The School of Rural Public Health at the Texas A&M 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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December 2008

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

Evaluation of Evidence-Based Programs for Seniors
The U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) recently awarded AFL Director Marcia Ory, PhD, MPH, a $900,000 grant to develop a nationwide evaluation of evidence-based programs for seniors. The three-year evaluation will provide the AoA with a recommended plan to use in collaboration with the National Association of State Units on Aging, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and aging services provider organizations throughout the country. These activities will be coordinated with the Healthy Aging Research Network, a public health and aging research network supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Texas Obesity Health Policy Forum
Dr. Ory addressed the Texas Obesity Health Policy Forum in early December, providing an update on the Texas Childhood Obesity Prevention Policy Evaluation Project. The forum objectives were to increase awareness about the impact of obesity on Texas business, present the latest FitnessGram data from the Texas Education Agency, share a preview of forthcoming projections of obesity prevalence in Texas through 2040, provide an update of the new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded research project on Safe Routes to School and WIC, and host a discussion about policy recommendations.

Roadmap Project Meeting
AFL Deputy Director Diane Dowdy, PhD and Kerrie Horra of FirstHealth of the Carolinas, an AFL grantee organization, recently participated in a National Center for Bicycling and Walking (NCBW) Roadmap Project meeting. As part of its Active Living Resource Center, NCBW is creating a roadmap both to encourage communities to become more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly and to provide them with the technical assistance to do so. More information is available at

Tips, Tactics and Tools

Enewsletter from NIA
Spotlight on Aging Research (SOAR): News and Notes from the National Institute on Aging ( offers the research community, aging services providers, health care professionals, policy makers, media, and others information about National Institute on Aging programs, people, and achievements. Subscription to the electronic publication is free.

NCOA Issue Briefs
National Council on Aging (NCOA) Healthy Aging Community offers professionals and consumers a myriad of resources related to healthy aging, including a comprehensive series of issue briefs that can be downloaded for free at ( The briefs include:

Best Practices in Physical Activity
Designing Safe and Effective Physical Activity Programs
Keeping Current on Research and Practice in Physical Activity for Older Adults
Maintaining Participation of Older Adults in Community-Based Physical Activity Programs
Motivating Participants to Be More Physically Active
Recruiting and Retaining Effective Instructors for Physical Activity Programs
Recruiting Older Adults Into Your Physical Activity Programs

Active Living Videos
The Active Living Resource Center offers free downloadable videos on community assessment, safe routes to school, and barriers to walking. These can be used to assist in public awareness programs, as well as to educate community leaders. Please go to

In the News

Exercise Helps Alzheimer’s Patients
According to research published in the October issue of the International Journal of Sports Medicine (, a 12-week exercise program was effective in increasing strength, flexibility, mobility and coordination among nursing home patients with Alzheimer's disease. The researchers suggest that exercise training should be considered as part of the care of Alzheimer’s patients in nursing homes.

Tai Chi Improves Arthritis Symptoms
Researchers reporting at a recent meeting of the American College of Rheumatology noted that tai chi can help reduce pain and physical impairment in people who have knee arthritis. Tai chi also helps older adults improve balance and flexibility.

Evidence-Based Interventions are Cost Effective
Community-based physical activity interventions designed to promote more active lifestyles among adults are cost-effective in reducing heart disease, stroke, colorectal and breast cancers, and type 2 diabetes, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Using a rigorous economic model developed to assess the cost-effectiveness of community-based physical activity interventions, the study found these interventions to be cost-effective; reducing new cases of many chronic diseases and improving quality of life. The full study is available by sending a request to

Exercise Helps Physical Functioning
Physical activity, including cardiovascular exercise and strength training, has been shown to help improve the physical functioning of older adults, according to research published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (

Exercise Counseling May Keep Seniors Going
Reporting in the December issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (, researchers report that a single session of counseling on physical activity with quarterly follow-up calls can help older people avoid disability. The researchers found that older adults who received counseling became more physically active. Thirty-eight percent of people in the intervention group became more active, while 16 percent decreased their activity, compared to 32 percent and 22 percent for the control group.

Upcoming Events


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. January 19, 2009

January is National Thyroid Awareness Month. Sponsored by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Sponsored by the Glaucoma Research Foundation.

January is National Blood Donor Month. Sponsored by the American Association of Blood Banks.

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. Sponsored by the National Cervical Cancer Coalition.

Meetings and Conferences

American College of Preventive Medicine Annual Conference. February 11-14, 2009. Los Angeles, CA.

National Conference on Chronic Disease Prevention & Control. February 23-25, 2009. Washington, DC.

National Council on Aging-American Society on Aging Aging in America Conference. March 15-19, 2009. Las Vegas, NV.

American College of Sports Medicine Annual Health & Fitness Summit. March 25-28, 2008. Atlanta, GA.

American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting. May 27-30, 2008. Seattle, WA.

Funding Opportunities

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is providing support for community initiatives that will increase opportunities for physical activity and improve access to affordable healthy foods for children and families. Approximately 60 grants for Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities sites will be awarded. Each will receive up to $360,000 total for four years. All grantees must secure a cash and/or in-kind match equal to at least 50 percent of the RWJF award over the entire grant period. More information on match requirements is provided at Deadline for application is Feb. 3.

Salud America!
Salud America! is a national program of the RWJF that supports research on environmental and policy solutions to the epidemic of obesity among Latino children. The program also aims to develop a network of researchers whose findings will help identify the most promising obesity-prevention strategies specifically tailored for Latino communities. Investigators must propose a project in one of two general areas: 1) research that has strong potential to inform policy; or 2) the evaluation of an existing policy or program, its implementation or its impact. For information, please visit The deadline is Feb. 6.

Champions for Healthy Kids Grants
A partnership of the General Mills Foundation, the American Dietetic Association Foundation and the President's Challenge is offering 50 grants of $10,000 each, to be made to schools, community groups, and other nonprofit organizations with innovative programs aimed at improving the nutrition and activity habits of young people. For more information, please visit The deadline is Jan. 15.

Ladder to Leadership
A collaborative initiative of the RWJF and the Center for Creative Leadership, this funding initiative is designed to enhance the leadership capacity of community-based nonprofit health organizations serving vulnerable populations. Ladder to Leadership focuses on developing critical leadership competencies for early- to mid-career professionals through a 16-month leadership development curriculum. The program will be delivered in nine priority communities on a staggered schedule over the next four years. Up to 30 fellows will be selected to participate in the program in each of nine targeted communities across the U.S.: Central NY; Cleveland, OH; Birmingham, AL; Albuquerque, NM; Eastern NC; Portland, OR.; Mid-South Region (Western TN, Eastern AR, and Northern MS); NJ (specific site/region to be determined); and Starr County, TX. For more information, please visit






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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: