The School of Rural Public Health at the Texas A&M Health Science Center                                                        Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Return to AFL home page Contact Us Site Map Search the AFL website
Active for Life - Increasing Physical Activity Levels in Adults Age 50 and Older!
National Program Office
AFL E-Newsletter
AFL Releases
Articles of Interest
News Releases from Other  Organizations

April 2007

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®.

Not a subscriber? To sign up for this free monthly electronic newsletter, send an e-mail to with this message in the body of the e-mail: subscribe AFL E-Newsletter Update your first name your last name.
If you would prefer to NOT receive the AFL E-Newsletter Update, send an e-mail to with this message in the body of the e-mail: unsubscribe AFL E-Newsletter Update with your first and last name.

From the Active for Life® National Program Office

Cornerstone Award
The Active for Life (AFL) program was awarded the Cornerstone Award from the Texas Council on Aging. The award is presented to a public or private organization outside of the aging network that has made a significant contribution to the field of aging on either a local, state, or nationwide level.

AFL Team Walked Across Texas
The Active for Life National Program Office team recently participated in the 2007 Texas Cooperative Extension’s Walk Across Texas event. The eight-member AFL team logged 1,264.85 miles during the eight-week program, which translates to a trek across the state of Texas (830 miles) and about 50 percent of the way back. Now you can get your program participants to participate in a similar event that promotes walking for health and fitness -- the US Department of Health and Human Services WOMAN Challenge. The program is designed to encourage women to get 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days. The kick-off coincides with National Women's Health Week (an annual event) which is May 13-19. Complete details and free registration materials are available online at Participants will receive a pedometer (while quantities last) and tracking log to record their progress throughout the eight weeks. They will also receive weekly motivational e-mails and health tips to help them reach their goal. Women can choose to travel one of six different "virtual" courses across America.

Tips, Tactics and Tools

The State of Aging and Health in America 2007
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with funding from the Merck Company Foundation, has issued State of Aging and Health in America 2007, available online at The document is 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 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. A 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.

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.

ICAA Welcome Back to Fitness Toolkit
The International Council on Active Aging's Welcome Back to Fitness toolkit is designed to help older adults get back into a fitness regime, whether at home, at a club, with a personal trainer, or on their own. The toolkit is available on the ICAA Web site and features topics such as how to get started, age-friendly equipment and physical activities, what to look for in a trainer and questions to ask your doctor before getting started. An age-friendly fitness and wellness facilities locator (United States and Canada) is also available. Go to to view the toolkit.

From Research to Practice: A Knowledge Transfer Planning Guide
Available at, this publication is produced by Canada’s Institute for Work and Health. The guide is organized around five basic principles developed to put the theory of knowledge transfer into 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.

Course on Exercise for People with Diabetes
Physical activity is a lifestyle approach that is successful in preventing or controlling type 2 diabetes. Exercise and Diabetes is a continuing-education course (workbook and audiocassettes) that provides clinically-based information on the disease process along with guidelines for designing an exercise program. ICAA members receive a discount.
More information is available from the International Council on Active Aging (

Core and Stability Exercises for Stroke and Multiple Sclerosis
The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD) offers a new DVD resource, also available on the webshop, for stroke survivors, persons with multiple sclerosis, and/or wheelchair users, as well as rehabilitation centers and fitness centers. The DVD includes Core and Stability Exercises for Stroke Survivors and People with Multiple Sclerosis, as well as How to Prevent Rotator Cuff Injuries for Wheelchair Users, and is a compilation of exercises produced by NCPAD and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. See for information.

Walking Plan
The Arthritis Foundation offers an easy-to-use walking plan, 12-Week Walking Plan, which is suitable for all fitness levels. It is available online at

In the News

10,000 Steps Per Day Intervention
A study in the November-December 2006 issue of the American Journal of Public Health ( found that people who adhered to a 36-week program of 10,000 steps per day realized significant improvements in body weight, BMI, percentage body fat, fat mass, waist and hip circumference, and high density lipoproteins (good cholesterol). For those who completed the intervention but did not adhere to the 10,000 steps per day goal, little or no change was observed for these criteria except that they increased their baseline physical activity levels by about 2,500 steps per day.

Tai Chi Boosts Immune System in Older Adults, UCLA Study Shows
Tai Chi Chih, the westernized version of the 2,000-year-old Chinese martial art characterized by slow movement and meditation, significantly boosts the immune systems of older adults against the virus that leads to the painful, blistery rash known as shingles, according to a UCLA study. The 25-week study, which involved a group of 112 adults ranging in age from 59 to 86, showed that practicing Tai Chi Chih alone boosted immunity to a level comparable to having received the standard vaccine against the shingles-causing varicella zoster virus. When Tai Chi Chih was combined with the vaccine, immunity reached a level normally seen in middle age. The report appears in the April issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (

Group or Individual Exercise Preferences
Older people would rather exercise alone than be surrounded by youthful hard bodies in Spandex, suggests a study that examined how group fitness appeals to people of different ages. The results are a cautionary note about providing the right exercise setting for senior citizens, said University of British Columbia researcher Mark Beauchamp. Researchers found that people of all ages generally prefer to exercise with people their own age -- or they may opt to go it alone. Older people may be intimidated by "the Spandex-clad ideal" seen in some exercise environments. The study is in the April issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine available at

Connecting Exercise to Heart Health
Aerobic exercise is widely recognized to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, but until now, researchers have not fully understood the biological mechanisms behind the effect of exercise on cardiovascular health. Findings of a new study show how exercise decreases inflammation, which reduces the risk of atherosclerosis – fatty build-ups in the arteries – that cause most cases of heart disease. These findings were presented at the American Psychosomatic Society’s Annual Meeting, held in March.

Physical Activity and Menopause
Women who engage in physical activities like walking and yoga may be able to reduce some of the physical and emotional problems that can come with menopause, according to researchers reporting in the April issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine (

Walkable Communities
Safe, pleasant neighborhoods that provide opportunities for recreation may promote increased physical activity and reduced loneliness in older adults, according to a study presented at the Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions in March. Contrary to expectations, total physical activity was highest for suburban participants and was indirectly associated with fewer neighborhood incivilities (e.g., boarded up buildings, graffiti, etc.), which in turn were related to higher perceived safety from crime and higher activity levels, particularly home-based activity such as house and yard work. Less loneliness was associated with the presence of neighborhood features promoting social cohesion such as neighborhood watch signs, and fewer indicators of territoriality (e.g., window security bars and high fences).

Physical Activity Doesn’t Contribute to Risk of Knee Arthritis
Studies have shown that resistance training can slow lower-extremity strength loss in people with knee osteoarthritis, and that a planned program of strength, aerobic, and flexibility exercises improves self-efficacy for exercise and minutes per week of exercise and reduces lower-extremity stiffness. A study, reported in the February issue of Arthritis Care & Research (, used a combination of questions and knee X-rays to gather information on levels of physical activity and knee symptoms such as pain, aching or stiffness. After nine years, participants were reexamined. There was no relationship between recreational walking, jogging or other self-reported activity and the development of knee osteoarthritis. Although overweight people had an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis, physical activity did not contribute to this risk.

Exercise Protects Against Breast Cancer
Six or more hours per week of strenuous recreational activity may reduce the risks of invasive breast cancer by 23 percent, according to researchers from the University of Wisconsin Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center. Their report in the February issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention ( shows that exercise has a protective effect against invasive breast cancer throughout a woman's lifetime.

Bicep curls don’t just tone your arms
A new study has found that a brief session of muscle-building exercise before receiving a flu shot can enhance a person’s immune response. These findings help confirm an earlier study, which showed for the first time that the acute stress of exercise can increase antibody production in humans. The new study appeared in the February issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity (

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.

Women’s Health Week. May 13–19. Materials are available from the National Women’s Health Information Center.

National Employee Health & Fitness Day. May 16. Materials are available from the National Association for Health & Fitness.

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

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




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: