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

Previous Newsletters

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

Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging
The Active for Life® Learning Network is participating in the development of a national pilot program, Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging, to recognize communities that factor into community planning environmental considerations and the need for older adults to be physically active. The program is spearheaded by the EPA's Aging Initiative in partnership with the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Council on Aging's Center for Healthy Aging, the National Blueprint Office, and Active for Life. For details, go to

Active for Life Featured at Aging Network Meetings
Active for Life director Marcia G. Ory, Ph.D., MPH spoke at the Division of Community Health on International Perspectives on Research Translation, in St. Johns, Newfoundland, September 11-13. She presented Active for Life as a case study. While in Canada, she met with Newfoundland provincial government officials to learn about their Healthy Aging Framework, which addresses aging in rural communities.

On September 26, she participated in the International Council on Active Aging Strategy Session 2006: Moving Forward: Setting the Agenda for Active Aging.

Dr. Ory also recently participated as a member of a panel on healthy aging at the Council of State Governments (CSG) Chronic Disease Summit held in San Francisco. In follow-up, the CSG is working on an article on exercise and older adults, which will include information about Active for Life. The article will be featured in an upcoming edition of State News.

In October, Dr. Ory participated in the final meeting of the National Institute on Aging’s Task Force on Aging and Physical Activity. This advisory group is providing counsel to the National Institute for updating its Exercise Guide which is directed toward helping older adults know the importance of physical activity, identify specific exercises that can improve health and functioning, and understand how to get and stay motivated with an exercise regimen. For a copy of the current booklet see

Friday the 13th Lucky Day for SW Ohio AFL Participants
The Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio is holding a celebration event for an expected 250 AFL participants on October 13, 2006. Participants will have the opportunity to sample new activities and share individual and program successes. NPO deputy director Diane Dowdy, Ph.D. and marketing director Brigid Sanner will be guests at the event.

Trails and Health Initiatives Needs Input
The National Recreation and Park Association is looking for communities that have anecdotal evidence of the health and trail connection as well as those that are planning trails from the health standpoint. Please forward information to

Tips, Tactics and Tools

Getting Communities on Track for an Aging Population
To help cities and counties better meet the needs of their aging population, and to harness the experience and talent of their older citizens, five national organizations joined forces to identify ways to prepare for the aging of this population. Known as The Maturing of America -Getting Communities on Track for an Aging Population, the project is being led by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, in partnership with the International City/County Management Association, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities and Partners for Livable Communities. The initiative is funded by a grant from MetLife Foundation. For a copy of their report and recommendations, go to

CDC Healthier Worksite Initiative
This Web site was designed as a resource for Worksite Health Program (WHP) planners in state and federal government. Planners at non-government workplaces will also find this site useful in generating ideas. The site features time-saving planning information, policy examples, step-by-step toolkits, and other quick resources to assist federal and state wellness planners develop programs that foster healthy lifestyles among employees. For information, go to

2006 "Your Candidates-Your Health" Voter Guide
Health educators can access political candidates’ views on health, medical and scientific research. Research! America and the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation are launching the first national voter education initiative. All candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate are being invited to participate in the guide. Candidates' responses are available at Fourteen years of Research!America opinion polling on issues related to medical, health and scientific research have shown that Americans place a high value on our nation's global leadership in research. However, only nine percent say they are well informed about their elected officials' positions on these issues.

Database Highlights Accessible Programs
The National Center for Physical Activity and Disability has a searchable database that lists programs accessible to a variety of audiences, including older adults, people with disabilities, and those with chronic diseases. The NCPAD programs database can be part of your marketing plan – for example, if your program is designed specifically for older adults and has open enrollment, this information can be added to the NCPAD database. Go to for details.

Getting Outdoors Can Help Beat Autumn Blues
Colgate University assistant director of counseling and psychological services Dawn LaFrance offers suggestions for overcoming what she calls the “autumn blues.” These tips might be especially helpful for older adults.

  • Be serious about leisure. Find an outdoor activity that makes you look forward to cooler weather, like hiking or walking.
  • Resist the temptation to hunker down indoors. Get out of the house as much as possible, even just meeting friends for lunch.

Framework for Program Evaluation
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed a Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health, a six-step process to guide you through all phases of an evaluation:

  1. Clarify who your key stakeholders are.
  2. Clarify your program’s activities and goals.
  3. Determine what the primary purpose of the evaluation is, what to evaluate, and what methods to use.
  4. Decide how to collect data that are high-quality, feasible to gather, and minimally burdensome on respondents.
  5. Analyze the findings and compare your results with agreed-upon values or standards.
  6. Promote maximum use of the findings by providing feedback to stakeholders and sharing recommendations and reports.

In the News

Exercise Started Later In Life Still Shows Benefits
People who start exercising later in life can still significantly cut their chances of developing coronary artery disease, suggests a study in the British journal Heart. The authors note that those who had been active all their lives were around 60 percent less likely to be diagnosed with coronary heart disease. But those who became very physically active after the age of 40 were around 55 percent less likely to be diagnosed with heart disease than those who had embraced inactivity all their lives. The authors conclude that while optimal health is likely to be enjoyed by those who exercise all their lives, it isnot too late to start. For more information see

Message to Older Adults: Embrace, Don’t Fear the Effects of Sensible Exercise
A Johns Hopkins study should ease the concerns held by many older adults with mild high blood pressure about the strain or harm exercise could cause their hearts. Results of the research on 104 men and women age 55 to 75 showed that a moderate program of physical exertion had no ill effects on the heart's ability to pump blood nor does it produce a harmful increase in heart size. The study appeared in the July 2006 issue of the journal Heart.

Walking Can Help Control Blood Pressure
Three or four short, brisk walks throughout the day can be more helpful to people watching their blood pressure than one continuous bout of exercise, Indiana University researchers report. Researchers compared the effect of accumulated versus continuous physical activity on pre-hypertension, an elevated blood pressure level that typically progresses to hypertension or high blood pressure. The study found that both forms of exercise, accumulated and continuous, decreased study participants' blood pressure by the same amount. The effect lasted for about 11 hours in the group who took four 10-minute walks, compared to seven hours for the group that walked continuously for 40 minutes.

The findings appear in the September 2006 issue of the Journal of Hypertension.

A Serving of Exercise After That Saturated Fat
Indiana University researchers found that physical activity two hours after a high-fat meal not only reverses the arterial dysfunction caused by fatty foods but improves the function of these same arteries compared to before the meal. The article, "The effect of acute exercise on endothelial function following a high-fat meal," can be found at It appeared in the September 2006 issue of European Journal of Applied Physiology.

Gradient of Disability Linked to Household Income
Low-income adults ages 55-84 are far more likely than their wealthier peers to feel limited in doing basic physical activities such as climbing stairs and lifting objects, according to a new study published in the August 17, 2006 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. The study shows that people 55-64 living below the poverty line are six times more likely than the wealthiest group of individuals to say they have functional limitations.

Upcoming Events

Parks, Recreation, and Public Health: Collaborative Frameworks for Promoting Physical Activity, Cooper Institute Series. Oct. 26–28, 2006. Dallas, TX. For information go to

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. Nov. 4-8, 2006. Boston, MA. For more details, visit the Web site at

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

Gerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Meeting. Nov. 16-20, 2006. Dallas, TX. Information is available at

Choices for Independence National Leadership Summit. Dec. 5-6, 2006. Washington, D.C. At the Summit, AoA, the Aging Network, and other Federal, State, Tribal, and local leaders will engage in a peer-to-peer exchange of best practices, strategies, and tools for helping older people remain healthy and independent. For information see

NCOA-ASA Joint Conference. March 7-10, 2007. Chicago, IL. This conference will feature over 900 sessions covering a diverse range of topics in aging. For details, go to

Funding Opportunities

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:

Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars Program
Designed to build the United States' capacity for research, leadership, and action to address a broad range of factors that affect health, the program supports up to 18 outstanding individuals who have completed doctoral training to engage in an intensive two-year interdisciplinary program in population health at one of six nationally prominent universities. For information see
Deadline: October 13, 2006.

National Gardening Association 24th Annual Youth Garden Grant Program
The National Gardening Association and Home Depot are funding the 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. Applicants should demonstrate a child-centered plan that emphasizes children/youth learning and working in an outdoor garden. Information is available at
Deadline: November 1, 2006.

Senior Risk Reduction Demonstration
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a solicitation to implement a health promotion and disease prevention program through the Medicare Senior Risk Reduction Demonstration. Up to five existing health promotion, disease prevention, and risk reduction organizations will be selected to participate in this three-year demonstration. Information on the RFP can be found at
Deadline: November 21, 2006.

AmeriCorps National Education Award Program
Funding is available for projects that address one or a combination of initiatives that address community needs, including harnessing the experiences of baby boomers. For information see
Deadline: February 15, 2007.




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: