From the Active for
Life® National Program Office
the Active for Life Program Office
Tactics and Tools
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
- “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.
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
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 http://www.aahperd.org.
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. http://www.acsm.org/meetings/annualmeeting.htm.
Health Observances for
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.
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 http://www.americaonthemove.org.
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. http://www.aarp.org/ageline.
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
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
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
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. http://www.nsc.org/walk/wkcheck.htm.
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
- 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 http://www.walktober.com.
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. www.acsm.org
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
- women over 50: 1,000¬ - 1,500
- men and women over 60: 1,000 -
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
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 http://www.acefitness.org/fitfacts/fitfacts_display.cfm?itemid=39.
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. http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-05-026.html#SectionIV.
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.
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