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From the Active for Life® National Program Office
January 2005

Previous Newsletters

From the Active for Life Program Office
Upcoming Events
Tips, Tactics and Tools
In the News
Funding Opportunities

A Healthy & Prosperous New Year to You!

The first of the new year is traditionally a time for reflection and the promise of successful new year resolutions. Getting more active is one of the more frequent resolutions made by young and old alike. We recently asked a number of Active for Life participants how they stay motivated to keep with their physical activity programs. We’d like to share some of their ideas, which can prove helpful in encouraging adults to get and remain active.

  • Wanting to please their “coach” or person who helps them was a common response. Health and fitness professionals can have a significant positive influence through supportive encouragement.
  • Support from family and friends was another common thread of input from AFL participants. They found that when family members and friends cheered them on they kept with their programs because they didn’t want to let people down.
  • Meeting and spending time with friends also played a role in motivation. Mid-life and older adults commented that they found the opportunity to meet new friends through activity or spend time with folks they knew to be a positive htmlect of their activity programs and helped them keep at it.
  • Reaching personal goals was another motivator. Once the AFL participants set activity goals, they found they could better stay on track and stick with their programs. Their goals ranged from wanting to lose weight, to wanting to be more mobile, to management of arthritis.
  • “Self talk” also played a big role. Like most adults, there are times when the mature group members simply find it hard to get up and get started. They rely on internal focus, telling themselves they need to get moving and reminding themselves how good they will feel once they start moving.

Upcoming Events

February 16-20, 2005
. Preventive Medicine 2005. American College of Preventive Medicine. To be held in Washington, D.C. DC will serve as a national forum for physicians and healthcare professionals with an interest in preventive medicine.

March 10-13, 2005. American Society on Aging and the National Council on the Aging Joint Conference to be held in Philadelphia, PA. The conference will feature over 800 sessions covering a diverse range of “aging” topics. Innovative programs, policy discussion and advocacy, and cutting-edge research findings will be highlighted.

April 12-16, 2005. American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance National Convention and Exposition. Chicago, IL. For more information, see

April 13-16, 2005. The Society for Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions will be held at the Marriott Copley Place Hotel, Boston, MA.

June 1-4, 2005. The American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting will take place in Nashville, TN. The program includes research presentations, current issues, tutorials, clinical lectures and clinical workshops.

Health Observances for 2005

As you plan promotion, program and media activities for the new year, you may want to incorporate information related to, or leverage relationships with, the following organizations. Their information offers opportunities to tie-in with messages related to physical activity and mature adults. Those observances highlighted in red might be of special interest.

Tips, Tactics and Tools

America on the Move

America On the Move is a national initiative dedicated to helping individuals and communities across our nation make positive changes to improve health and quality of life. By focusing on individuals and communities AOM strives to support healthy eating and active living habits in our society. Anyone can access AOM through The Web site gives access to fun goal-setting, tracking and logging tools for physical activity.

Online Research Tools

AGELINE: AgeLine, the world’s largest bibliographical database on aging, now has available aging-related doctoral dissertation abstracts from 1999 onward. AgeLine also includes abstracts of more than 600 current journals as well as books, chapters, reports, videos, and other publications. AgeLine is now available at no cost on the AARP Web site.

GOOGLE: The world's premier Web search engine, Google, now offers a research tool designed explicitly for scholarly investigators. "Google Scholar" permits full-text access to numerous academic publications using the powerful search technique familiar to many of us. These include scholarly literature such as peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports. Google Scholar is available without charge in its Beta Test version at

Taking Responsibility

Common reasons for inactivity and poor eating habits are “I don’t have time”, “I’m too busy” and “It’s too difficult.” The July/August issue of Health Promotion Practitioner offered some good counters to these frequently heard excuses.

  • You have all the time there is. You just have to decide how you want to spend your time.
  • Make a list of your priorities. If daily physical activity is near the top, do it before you go to other items on the list.
  • Any new habit is challenging at first. Consider making commitments for short time periods – for a week, then another.
  • Remind clients and patients to resist the temptation to blame their busy schedule or someone else.

Take the Stairs Please

The CDC’s Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity recently conducted a study to see if making physical changes to a stairwell in the Atlanta-based Koger Center Rhodes Building, combined with music and motivational signs would motivate employees to use the stairs. A four-stage passive intervention was implemented that included painting and carpeting, framed artwork, motivational signs, and music. Infrared beams were used to track the number of stair users. "StairWELL to Better Health" was a low-cost intervention (less than $16,000*), and the data suggest that physical improvements, motivational signs, and music increase physical activity among building occupants. Information, focus group reports, and tools to incorporate similar changes are available at

Get Involved in Walkable Communities

Health promoters can get involved and support the movement toward more walkable communities by checking out the National Safety Council’s How Walkable is your Community checklist. It is a good tool that clients and patients can use to see how walkable their neighborhood is.

The Cost of Inactivity and Obesity

Inactivity costs $670 - $1125/person annually. If the more than 88 million inactive Americans over age 15 were to increase regular moderate physical activity, annual healthcare costs might be reduced by as much as $76.6 billion. Obesity costs employers more than $12 billion each year in higher healthcare utilization/benefit claims, lower productivity, and increased absenteeism. Walking offers distinct advantages for those who do it and the organizations that promote it. Walking:

  • Has a clear, positive impact on health;
  • Is an inexpensive program to implement;
  • Encourages high participation among all age groups;
  • Becomes a stepping-stone to other forms of exercise; and
  • Burns about the same number of calories per mile as running

For more information and a copy of Walking: The Health and Economic Impact see

In the News

Physical Fitness Linked to Fewer Doctor Visits

Physically fit men visited their doctors less frequently and had fewer overnight hospital stays, according to a long-term study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Researchers compared the cardio respiratory fitness level to the incidence of medical treatments in 6,679 healthy men. Study participants who improved their fitness had a reduction in overnight hospital stays.

More About Bones

Did you know that two-thirds of your bone is composed of calcium? Here are the recommended dietary allowances (in milligrams per day) for calcium for various individuals:

  • 18-50 years: 800 mg
  • pregnant or lactating women: 1,600 mg for mothers under age 19; 1,200 mg for mothers over age 19
  • women over 50: 1,000¬ - 1,500 mg
  • men and women over 60: 1,000 - ¬1,500 mg

Vitamin D is necessary to help metabolize calcium. The best source of vitamin D is the sun, but fortified milk products offer the same benefit without the risk of skin damage. Other good sources are nuts, seeds, beans and peas; fish with bones; and green vegetables.

Weight-bearing exercises can help prevent bone loss and may encourage bone growth. Specific exercises to twist, bend, stretch and compress bones are needed to strengthen the common sites at risk: the upper arm at the shoulder, the forearm at the wrist, the thigh bone at the hip, and the spine. This process is known as ''bone loading.'' Bone-loading exercise and a balanced diet are important components for preventing osteoporosis. For more information, see

Funding Opportunities

Community Participation in Research (PAR)

Deadline for Applications: May 17, 2005, 2006, 2007. The goal of this PAR is to support research on health promotion, disease prevention, and health disparities that is jointly conducted by communities and researchers. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is defined as scientific inquiry conducted in communities and in partnership with researchers. The process of scientific inquiry is such that community members, persons affected by the health condition, disability or issue under study, or other key stakeholders in the community's health have the opportunity to be full participants in each phase of the work (from conception - design - conduct - analysis - interpretation - conclusions - communication of results). CBPR is characterized by substantial community input in the development of the grant application.

Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program

Deadline for Applications: January 7, 2005. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation established the Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program at Howard University to help expand the pool of students of color interested in the field of health policy. The program brings talented Latino, African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native college seniors and recent graduates to Washington, D.C., where they work in congressional offices and learn about health policy. Through the nine-week program (May 24 - July 29, 2005), scholars gain knowledge about federal legislative procedure and health policy issues, while further developing their critical thinking and leadership skills. Eligible candidates must be U.S. citizens who are members of a racial/ethnic minority group and will be seniors or recent graduates of an accredited U.S. college or university in the fall of 2005. Scholars receive approximately $5,000 in support, which includes a stipend of $1,500 upon completion of the program; a daily expense allowance for meals and local transportation; transportation/airfare to and from Washington, D.C.; and lodging at Howard University.

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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