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Active for Life - Increasing Physical Activity Levels in Adults Age 50 and Older!
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March 2007

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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

Theme for Older Americans Month
The Administration on Aging (AoA) has announced Older Americans: Making Choices for a Healthier Future as the theme for Older Americans Month, May 2007. Information and resources are available at

Southwestern Ohio AFL Grantee Partners with YMCA
The YMCAs from Hamilton and Clermont Counties (Ohio) are permanent partners with Active for Life® grantee Hamilton County General Health District/Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio, and will offer the Active Living Every Day (ALED) program at area YMCAs. In 2006 there were 18 ALED graduates from the YMCA in southwestern Ohio, and two Y sites stated offering the program in March of 2007.

OASIS Receives Award
The OASIS Institute, an Active for Life® grantee, was presented with the Jack Ossofsky National Leadership Award. The award is given to individuals or organizations that have taken a creative, new idea and developed it into a successful program, service, or policy that helps older people achieve vital aging. The award, named for former National Council on Aging (NCOA) president Jack Ossofsky, was presented at the joint conference of the NCOA and American Society of Aging in March.

Tips, Tactics and Tools

State of Aging Report
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with funding from the Merck Company Foundation, has issued a report card on the nation’s progress in promoting and preserving the health of older adults and reducing the prevalence of behaviors and conditions that contribute to premature death, disease, and disability. The State of Aging and Health in America is available at The report presents the latest data on 15 key health indicators for older adults related to health status, health behaviors, preventive care and screening, and injuries. Among findings:

  • The nation is meeting federal benchmarks for the care of older adults in only four (mammogram screening, colorectal screening, cholesterol monitoring and smoking cessation) of 11 categories. Three health behaviors - smoking, poor diet and physical inactivity - were the root cause of almost 35 percent of U.S. deaths in 2000.
  • The cost of providing health care for an older American is three to five times greater than the cost for someone younger than 65.
  • By 2030, the nation’s health care spending will increase by 25% unless more is done to preserve the health of older adults.

The “State-by-State Report Card” provides similar information for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and enables states to see where they are on each indicator as well as in relation to other states.

New Web Site
The National Women’s Health Information Center has a new Web site, Aging Well, Living Well, which can be found at The site includes a myriad of practical consumer-based information including a section on staying active. There are also links to information on activities that can be incorporated into daily life, as well as resources on exercise, nutrition, arthritis and related topics.

Physical Activity and Public Health Course
The Physical Activity and Public Health Course (PAPH), sponsored by the University of South Carolina Prevention Research Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, feature an eight-day postgraduate course on research directions and strategies and a six-day practitioner's course on community interventions. The research course serves post-doctoral personnel and is designed to develop research competencies related to physical activity and public health. The practitioner's course is for those professionally involved or interested in community-based initiatives to promote physical activity. The 2007 courses will be held September 11-19 at The Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head, SC. For information and application instructions, contact Janna Borden at (803) 576-6050 or e-mail

Exercise for People with Arthritis
People with arthritis need specific guidance on appropriate types of exercises as well as the duration and frequency of physical activity. They should be informed that while pain may increase during and immediately following physical activity, exercise can enhance overall pain management. Certain land-based exercise and water exercise classes are safe for people with arthritis.

  • Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program In this community-based recreational exercise program (formerly known as People with Arthritis Can Exercise, or PACE) developed by the Arthritis Foundation, trained instructors cover a variety of range-of-motion and endurance-building activities, relaxation techniques, and health education topics. All of the exercises can be modified to meet participant needs.
  • Aquatic Program This water exercise program for people with arthritis and related conditions involves classes, conducted by a trained instructor, that include joint range-of-motion exercises, stretching, breathing, and light-aerobic activities.
  • EnhanceFitness (formerly Lifetime Fitness) This is an evidence-based, community-delivered exercise program proven to increase strength, boost activity levels, and elevate mood. Certified instructors offer a program that focuses on stretching, flexibility, balance, low-impact aerobics, and strength-training exercises.
  • The Arthritis Foundation Self-Help Course (AFSHC) helps people learn and practice the different skills needed to build an individualized self-management program and gain the confidence to carry it out. The six-week course consists of weekly two-hour sessions guided by two trained instructors who follow a detailed protocol. Participants have reported a 20 percent decrease in pain and a 40 percent decrease in physician visits, even four years after participation in the course.

In the News

More Physical Activity is Better
For community-based older persons without dementia, physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of developing impairment in activities of daily living (ADL), according to a study published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The abstract is available at Study participants spent between three and three-and-one-half hours per week engaging in physical activity. The risk of death decreased 11 percent for each additional hour of physical activity per week. For those who were not disabled at baseline, the risk of developing disability in ADLs decreased 7 percent.

Exercise and Memory
Research has shown that people who exercise do better on memory tests. Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center found that exercise targets a region of the brain which underlies normal age-related memory decline that begins around age 30 for most adults. This finding is significant because it was accomplished via the first-ever observation of the growth of neurons within a living brain. The study is published in the March 12-16 early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, available at

Summit on Global Aging
On March 15 the Department of State convened a Summit on Global Aging that focused on encouraging international dialogue and coordinated studies about the health, economic, social and security implications of aging. For the first time in history, people 65 years old and over will soon outnumber children under age five. But the added years of life, a crowning achievement of the 20th century, also pose significant challenges. As the world's population ages, the prevalence of chronic disease increases. Insurance, pensions, and other social support systems are strained. Many governments, both in the developed and developing worlds, are beginning to recognize that global aging can affect economic growth, labor force, trade, migration, international relations, and national security. A fact sheet is available at Additional information on the global aging issue is available in the report issued jointly by the Department of State and the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, Why Population Aging Matters: A Global Perspective, available at

Exercise and Behavior Change Effective for Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis among older people, the result of wearing away of the cartilage protecting the bones. The Fit and Strong! program was designed to assess the impact of exercise and behavior change on older adults with osteoarthritis in the lower extremities. The 115 participants followed a program that included flexibility, aerobic walking and resistance training. Education and group problem-solving encouraged people to maintain physical activity. Participants developed plans for maintaining their individual programs. At two months, people in the program significantly improved in self-efficacy for exercise, minutes per week of exercise and lower extremity stiffness. Although a smaller number of people were following the program at 12 months, those who continued maintained self-efficacy for exercise and minutes per week. They also had reduced levels of pain and lower-extremity stiffness. The researchers concluded that "this consistent pattern of benefits indicates that this low-cost intervention is efficacious for older adults with lower extremity osteoarthritis." The results of this work were published in the December 2006 issue of The Gerontologist, available at

Upcoming Events

National Health and Livability Summit. April 17-19. 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 of life, health, and livability of the individuals they serve. For details, go to

Environments for Aging. April 23-24. Baltimore, MD. The conference focuses on educating government and private sector stakeholders about planning and design of new urban and suburban environments that serve the independent and active Baby Boom generation. For information see

30th Annual National Association for Health and Fitness Conference. April 26-28. Buena Park, CA. A national conference designed for health and fitness providers, the conference will focus on youth fitness, Native Americans and diverse community fitness, fitness for older adults, and environmental issues on physical activity. Information is available at

American College of Sports Medicine 54th Annual Meeting. May 30-June 2. New Orleans, LA. For information, go to

National Wellness Conference: Creating and Sustaining Wellness Cultures. July 14-19. Stevens Point, WI.

ICAA Conference: Active Aging 2007. Nov. 29-Dec. 1. Orlando, FL. For information go to

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

Funding Opportunities

Decision Making in Health: Behavior Maintenance
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,

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 Center.

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

Boomer Business Plan Competition
The Boomer Business Plan Competition is being held in conjunction with the Boomer Venture Summit, presented by the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. The summit will take place June 19. The competition is open to anyone with an idea for developing a product or service for the age 45 and older market. Two $10,000 prizes (one in a health category, the other in a general category) will be awarded to the business plans that are considered by an elite group of judges to have the highest potential for success in the Boomer market. The competition is a terrific opportunity for participants to gain significant exposure to a vast network of leaders in the field of aging, including potential strategic partners and top investors. Deadline for competition entries is April 20.




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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: