The School of Rural Public Health at the Texas A&M University System Health Science Center                          Funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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Active for Life - Increasing Physical Activity Levels in Adults Age 50 and Older!
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August 2006

Previous Newsletters

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

  • Terry Bazzarre, Ph.D., Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) senior program officer, recently visited the Active for Life® National Program Office (AFL NPO) site on the campus of Texas A&M University. Terry met with AFL staff, and also had an opportunity to meet with the Dean of the School of Rural Public Health (SRPH), and to address members of the SRPH faculty and staff.
  • Marcia Ory, Ph.D., MPH, director of the AFL NPO, participated with other aging network leaders in the National Council on the Aging Capturing the Momentum meeting held in Washington, D.C. Successes in the aging field were discussed, and future directions and strategies to promote evidence-based programs on healthy aging were addressed.
  • The Texas Public Health Training Center hosted a Rural Public Health Interest Group conference call. Kerrie Hora, program manager for the Active For Life Generations project, spoke on the topic of aging.
  • AFL grantees are preparing for the Fifth Annual Grantee Meeting, September 19-21, at the Basin Harbor Club in Vergennes, VT. The meeting will focus on third year program data and sustainability issues. Following the grantee meeting, a number of participants will remain for a meeting related to the Active for Life® Generations project. The “Generations” initiative is a RWJF synergy pilot project administered through the Active for Life National Program Office. Hamilton County General Health District, working with Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio; FirstHealth of the Carolinas; The OASIS Institute, San Antonio; and City of Berkeley Public Health Division, a partner of San Mateo County Health Department, have received funding to include intergenerational efforts to prevent and/or reduce childhood obesity by changing policies and environments.
  • AFL deputy director Diane Dowdy, Ph.D., took part in a meeting with fellow RWJF Active Living grantee deputy directors to discuss opportunities for future collaboration.

Upcoming Events

Pro Walk/Pro Bike Conference. Sept. 5-8, 2006. Madison, WI. Sponsored by the National Center for Bicycling & Walking, the theme is Making Connections. 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.

ICAA Regional Meeting. Sept. 29, 2006. New York, NY. This event features active aging industry speakers addressing trends and ways to build and maintain an age-friendly staff. To register for this event call 866-335-9777.

Active Aging Week, the last week of September 2006 (Oct. 1 International Day of Older Persons). For free professional resources and more information on how to host an event, click on the following link:

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

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

Tips, Tactics and Tools

Materials to Promote Active Aging Week
The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) has free materials available to help plan Active Aging Week events (Sept. 25 - Oct. 1, 2006). The goal of the annual event is to introduce older adults to physical activity and exercise options. ICAA materials, available at, include planning guides, posters and certificates of participation, news releases, ideas for activities, activity tools, and a list of frequently asked questions.

Consumers Nutrition Brochure
Your Personal Path to Health: Steps to a Healthier You is a new brochure developed cooperatively by U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food Marketing Institute, and the International Food Information Council Foundation. It helps consumers understand MyPyramid by providing practical tips on how to bring the recommendations into their everyday lives. Keeping in step with the main focus of MyPyramid, the brochure focuses on the individual and his or her personal needs. An easy reference that breaks down recommended servings for the average man and woman is included. The publication can be accessed and downloaded at

News from the Center
News from the Center is an electronic newsletter from the Center for Healthy Aging. It is designed to engage, educate, and energize aging service providers on evidence-based health promotion programming. It features recent publications and highlights demonstrations and upcoming conferences, and provides information and links to resources, including toolkits and manuals. For a copy and subscribing information go to

Land Use and Health Toolbox: Resources on Health and the Built Environment
The National Association of City and County Health Officials has assembled fact sheets, guides, PowerPoint presentations, Web casts, policy reports, and other resources to assist health practitioners, elected officials, and community planners make the connection between public health, community design and the built environment. The materials are available at

Key Indicators
Older Americans Update 2006: Key Indicators of Well-Being was recently released by the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. The report provides updated information on a variety of topics, including labor force participation, leading causes of death, health care use, and other important areas. Supporting data for each indicator, including complete tables, PowerPoint slides, and data source descriptions are available online. Information can be downloaded at

Free Online Statistics Resource
The Silver Book: Chronic Disease and Medical Innovation in an Aging Nation is a new free, online resource that brings together statistics, graphs, and important information about the burden of chronic disease on an aging nation. It was released this past spring by the Alliance for Aging Research. The searchable database has more than 500 facts and statistics from more than 150 sources and it is constantly updated. Presentation slides can be downloaded for much of the data. For details, go to

Health Statistics Report
Released in Aug. 2006, the Summary Health Statistics for the U.S. Population is one in a set of reports summarizing data from the 2004 National Health Interview Survey, a multi-purpose health survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. This report, which includes information on older populations, provides national estimates for a broad range of health measures for the U.S. civilian non-institutionalized population. Details are available at

In the News

Mid-life Physical Activity and Old-Age Mobility
Loss of mobility is a major concern for older adults. But researchers report in the Sept. 2006 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that adults who are physically active in their 30s, 40s, and 50s realize beneficial effects well into the future. These benefits include maintaining the ability to walk and perform routine daily functions. Researchers found that people with higher levels of physical activity in mid-life were significantly more likely to achieve a higher Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) than those who had been less active. And they were significantly less likely to fail the 400-meter walk test compared with less active adults. For more information, go to

Fewer Exercise Options in Lower-Income Neighborhoods
Lower-income neighborhoods and those with higher proportions of racial minorities are less likely to have gyms, sports clubs, dance studios and public golf courses, notes a study in the September 2006 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. Researchers used Census Bureau population and socio-economic status data to examine the availability of the four types of physical activity outlets among a population of more than 280 million people living in 28,050 zip codes with 52,751 available physical activity-related outlets in the year 2000. The study found lower-income neighborhoods and those with higher proportions of racial minorities are less likely to have any commercial physical activity-related facilities and fewer overall numbers of such facilities than more affluent and predominantly white neighborhoods. The study’s authors said a lack of such facilities could be one factor contributing to the lower levels of physical activity reported among minorities and the poor.

Community-Based Exercise Program
Results of a study that examined the effectiveness of participation in EnhanceFitness (formerly the Lifetime Fitness Program) are reported in the August 2006 issue of the Journal of Applied Gerontology. Authors of The Effects of a Community-Based Exercise Program on Function and Health in Older Adults: The EnhanceFitness Program note that improvements were observed at four and eight month measures on performance tests of participants, while participants' self-rating of health improved at eight months. An abstract is available at

Positive Results of Strength Training
Findings from scientific studies funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University showed that in a group of volunteers with osteoarthritis, muscle strength increased by 14 percent and balance improved by 55 percent after a 12-week strength-training program. Flexibility also improved by 17 percent, and pain, based on self reports, decreased by 30 percent.

Beliefs About Exercise
Even though appropriate exercise can help relieve the symptoms of arthritis, people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis may not engage in activity. Based on a series of 12 focus groups, researchers identified several barriers to exercise. These included pain, a belief individuals were unable to exercise, lack of physician recommendations to exercise, lack of available exercise programs, and lack of understanding of exercise's ability to improve symptoms. Based on the findings, researchers recommend that physicians routinely prescribe exercise, communities increase the availability of arthritis-specific exercise programs, and health care professionals emphasize ways in which individuals with arthritis can modify exercise to accommodate their physical limitations and effectively manage pain. The study was published in the August 2006 issue of Arthritis Care and Research.

Reducing Abdominal Fat Cells and Exercise
Exercise, added to calorie reduction, can help reduce abdominal fat cells in women, according to research presented in the August 2006 issue of the International Journal of Obesity. Excessive abdominal fat is a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease. The research subjects were divided into three groups. One that had calorie reduction only, one that engaged in low-intensity exercise and calorie reduction, and one that engaged in high-intensity exercise and calorie reduction. Both exercise groups showed a reduction in both body weight and abdominal fat, while the group that had only calorie reduction saw body weight reduction, but no change in abdominal fat. For more information see

Exercise May Sustain Mental Activity
Based on a review of studies on exercise and its effect on brain function, researchers find that physical activity may slow the effects of aging and help people maintain cognitive abilities well into older age. Fitness training - an increased level of exercise - may improve some mental processes even more than moderate activity. The findings were presented at the 114th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association. A news release on the study is available at

More Women Pumping Up
Women are pumping more iron, with nearly 1 in 5 doing twice-a-week workouts, a new federal study shows. The desire for a more attractive body, along with worries about bone loss, probably contributes to the trend, experts said. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did the research, which is the first to look at the national prevalence of weightlifting and other forms of strength-training. It was published in the October 8, 2006 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The study found an overall increase in weightlifting and other forms of strength-training. In 2004, about 20 percent of U.S. adults were doing strength-training at least twice a week, up slightly from the late 1990s, when about 18 percent of adults were. Women improved the most: About 17.5 percent did twice-a-week workouts in 2004, up from about 14.5 percent in 1998. Men, in contrast, held steady at around 21.5 percent.

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:

Women's Sports Foundation RYKA Women's Fitness Grants Program
Funding is available to support programs that enhance women's lives through health and fitness. For an application form, go to Deadline: September 8, 2006.

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.

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: