 19, 2006. For more information, see

American Geriatrics Society Annual Scientific Meeting. May 3-7, 2006. Chicago, IL. The 2006 Annual Meeting will address the educational needs of geriatrics professionals from all disciplines. To find out more about the meeting, visit

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

Worksite Becoming an Important Place to Reach Older Adults
As baby boomers age they are less likely to retire than the previous generation. According to U.S. Census Bureau data reported in Advertising Age - U.S. Consumer - Like No Other on the Planet (January 2, 2006), in 2005 some 37 percent of men and 29 percent of women age 65 to 69 remained in the work force. By 2015 it is predicted that 52 percent of men and 44 percent of women in that some age group will continue to work. Social marketers who strive to reach this audience will need to consider work-related media outlets. In addition, in less than 10 years, programs and services targeted to the 65 and older population will need to allow for the fact that a large percent of this group will not access traditional aging services and programs during the weekday. Social, medical, education, and wellness programs will need to be structured so they are available to mature adults during evening and weekend hours.

Good Read – The Breakaway Brand
Ever wonder why and how some brands become leaders, and others seem to spend their lives as a “me too” product? Marketing experts Francis J. Kelly III and Barry Silverstein examine how brands such as JetBlue, Apple and Nike, among others, have set themselves apart – and ahead – of a crowded marketplace in The Breakaway Brand. Here’s a comment authors make about Nike: “Name any major sport, and chances are Nike is the dominant player. Lance Armstrong is a Nike athlete. Tiger Woods won three Majors using Nike golf balls. That’s because Nike’s core positioning is that the brand stands for the serious athlete, not the spectator. Nike never forgets that, and neither do its customers.” The book is published by McGraw-Hill.

Keeping Current on Research & Practice in Physical Activity for Older Adults,
National Council on the Aging Center for Healthy Aging released the fourth in a series of issue briefs on best practices in physical activity programming for older adults. The brief, Keeping Current on Research and Practice in Physical Activity for Older Adults, encourages and assists physical activity programmers to stay on top of the latest research and best practices in the field of physical activity and older adults. It outlines steps to create a personal learning plan and offers tools and resources to connect programmers with the most current research and practice. For a copy go to

Tip Sheets for Older Adults
The American Geriatric Society Foundation for Health in Aging has a series of useful consumer tip sheets. New topics are added frequently and current topics are updated as needed. Currently, the following topics are offered:

  • Emergency Preparedness Tips
  • Flu & Pneumonia Prevention Tips
  • Hot Weather Safety Tips
  • Overcoming the Challenges to Healthy Aging

The materials can be accessed at

Materials for Indoor Walking Trails
The Administration on Aging has added a new set of posters to its online Web site that can be used to create an indoor walking trail. The materials guide you through marking off the trail, offering events and motivation tips to get people walking. Partners may access the posters for the You Can! Indoor Walking Trail at by logging on to the You Can! Partners Web site.

PBS to Rebroadcast Almost Home
On April 4, PBS will re-air Almost Home (originally shown February 21, 2006), a film documentary of a visionary nursing home director dedicated to transforming his institutional facility into an individualized home environment. The film tells the stories of adults facing dementia and disability, and the challenges of ongoing family responsibilities. Senator Herbert Kohl (WI), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging and the Independent Television Service hosted a screening featuring the documentary. Ken Salazar (CO), member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and Senator Kohl both noted that this film shows that transforming the system of nursing home care can be done. The film will be shown as a part of the Independent Lens series and viewers should check local listings for times. For more information about the film, visit

Get Gorgeous with Physical Activity
Cosmetic surgery is booming in the Boomers market segment, and it’s not just Botox® and hair transplants. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeon’s 2004 Cosmetic Surgery Age distribution (51-65+) data, thigh lifts increased 48% between 2000 and 2004 in the age 51-64 group and a whopping 157% in the 65 plus group. Tummy tucks increased 125% in the same time period for the 65 plus group and 71% among those ages 51 to 64. Increases have also been seen in other procedures such as buttock lifts and upper arm lifts. These data indicate appearance counts to many people as they age. But for most people keeping the body toned and trim can be managed without drastic surgical intervention. When working with mid-life and older adults, it may be worthwhile to address the physical appearance benefits of regular activity and a good diet, as well as the benefits to health and independence.

In the News

Exercise Helps Older Age Group
A study published in the February 2006 issue of the Journal of Aging and Health indicates that older adults showed significant increases in body strength, flexibility, balance and agility after participating in an exercise program that included walking and resistance training exercises twice-per-week over 16 weeks. The participants averaged 83.5 years of age, ranging in age from 66 to 96. Volunteers were divided into a walking group, a resistance training group and a control group that did not exercise. For more information see

Study Explores Exercise Perceptions
Research published in the January 2006 Journal of Aging and Physical Activity assessed the perceptions about exercise among a group of low-income, urban, primarily minority older adult patients of a primary-care clinic. The study showed that inequities in health behavior are reduced when physicians encourage exercise, when patients have the confidence to overcome barriers, and when community exercise classes are available.

Exercise and Brain Health
With the rapid aging of the population, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is intensifying the search for strategies to preserve brain health as people grow older. The effort moved an important step forward with a report by an expert panel to the NIH, suggesting a number of promising avenues for maintaining or enhancing cognitive and emotional function. Specifically, the group said, education, cardiovascular health, physical activity, psychosocial factors and genetics appear to be associated with brain health with age, and research aimed at directly testing the effectiveness of interventions in several of these areas deserves further attention. The report is published in the February issue of Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. For information, go to

Regular Exercise Important in Conjunction with HRT
Women pondering hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) also should consider regular exercise. A new study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suggests that being physically fit offsets cognitive declines attributed to long-term HRT therapy. The study appears online in advance of regular publication in Neurobiology of Aging. See and search on “exercise and HRT”.

Keep Blisters At Bay
Often older adults who have been sedentary find that as they begin a fitness program such as walking they may get blisters and thus stop their activity. Blisters are often the by-product of sweaty socks. To learn if certain types of socks can help prevent blisters, a team of University of Missouri-Columbia biological engineering students put athletic socks to the test to find out what constitutes a good sock versus a bad one. They found that the material that composed the sock is the key. Socks that are 100 percent cotton usually performed the worst, especially when a person started to sweat. The students also found that higher priced socks did not test any better than the inexpensive brands.

No Exercise – More Pain
According to a study published in Arthritis Research & Therapy (September 2005), consistent exercise over the long term in physically active older adults is associated with 25 percent less musculoskeletal pain than reported by more sedentary older adults. The researchers studied the long term impact of running and other aerobic exercise on musculoskeletal pain in a group of healthy aging men and women. The adults were studied over a 14 year period. For more information see

Funding Opportunities

Awards of Excellence in Older Volunteer Program Management
The MetLife Foundation Older Volunteers Enrich America Awards will honor volunteer programs for promising practices in recruiting and engaging older volunteers. Awards will be given to three volunteer programs whose practices in recruitment, orientation, training, retention and recognition of older volunteers set the standard and can be replicated by other organizations. Award honorees will receive a monetary award of $2,500 to help further their work. Additional information about the 2006 MetLife Foundation Older Volunteers Enrich America Program Awards, including nomination forms, can be found at Deadline for nominations is April 7, 2006.

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 jointly conducted by communities and researchers. For more information, go to or e-mail at

Wisconsin Longitudinal Study
The Center for Demography of Health and Aging (CDHA) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will award three pilot grants to investigators using the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) data for scholarly research. Selected recipients will receive $10,000 to support their research, along with a residency at CDHA, where they will receive training and support in use of WLS data. The residency will take place on August 3-4, 2006. Grant recipients will be invited back to CDHA to present their work at a later date. Authors will be encouraged to publish their work in any appropriate outlet. Application deadline is June 1, 2006. For details see

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1266 TAMU
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Phone: 979-458-4202
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Active for Life National Program Office | SRPH Building | 1266 TAMU | College Station, TX 77843-1266
Phone: 979-458-4202 | Fax: 979-458-4264 | Email: