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Active for Life - Increasing Physical Activity Levels in Adults Age 50 and Older!
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May 2006

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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

Plenty to Celebrate in May
May comes with a myriad of opportunities to promote health and wellness.

  • Older American’s Month: President George Bush notes, “This year's theme, Choices for Independence, reflects the importance of our citizens making retirement, lifestyle, and health choices that enhance their quality of life as they grow older.”
  • Arthritis Month: The Arthritis Foundation celebrates with the theme Get Moving! It's the right time to get moving to a better life through physical activity and reduced pain. For resources see
  • Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month: The National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, supported by the AoA and in collaboration with community and faith-based organizations, is helping seniors enroll in the Medicare Prescription Drug program. A toll-free, multi-lingual helpline has been set up to help AAPI seniors navigate through the Medicare Part D process. The toll-free numbers are:
    - English 1-800-336-2722
    - Chinese 1-800-582-4218
    - Korean 1-800-582-4259
    - Vietnamese 1-800-582-4336
  • National Bike Month. The League of American Bicyclists is promoting Bike-to-Work Week from May 15-19 and Bike-to-Work Day on Friday, May 19. For more information see
  • Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month: Osteoporosis…it matters is the theme for 2006. The National Osteoporosis Foundation hopes that healthcare professionals and patients will talk about bone health. For information see
  • National Women's Health Week: May 14-20. The week is highlighted by National Women's Check-Up Day (May 15). Health centers, hospitals, and healthcare providers will offer preventive health screenings to women.
  • National Employee Health & Fitness Day: May 17. Presented by the National Association for Health & Fitness. For information see
  • Senior Health and Fitness Day: May 31. The theme is Fitness - A Lifetime of Benefits! More than 100,000 older adults are expected to participate in health events at over 1,000 local organizations. See for details.

The Active for Life® NPO encourages health, wellness, and fitness professionals to make a special effort to recognize these celebrations and observances, and to use them as opportunities to encourage patients and clients to become (or continue to be) physically active, and to adopt other healthy lifestyle behaviors.

Are You An Innovator?
Do you have a creative, visionary, or bold initiative in the field of older adult wellness? If so, the International Council on Active Aging invites you to enter the 2006 ICAA Industry Innovators Awards competition and be recognized for your inspiring work. For information and application forms, visit The Active for Life® program was recognized as an industry innovator in 2004.

Congratulations to OASIS
The Person to Person program of St. Louis OASIS was recognized as a Program of Excellence, the highest award given by the RespectAbility Program of the National Council on Aging. Through Person to Person, OASIS trains adults over 50 as individual peer counselors, caregiver guides, and community discussion group leaders. Three OASIS sites (Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and San Antonio) are Active for Life® grantees.

OASIS also was recently awarded a two-year grant of $150,000 from the Anthem Foundation to offer Active Start to low-income sedentary older adults in the downtown Indianapolis area. Active Start combines Active Living Every Day, a behavior change program that helps people develop strategies for including physical activity in their daily routine, and Exerstart, an exercise program.

Check out the March/April 2006 issue of the International Journal on Active Aging
Barbara Resnick, PhD, of the University of Maryland School of Nursing, and AFL director Marcia G. Ory, PhD, MPH have co-authored an article, Motivating Frail Older Adults To be Physically Active. The article provides practical information, screening tools, and exercise options. See for information.

Upcoming Events

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

Translating Research Into Practice and Policy Conference. July 10-12, 2006. Washington, DC. For information see

N4A Annual Conference. Aug. 6-10, 2006. Chicago, IL. For information go to

2006 National Health Promotion Conference. Sept. 12-14, 2006. Atlanta, GA. Presented by CDC's Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, and the Office of Genomics and Disease Prevention.

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

4th Annual ICAA Conference: Active Aging 2006. Nov. 15-17, 2006. Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV. Information is available at

Tips, Tactics and Tools

CDC’s 2006 Trends in Health and Aging
Find tables on trends in the health of older Americans. Data includes tables by age, gender, race, and Hispanic origin. The tables are easy to customize. For details see

Women’s Health Outreach Campaign
AoA, the Office on Women’s Health, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have partnered to promote Reconnect to Your Health!, a Women’s Health Outreach Campaign. The campaign focuses on Medicare-covered preventive services and Medicare’s new prescription coverage. Materials are tailored for Mother's Day and National Women's Health Week. Posters, available in English and Spanish, can be distributed to women by community aging service providers. For information, go to

AARP Offers Route 66 Fitness Web site
Get Fit on Route 66 is an interactive site that lets people convert exercise minutes to miles along this scenic Mother Road. To help inspire individuals to be more active, participants will travel from Chicago to Santa Monica by recording exercise minutes. One minute of activity equals one mile. Time spent walking, biking, swimming, and playing tennis counts as exercise minutes, as do all activities that increase heart rate and get people moving. For more information see

Helping People Get Moving After Vacation
While vacations are meant to be relaxing, there are times when they can border on lethargic. Hours of lying in the sun, sitting in restaurants, and sleeping late hardly qualify as aerobic activity. But a few small changes while on the road can help get the body moving and burn some of those extra calories that inevitably will be consumed. Annie Eakin, assistant director of aquatics for Indiana University Bloomington's Division of Recreational Sports, offers several suggestions to help.

  • Instead of lying by the pool, get in it and move around. Aqua jogging is an easy activity that will exercise nearly the entire body and get your heart rate up.
  • Lap swimmers can check out Web sites such as to see if there are any lap pools near their vacation locale.
  • Activities such as snorkeling, skiing or taking the kids somewhere that requires walking, like the zoo or a theme park, can be fun and are calorie-burners.
  • For indoor workouts, book a room in a hotel that has an exercise room.
  • Find a fitness center that offers day passes. The YMCA, which is an international workout facility, sells day passes for $8-10, and can be found in almost every city in America.

Color Cues
Cement and citron are forecast to be predominant colors in sporting and fitness wear in spring/summer 2007, and russet and grotto blue will be featured in fall/winter 2007-08, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association Enewsletter SGMA In Brief (April 5, 2006.). "The first optic impression in sales is color. Color is always an expression of its time," said Monika Tilley, chairperson of the SGMA/Color Association of the U.S. Color Card Project. Health and fitness promoters might take a cue from the industry and use these colors in promotion material, to keep things trendy and fresh. Do consider that people with aging eyes might have difficulty reading type that is in yellow hues (like citron).

Marketing Physical Activity to the Older Adult
This publication, produced by the International Council on Active Aging, offers information about communicating physical activity messages to older adults. The publication is available to ICAA and AAFP members for free. Non-members can purchase the publication for $49. For ordering information call 866-335-9777.

Spanish Language Information for Diabetes Patients
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in older Hispanics. Factors that add to the risk include being overweight and inactive. The National Institute on Aging has a free fact sheet in Spanish with information on preventing, detecting, and treating diabetes. To order a copy of La diabetes en las personas mayores: una enfermedad que usted puede controlar, call 1-800-222-2225 weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern time. A Spanish-speaking information specialist is available to respond to calls. The material is also available online at

FITT Back to the Basics-Strategies to Maintain a Healthy Back
More than 80% of Americans will experience back pain at least once in their lifetime. Back pain usually reoccurs, and some individuals develop chronic back pain. A recent study in the Oct. 2005 issue of the American Journal of Public Health demonstrated that recreational physical activity has a positive effect on low back pain by reducing pain and disability related to back injury, and improves overall psychological health. For more information, see

In the News

People with Arthritis Don’t Exercise Enough
More than a third of adults with arthritis don’t exercise, according to a study in the May issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine. “People with arthritis are not meeting physical activity recommendations made at the federal level and by experts in the arthritis field,” said CDC’s Jennifer Hootman, PhD. While exercise has been shown to decrease their pain, delay disability and improve gait and function, people with arthritis are even more likely to be inactive than adults in the general population. For more information see

Regular Exercise Improves Quality of Life
Researchers at the University of Illinois found that people age 65 and older who continue to exercise are more fit. And physical activity may improve quality of life over the long-term. Participants were surveyed on their quality of life, self-esteem, self-efficacy, confidence in their abilities, and their levels of happiness or contentment.

The Internet and Older Adults
Wired seniors are often cited as the fastest-growing demographic group online, but that description can be misleading. Most of the growth in this group over the last few years has come from long-time Internet users in their early sixties. There is little evidence that non-users in their seventies and eighties are getting the Internet bug, notes the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. According to the study, in 2006 34% of Americans age 65 and older go online (up from 29% in Jan. 2005). But a closer look at the data reveals that just 28% of Americans age 70 and older go online - essentially the same percentage as in Jan. 2005. For more information see

Women Say Exercise Buddies Are Important
Nine in ten women age 45 and older feel confident they are doing all they can to stay as healthy as possible, according to a new AARP survey, Looking at Act II of Women's Lives: Thriving & Striving from 45 On. An important point is that 58% said that they would be more likely to exercise if they had a buddy or friend to do so with them. The report is available at

Older American’s Act Re-authorization
The U.S. House Subcommittee on Select Education recently held a hearing on potential legislation to re-authorize the Older Americans Act (OAA). Assistant Secretary Josefina Carbonell indicated that over the last 40 years the OAA and the aging services network have produced an array of innovative programs to help older Americans retain independence in the community. “We must look forward to the changing realities facing our nation. Some of these realities include increasing numbers of people living longer and the expanded demand for long-term care,” she remarked. For information visit

AARP Physical Activity Survey 2006
The views of 1,011 Americans about physical activity and exercise are the focus of an AARP survey which explores perceptions of the benefits of exercise, personal exercise preferences, and past and present activity patterns. Some key findings: nearly half of those interviewed said they have been physically active for a year or longer. Not surprisingly, women and men note different reasons for exercising, with women saying they do so for health and weight reasons, and men, as a way of socializing with others. Women also report walking as their preferred type of exercise, while men note group sports such as basketball, racquetball and soccer. The report is available at

Low Calorie Diet Affects Aging-Related Factors
Results from part of the NIA-supported Comprehensive Assessment of Long-Term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy (CALERIE) controlled clinical trial indicate that overweight people who cut their calories by 25% for six months have reduced fasting insulin levels and core body temperature, two markers for which lower levels have been associated with increased longevity in humans. The findings are reported in the April 5, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Research-based physical activity programs must adapt to communities
With an emphasis on evidence-based programs, research projects have been funded to find successful methods to encourage physical activity and other health-related behaviors among older adults. Once the study has shown results, how well do programs transfer to communities? Staff at the University of California, San Francisco, formed partnerships with three community organizations to implement the Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors model, which had proven effective in two prior research studies. Each site offered six-month programs. Researchers noted that the overarching challenge was to maintain the fundamentals of the original research-based program while adapting to each organization's resources. The study was reported in CDC’s April 2006 Preventing Chronic Disease and can be accessed at

Older Women Not Advised to Exercise
According to research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (April 2006), only 28.3% of 6,385 community-dwelling women ages 50 years and older reported that during the prior year a clinician had recommended they start or continue exercising. The percentage of women who did receive exercise counseling diminished with age: 31.4% of women ages 50 to 64; 29.2% of women ages 65 to 74; 21.6% of women ages 75 to 84; and 14.4% of women ages 85 and older. For information go to

Funding Opportunities

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Local Initiative Funding Partners Program
Local Initiative Funding Partners is a partnership between RWJF and local grantmakers that seeks to fund promising, original projects to significantly improve the health of vulnerable people in their communities. Grantmakers propose a funding partnership by nominating community initiatives that offer creative solutions to critical health or healthcare problems. To be eligible, projects must be new, innovative, collaborative, and community-based. Significant program expansions, such as a major expansion into new regions or to new populations, may also be considered. Local funding partners must be willing to work with each grantee to obtain sufficient dollar-for-dollar matching funds throughout the grant period. The deadline for applications is July 6, 2006. See for information.

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:

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 Aug. 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

National Gardening Association 24th Annual Youth Garden Grant Program
The National Gardening Association and Home Depot announced the 24th annual Youth Garden Grant Program. Schools, youth groups, community centers, camps, clubs, treatment facilities, and intergenerational groups are eligible. Applicants must plan to garden in 2007 with at least 15 children between the ages of three and 18. Applicants should demonstrate a child-centered plan that emphasizes children/youth learning and working in an outdoor garden. Each winning program will receive educational materials from NGA and a gift card (amount to be determined) from Home Depot. Information is available at Deadline for applications: Nov. 1, 2006.

Balance Bar Invites Applications for Community Grants
Balance Bar Community Grants provide support to organizations to pursue physical activities that enrich their members' lives. The applicant and the majority of beneficiaries of grant monies must be 18 years or older. Grants are available to non-profit organizations such as runners’ clubs, trails conferences, parks and recreation departments, athletics programs and leagues, or other groups that enhance physical health while enriching the lives of those in the community. Organizations can apply for a grant amount ranging from $1,000 to $25,000. Information is available at Deadline for applications is Aug. 30, 2006.

Improving the Quality of Life of Older Americans
The Retirement Research Foundation (RRF) is committed to supporting programs that improve the quality of life for older Americans, and has invested more than $115 million to help build a network of innovative and skilled individuals and institutions addressing aging and retirement issues. Deadline for receipt of requests is August 1, 2006. For more information, go to the RRF Web site at:

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: