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

December 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®.

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

OASIS Honored with HHS Award
The OASIS Institute, an Active for Life® grantee, was one of nine organizations to receive the National Innovation and Prevention Award at the U.S. Health & Human Services National Prevention Summit in October. OASIS was recognized for its Active Start program. Active Start adds physical activity classes to the Active Living Every Day program. The program, offered through neighborhood senior centers, is funded through HHS’ Administration on Aging and began in Los Angeles in partnership with the City of Los Angeles Department of Aging, and has since expanded to St. Louis and Indianapolis. For more information, go to

AFL Program Dissemination
Three of the new Administration on Aging Evidence-based Disease Prevention State grantees will be testing Active for Life® programs over the next three years. They include: Ohio, building on the efforts of AFL grantee Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio/Hamilton County General Health District; Maryland, building on the efforts of AFL grantee The Jewish Council on Aging of Greater Washington; New York, where 3,000 mid-life and older adults are being targeted for physical activity programming during the three years. Additionally the OASIS Institute’s AFL efforts will be expanded to Houston with funding through the Houston Endowment, and to Indianapolis.

Grant Report on RWJF Web site
The report In Paradigm Shift, Team Creates a Physical Activity Assessment Tool for Older Adults With the Focus on Tailoring Activity to Individual Needs is available on the Robert Wood Johnson Web site at The report provides a comprehensive overview and analysis of pre-activity screening practices to assess their usefulness and value, as well as the factors that influence the different approaches. The report is based on work done by a team led by AFL director Marcia Ory, PhD, MPH, with AFL Generations program coordinator Kerrie Hora, MS.

Tips, Tactics and Tools

Exercise Can Help Counter Fatigue
A report from Harvard Medical School says that although the underlying cause of persistent fatigue can be hard to identify, that doesn’t mean the fatigue is imaginary. According to Boosting Your Energy, a report from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, fatigue often signals that something is wrong, physically or emotionally. Still, most people—even those being treated for fatigue-producing illnesses—can take steps to boost their energy. One suggestion from experts is to exercise. Exercise almost guarantees more sound sleep. In addition, it causes the body to release hormones that can make people feel more energized. Boosting Your Energy is available for $16 online at or by calling 1-877-649-9457.

Remind Older Adults to Protect Eyes When Outside
Sunglasses protect the eyes from ultraviolet rays and should be worn year-round, optometrists say. “Ultraviolet radiation reaches the earth’s surface, even on cloudy or overcast days,” said Adam Gordon, O.D., a clinical professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry. Snow reflects ultraviolet radiation, so people who spend much time outdoors during the winter are at greater risk of exposure. “Over-exposure to ultraviolet rays causes painful corneal abrasion, which can last for several days to a week,” he said. In addition, accruing scientific evidence links prolonged ultraviolet exposure to cataracts and possibly macular degeneration.

Dog Walking Helps Boost Physical Activity
Data from the 2001 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) was used to determine the contribution of dog walking to regular physical activity among dog walkers. Almost half of the dog walkers in this study obtained at least 30 minutes of walking through bouts of at least 10 minutes each in one day, suggesting that dog walking contributes to a physically active lifestyle. Dog walking is convenient for most dog owners and may provide support and motivation for physical activity in the same way a human buddy system provides support for physical activity. The results are published in Preventing Chronic Disease 3(2):A47, 2006,

New Eat Smart - Play Hard Web Pages
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service launched two Web pages that will help kids and adults put the Dietary Guidelines and My Pyramid recommendations into action. The Eat Smart - Play Hard Web page,, provides kids with interactive learning and skill-building experiences in a virtual community setting, and encourages and motivates them to make better lifestyle choices using kid-friendly, entertaining techniques. The new Healthy Lifestyle Web page,, provides parents and other caregivers with tools for healthy living including low cost menus and recipes that meet the new dietary guidelines.

Help for Those with Limited English Proficiency
Hablamos Juntos eUpdate is an electronic newsletter that focuses on developments in improving patient-provider communication for individuals with limited English proficiency. The information is useful in the development of health materials in languages other than English. For information see

Issue Briefs from ASA
In order to make its Live Well, Live Long materials more accessible to professionals with limited time, the American Society on Aging (ASA) has created a new series of "issue briefs." These condensed discussions of the issues explored at length in the project's online modules are now available as PDF files on the Live Well, Live Long project Web site,

Update of CDC’s 5 A Day Web site
The CDC has updated its 5 A Day Web site (formally the NCI 5 A Day Web site), at This Web site contains information for the consumer and health professional, as well as a section for state fruit and vegetable coordinators. The Web site features a tool in which consumers can determine how many fruits and vegetables they need daily based on their age, sex and activity level. Consumers can then find examples of what a cup and a half cup of fruits and vegetables looks like, as well as helpful tips for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. The recipe database contains over 600 healthy recipes. Health professionals can find research, resources and tools, and information about the 5 A Day program in the For Health Professionals section. This section also contains information for coordinators including the coordinator calendar, upcoming events, and resources.

In the News

Fitness Programming for Older Adults Top Trend
Expanded specialized fitness programming for older adults is one of the American Council on Exercise’s (ACE) top ten trends for 2007. ACE notes in a news release, “A well-balanced fitness program offers many benefits for seniors. It conditions muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones to help fight osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, keeping the body more limber and stabilizing joints to lower the risk of everyday injury and enhance overall quality of life.” See all of ACE’s fitness trends at

A Little Exercise Is Better Than None
Even if people only get a little exercise, they might reap some health benefits, according to Steve Blair, PhD, professor in the Departments of Exercise Science and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Blair is preparing to publish the results of a five-year exercise study involving a group of postmenopausal, moderately hypertensive, sedentary women who were tested at different levels of exercise. “We pretty much know that exercise is good for you, but how much is really required to have any benefit? Is it the public health consensus rate – 30 minutes of moderate intensity five days per week? Well, suppose you do half that. Do you get any benefit? Well, nobody knew,” Blair said. “The women were tested at 50, 100 and 150 percent of the consensus exercise recommendations. The results indicated that even a little exercise goes a long way.” For more information see

The PPET Study: People and Pets Exercising Together
The effectiveness of a weight loss program targeting obese humans and their obese companion dogs was assessed in a one-year prospective, controlled trial. A people and pet group (PP) and a people only group (PO) met separately in small group sessions led by a registered dietician who provided nutrition and physical activity counseling over a one year period. The PP group also participated in activities to build cohesiveness with their pets and to increase self-efficacy for dog walking. Participants in both groups, including the overweight dogs, lost a significant amount of weight from baseline to 12 months and increased time spent in physical activity. There was no significant difference in weight loss between groups. The overweight dogs served as social support for the overweight owners during the intervention. For more information see the October issue of Obesity, 14(10):1762-1770, 2006,

Safe and Effective Exercise Classes for Older Adults
Twenty-five Active Aging Community Task Forces were formed to increase awareness about the benefits of physical activity among older adults and their service providers; to increase the number of older adult exercise classes incorporating resistance exercises; and to increase the number of trained personnel to lead exercise classes. Over a five-year period, 36 workshops to train exercise class instructors were held, 153 new exercise classes for older adults were created, and 81 previously existing classes incorporated resistance exercises. These exercise classes served about 7,200 older adults, who saw improvements in low back/hip range of motion, agility/dynamic balance, leg strength, and upper arm strength. See Evaluation and Program Planning 29(3):242-250, 2006,

Is Exercise or Diet Better to Fight Risk Factors for Diabetes
It’s a toss up, according to a new study by a Saint Louis University researcher who is a member of a Washington University team of scientists examining whether a calorie-restrictive diet can extend people’s lifespan. “Both diet and exercise provides profound benefits to reduce the risk of diabetes. Both those who restrict calories and those who exercise benefit from weight loss,” says Edward Weiss, PhD, lead author and assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University’s Doisy College of Health Sciences. Weiss said the scientists looked at markers for developing diabetes because the disease is one of the main causes of premature death. The study was published in the November issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,

Exercise Can Help Prevent Macular Degeneration
Regular physical exercise can cut the likelihood of developing the degenerative eye disease, age-related macular degeneration, by 70%, suggests research published ahead of print in the British Journal of Ophthalmology. Br J Ophthalmol 2006; doi: 10.1136/bjo.2006.103796

Exercise Has Benefits Over Diet Only Weight Reduction
For older adults who want to shed pounds, exercise may be even more important than cutting calories, new research suggests. In a study of 34 adults in their 50s and 60s, researchers found that both dieters and exercisers lost weight. The exercise group, however, did so while maintaining their muscle mass, strength and fitness levels, whereas dieters showed declines in all these measures. The findings, published in the November 9 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology,, suggests that exercise has added benefits over dieting alone. "Exercise-induced weight loss provides the additional benefit of improving physical performance capacity," lead author Dr. Edward Weiss, of Saint Louis University, said in a statement.

Structured Exercise Delivers Benefits
Regular structured exercise may allow previously sedentary elderly people to attain significant improvements in their physical functioning and reduce the likelihood they will become disabled in the future, according to findings from a multicenter pilot study presented at the Gerontological Society of America's annual meeting in November. The results of the study, known as the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders Pilot (LIFE-P) study, also appear in the November issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences,

Upcoming Events

New Partners for Smart Growth. Feb. 8-10, 2007. Los Angeles, CA. Features cutting-edge smart growth issues, the latest research, implementation tools and strategies, successful case studies, interactive learning experiences, and new partners, projects and policies. For information, go to

Effective Community-Based Physical Activity Programs for Older Adults. Feb. 14-15, 2007. Seattle, WA. The Prevention Research Centers Healthy Aging Research Network is hosting this research-to-practice conference. For information, visit

Active Living Research Conference. Feb. 22-24, 2007 in Coronado, CA. Presentations on perspectives related to economics, crime, culture, etc., and will focus on the prevention of obesity in communities, neighborhoods, children, and families. For information, go to

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

2007 AAHPERD National Convention. March 13-17, 2007. Baltimore, MD. This conference, sponsored by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, features a comprehensive program including programming and events targeted to the distinct populations of the health and physical activity industry.

Funding Opportunities

Resource Centers For Minority Aging Research (RCMAR)
The NIH invites applications from qualified institutions to create or continue RCMAR and the RCMAR Coordinating Center. It is anticipated that approximately $2,740,000 will be available for each RCMAR award in their first year, and that three to five RCMAR awards will be made plus one Coordinating Center.

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:

Civic Ventures Purpose Prize
Civic Ventures has announced the opening of nominations for the 2007 Purpose Prize, a major initiative that invests in Americans over 60 who are leading a new age of social innovation. In its second year, the prize includes five $100,000 investments and ten $10,000 investments in entrepreneurs in the second half of life who are combining their passion, creativity and experience to address issues of social significance. The nomination period will close on February 1, 2007. For information, go to

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.

Stepping On Grant
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced the availability of funding through the Dissemination Research on Fall Prevention: “Stepping On” in a U.S. Community Setting Grant. The deadline for applications is February 23, 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: