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

AFL Featured at Meetings
AFL National Program Office staff members Marcia Ory, Ph.D. and Diane Dowdy, Ph.D., and Tracy Slate from OASIS San Antonio recently made a presentation on Active for Life® to attendees at the Texas Health Institute Obesity Prevention Conference. AFL was one of two evidence-based model programs highlighted at the conference. In addition, Dr. Ory presented AFL to the Aging Texas Well Advisory Committee ( in May.

Excellence in Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging
The EPA, in partnership with AFL and several other agencies, has developed an initiative to promote both smart growth and active aging strategies. As the lead organization, the EPA is accepting applications from municipalities, counties, and tribes for an award which recognizes outstanding community planning and strategies that support active aging. Awards for Excellence in Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging will be presented to communities that demonstrate the best and most inclusive overall approach to implementing smart growth and active aging at the neighborhood, tribe, municipality, county, and/or regional levels. Applicants must be public-sector entities in the United States and coordinate with their local Area Agency on Aging. Information is available at The deadline is Oct. 17 and winners will be announced at the 7th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth: Building Safe, Healthy and Livable Communities Conference in Washington, DC, February 2008. The Learning Network for Active Aging, an Active for Life initiative, ( is one of the central partners in this effort and will serve as a resource for this initiative.

Tips, Tactics and Tools

Enhancing Active Aging
The Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging Steering Committee developed a ten-step process for helping communities promote active aging. The document will be posted on the AFL Learning Network shortly (

It highlights steps for effective and safe physical activity programs for older adults:

  1. Set a specific goal for increasing older adult participation in physical activity.
  2. Encourage physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle.
  3. Promote everyday tasks as opportunities for physical activity.
  4. Offer a variety of group-based physical activity programs and self-directed opportunities that are suitable for older adults.
  5. Offer physical activity programs that feature one or more components of physical activity (cardiovascular, strength, flexibility, balance).
  6. Conduct a census of active aging programs in the community/city.
  7. Ensure that programs are safe and effective, and are tailored to meet the needs of individual participants.
  8. Offer instruction in proper technique and provide adequate supervision.
  9. Include behavioral support strategies to increase motivation and promote retention.
  10. Address risk management and injury prevention.

Older Americans Month 2007
Older Americans: Making Choices for a Healthier Future is the theme for Older Americans Month, observed in May. Older Americans Month 2007 materials are now available on the Administration on Aging Web site. They include a copy of the logo, posters, and a sample proclamation, as well as an article that can be localized.

Guidelines for Healthy Meetings
The role of food choices and physical activity in the prevention of many chronic and debilitating diseases is becoming more apparent. Employers, community groups and faith communities can make it easier for people to make healthy food choices by providing healthy food at meetings and other events they sponsor. Be Active New York State, at, offers an online resource that provides practical and creative tips for providing healthy food and physical activity opportunities during meetings. The information can be accessed at

Blueprint for Livable Communities
The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), Partners for Livable Communities and Metlife Foundation has released “A Blueprint for Action: Developing a Livable Community for All Ages.” The Blueprint contains action steps for communities to take -- in the areas of housing, planning, transportation, health and supportive services, culture and lifelong learning, public safety, and civic engagement -- to prepare for the pending increase in the aging population. To view the Blueprint, go to:

Active Living Research Papers
A special issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion (March/April 2007 Vol. 21, No. 4) highlights papers presented at the 3rd Annual Active Living Research Conference that took place in February 2006. For free access to the 2007 supplement, go to

Built Environment and Physical Activity Report
A report from the Synthesis Project, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative, The Built Environment and Physical Activity: What is the Relationship? is available online at The report examines what is known about how the physical or built environment affects activity and outlines the potential policy implications of these findings.

New Census Bureau Data Available
The U.S. Census Bureau recently released the newest national and state characteristics population estimates. Links to Excel and PDF tables can be found in the Census Bureau press release, "Minority Population Tops 100 Million", available at

Two RAND Reports Reprinted
The RAND Corporation recently re-released Exercise Programs for Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis available at; and Falls Prevention Interventions in the Medicare Population available at

American Foundation for the Blind Launches Web Site for Seniors
It's no secret that current rates of vision loss from diseases like age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy are expected to double as the nation's 78 million baby boomers reach retirement age. To help address this growing public health concern, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has launched the AFB Senior Site (, designed for seniors losing their vision, their families, and the professionals who serve them. The site is rich with information including photos, videos, articles, and resource links to enhance the independence of older people beginning to experience vision loss.

Knowledge Transfer Guide
From Research to Practice: A Knowledge Transfer Planning Guide, from the Canadian Health Services Foundation’s Insight and Action Series, offers useful information for professionals involved in the translation of research to practice. The authors recommend practitioners ask themselves: 1) What is the message? 2) Who is the audience? 3) Who is the messenger? 4) What is the transfer method? and 5) What is the expected outcome. Five worksheets offer a step-by-step approach to answering those questions. Information is available at

In the News

National Prevention and Health Promotion Summit
The Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, are requesting abstracts of evidence-based community prevention and health promotion programs for presentation at the 2007 National Prevention and Health Promotion Summit: Creating a Culture of Wellness (the Summit), Nov. 27-29 in Washington, DC. The Summit theme Culture of Wellness embodies health promotion and the prevention of chronic disease and disability by relying upon public health science, policy and practice. Abstracts are due June 11. For more information see

Every Little Bit Can Help
New research indicates that even small amounts of physical activity, approximately 75 minutes a week, can help improve the fitness levels for postmenopausal women who are sedentary and overweight or obese, according to a study in the May 16 issue of JAMA ( Low levels of cardio respiratory fitness are associated with high risk of cardiovascular disease and death, and improvements in fitness are associated with a reduction in these risks. Physical activity habits are the primary determinant of fitness in adults and changes in physical activity result in changes in fitness, according to background information in the article.

Vigorous Lifestyle Keeps Weight in Check
People who maintain a vigorously active lifestyle as they age gain less weight than people who exercise at more moderate levels, according to a first-of-its-kind study that tracked a large group of runners who kept the same exercise regimen as they grew older. The study also found that maintaining exercise with age is particularly effective in preventing extreme weight gain, which is associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other diseases. The research is the latest report from the National Runners' Health Study, a 20-year research initiative that includes more than 120,000 runners. It appears in the May 3 issue of the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise ( Another paper published in the November 2006 issue of the journal Obesity ( found that runners who increased their running mileage gained less weight than those who remained sedentary, and runners that quit running became fatter.

More Active Men at Greater Risk of Falling
Engaging in high-risk activities such as cleaning gutters, pruning trees, or shoveling snow appear to have more to do with the risk of elderly men suffering from falls than leisure-time activities. Reporting in the March 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found that active men are significantly more likely to fall than their more sedentary peers. While there was no association reported between leisure time activity and fall risk, the men who reported spending the most time on household activities were at increased risk of falling compared to those who did the least around the house.

Physical activity fends off depression
Depression affects approximately 121 million people worldwide, and is a leading cause of disability, according to the World Health Organization. A group of 1,169 adults who participated in the Maastricht Aging Study reported their mood, body mass index and levels of smoking, alcohol use and physical exercise. The people who exercised 30 minutes or more per day at the start of the study or engaged in physical activity throughout the six month study were less likely to report depression. The study appeared in the May issue of the American Journal of Public Health available at

Physical activity improves quality of life during menopause
A study that looked at the affect of exercise on relieving menopause symptoms (such as hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, anxiety or emotional instability) found that women who walked or took yoga classes reported a better quality of life and reduced negative effects of menopause compared to the no-exercise group. Whether menopausal symptoms improved or worsened appeared to be determined by increases or decreases in cardio respiratory fitness. Women who experienced decreases in menopausal symptoms also experienced improvements in all positive mental health and quality of life outcomes. The study appeared in the April issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine available at

AoA Strategic Action Plan 2007 - 2012
The Administration on Aging (AoA) has released its Strategic Action Plan for 2007-2012. This Plan continues AoA's focus to bolster the role of the Aging Services Network in long-term care, and gives particular attention to implementing the new provisions in the Older Americans Act that reflect the key principles of Choices for Independence. A full copy of the Plan can be accessed at

Upcoming Events


Older Americans Month. May 2007. Materials are available from the Administration on Aging at

National Bike Month. May 2007. Materials are available from the League of American Bicyclists.

National Men’s Health Week. June 11–17. Materials are available from the Men’s Health Network at

Meetings and Conferences

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

National Health Literacy Institutes. June 10-13. Freeport, ME.

Diversity and Aging in the 21st Century. June 19- 21. Los Angeles, CA.

International Conference on Physical Activity and Obesity Screening in Children. June 24-27. Toronto, Canada.

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

Generations United International Conference. July 24-27. Washington, DC.

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A) 32nd Annual Conference and Tradeshow. July 29 - August 1. San Francisco, CA.

2007 Minority Women's Health Summit. August 23-26. Washington, DC.

The Cooper Institute Conference: Diversity in Physical Activity and Health. October 18-20. Dallas, TX.

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. November 3-7. Washington, DC.

Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting. November 16-20. San Francisco, CA.

National Prevention and Health Promotion Summit. November 27-29. Washington, DC. For information, go to

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

Innovation in Prevention Awards
A component of the HealthierUS initiative, the Innovation in Prevention Awards will identify and celebrate outstanding organizations that have implemented innovative and creative chronic disease prevention and health promotion programs. These awards will provide an opportunity to increase public awareness of creative approaches to develop and expand innovative health programs and duplication of successful strategies. Awardees will be the guest of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at the Innovation in Prevention Awardee Luncheon during the 2007 National Prevention and Health Promotion Summit November 27-29 at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Deadline for submission is June 29. More information is available at

Advancing Public Health Practice and Policy Solutions

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will fund projects that will discover, implement, evaluate, or disseminate practical and replicable solutions related to the following topics: public health laws, regulations or policies; public health advocacy or communications; and engaging hard-to-reach and/or high-risk populations. For information, go to Deadline for application is June 6.

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

Funding Childhood Obesity Initiatives
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will commit at least $500 million over the next five years to fight childhood obesity in the U.S. The Foundation will focus on improving access to affordable healthy foods and opportunities for safe physical activity in schools and communities. It will place special emphasis on reaching children at greatest risk for obesity and related health problems: African-American, Latino, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander children living in low-income communities. Information is available 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: