the Active for Life Program Office
Tactics and Tools
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
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the Active for Life® National Program Office
Sage advice for
the New Year
This is the time of year for reflection, notes
Marcia Ory, Ph.D., director of the Active for Life®
program. In an interview with the Eagle, a local College
Station newspaper, she offered this advice which professionals
working in the field of aging might find valuable for their
clients and patients. "When people make their New Year's
resolutions, they should have goals. What would you like
to do this year? Walk to school with your grandchild? Dance
at your grandchild's wedding? Start a program that will
help you reach those goals." Dr. Ory goes on to say,
"A lot of people used to think that when you get old,
it doesn't matter what you do. But we're finding that is
not true. The number one thing people can do is be sure
they get enough physical activity. I'm not talking about
going to the gym or playing basketball. Something as simple
as walking around the neighborhood, or gardening, or golf
can be valuable. Pick something you enjoy, something you
can do with friends and family, something that will stimulate
Active for Life®
featured in Cincinnati area TV story
Cincinnati’s CBS affiliate TV station WKRC recently
aired a story “Fitting fitness into your life”
which featured Active for Life® instructor
Karen Schwamberger. To view
the video go to http://www.wkrc.com/guides/health/headlines/story.html?content_id=FA20F589-4BE2-4E2F-8722-8B6EE97FF2F1.
Trails and Health Initiatives
The National Recreation and Park Association is looking
for communities that have anecdotal evidence of the health
and trail connection as well as those that are planning
trails from the health standpoint. Active for Life®
grantees and others are encouraged to forward any such information
Joint Conference of the National Council on the
Aging and the American Society on Aging. March 16-19, 2006.
Anaheim, CA. The conference will feature more than
800 sessions covering a diverse range of topics in aging.
For information, go to http://www.agingconference.org/agingconference/jc06/index.cfm.
National Public Health Week.
April 3-9, 2006. Sponsored
by the American Public Health Association. http://www.apha.org/news/press/2006/010306_NPHW.htm.
TV-Turnoff Week. April 24-30,
2006. For information and resources see www.tvturnoff.org.
International Congress on
Physical Activity and Public Health. April 17-20, 2006.
Atlanta, GA. The CDC Prevention's Physical Activity
and Health Branch, in partnership with the Association of
State and Territorial Chronic Disease Program Directors,
are sponsoring this congress. To learn more see http://www.ncpad.org/events/index.php?id=189.
Older American’s Month.
May 2006. The Administration on Aging sponsors
this annual celebration. See the AoA Web site for updates
National Bike Month. May
2006. The League of American Bicyclists is promoting
Bike-to-Work Week from May 15-19 and Bike-to-Work Day on
Friday, May 19. For more information see http://www.bikemonth.com.
CDC's Division of Diabetes
Translation Annual Diabetes Conference. May 16-19, 2006.
Denver, CO. Sponsored by CDC's Division of Diabetes
Translation and CDC's Division of Nutrition and Physical
Activity, this conference will address diabetes and obesity.
For more information see http://www.psava.com/doc2006/main.html.
National Employee Health
& Fitness Day. May 17, 2006. Presented by the
National Association for Health & Fitness. For more
information see www.physicalfitness.org.
Tactics and Tools
Back to Fitness offers information on getting restarted
in physical activity
To answer the questions that Baby Boomers - and
their parents - have about physical activity, International
Council on Active Aging (ICAA) has created the Welcome Back
to Fitness Web site at http://www.icaa.cc/welcomeback.htm.
Especially geared to meet the needs of older adults, the
site contains a unique collection of checklists, questions
and answers, and guides to age-friendly fitness centers,
equipment and trainers. The Web site is useful to older
adults who are thinking about exercise, just getting started
or fitness regulars. And it doesn't matter if they exercise
at home, in a gym or at a senior center, because the toolkit
provides resources for all levels.
Keeping people involved in
Unless your organization is growing rapidly and
you have an endless stream of new faces showing up at the
health promotion door, you’ll eventually lose momentum
unless you recover at least some of your former participants.
relationships wither. Even if people are too busy to participate
as they have in the past, you can drop a note, make a
call, or send an FYI article. Show people they are on
Keep your participant
database current. Review it regularly to be sure names
and contact information are up-to-date.
as an excuse to contact former participants. The New Year,
an anniversary, a birthday -- just about any milestone
on the calendar is a good, non-threatening reason to contact
those who have dropped out.
Keep people updated.
If you have something brand new you think might interest
former participants, bring it to their attention.
For more information go to www.nationalwellness.org
and see Health Promotion Practitioner November/December
HHS publishes new book on
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently
released a new book entitled A Healthier You. Based
on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005,
this easy-to-use resource can help people make wise food
and physical activity choices to help them feel better,
manage weight, and increase chances to live a longer and
healthier life. This soft-cover, 325-page book retails for
$12.95 plus shipping when applicable and is available through
commercial bookstores. It is also available through the
U.S. Government Printing Office by calling toll free (866)
512-1800 or visiting the GPO Web site at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.
Nutrition and physical activity
program materials available
The Administration on Aging (AOA) has added information
to its You Can! Campaign Web site about Eat Better &
Move More, a 12-week nutrition and exercise program for
older adults. The site contains details about the program
and the 10 mini-grant awardees that piloted the project.
The National Resource Center on Nutrition, Physical Activity
& Aging at Florida International University developed
the program in cooperation with AOA. For resources, go to
Fact sheet helps older adults
The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA)
has organized a list of 30 ways older adults can become
more active in 2006. You can download these tips as a guide
to help your clients start or keep moving. For more information
visit the ICAA Web site http://www.icaa.cc/.
Minority Health Archive
Created in collaboration with the Center for Minority
Health and the University Library System at the University
of Pittsburgh, this is an online archive of print and electronic
media related to the health of the four nationally recognized
racial groups (Blacks/African Americans, Native Americans,
Hispanics/Latinos, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders).
The Minority Health Archive provides the opportunity not
only to research and gather various documents in a variety
of subject areas, but also a resource to deposit other related
materials not already posted to the archive. See http://minority-health.pitt.edu/
for more information.
Failed New Year resolutions?
For those who have failed at keeping New Year’s resolutions
in the past, research suggests that there may be a link
between failure and the goals chosen, reports the January
issue of the Harvard Health Letter. Common mistakes
include too many goals; setting sights on behaviors that
are too vague such as being a better spouse; and setting
goals that are too lofty. Researchers say people are more
likely to achieve goals that match their interests and values,
rather than those that reflect outside pressures or expectations.
The Harvard Health Letter is available by subscription
American Council on Exercise
fitness trend predictions for 2006
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) announced
its top 10 fitness trend predictions for 2006. Through its
research, “workout watchdog” studies and worldwide
network of certified fitness professionals, ACE continues
to accurately monitor America’s growing interest in
fitness. Among the trends for 2006 will be an increase in
specialized fitness programming for older adults. Click
Is Hip-to-Waist Ratio a better
measure than BMI for assessing heart attack risk?
A new international study has found that a person’s
waist-to-hip ratio, rather than their BMI (body mass index
- a ratio of weight to height) is three times more effective
as an obesity measure in predicting a person’s risk
for a heart attack. The study was published in The Lancet,
November 5, 2005. www.thelancet.com.
Lifestyle predicts healthcare
Researchers at the University of California and
Stanford University recently explored the relationship between
healthcare costs and lifestyle of adults age 68 to 95. The
most significant predictors of lower healthcare costs were
fewer cigarettes and lower BMI. Normal-weight people had
approximately $1,548 lower healthcare costs than minimally
obese people. Cigarette smokers had the most hospitalizations,
diagnostic tests and physician and nursing-home visits.
Lower costs for hospitalizations and diagnostic testing
were also found for those who walked daily. The study was
published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine,
29:379 (Dec. 2005). For information see
National Public Health Week,
April 3-9, to focus on healthy kids and healthy communities
As part of the week-long observance, communities
across the country will consider how buildings, roads, sidewalks
and neighborhood design are affecting the health of children.
During the eleventh annual event, APHA will reach out to
policy-makers, public health officials and partner groups
across the country to empower them to assess the status
of the built environment and children’s health in
their communities, identify areas for improvement and implement
model programs. APHA will work with select partners to develop
a Community Report Card that may be used to evaluate the
current state and impact of the built environment on children.
The report card will include evaluation of the built environment
as it relates to the specific issues of access and equity,
physical activity, injury prevention and asthma. For information
and resources see http://www.apha.org/news/press/2006/010306_NPHW.htm.
Yoga may be more effective
than conventional exercise for back pain
An estimated 14 million people in the United States
practiced yoga in 2002 and one million did so to relieve
back pain. A recent study was conducted to determine whether
yoga is more effective than conventional therapeutic exercise
or a self-care book for patients with chronic low back pain.
Study participants were divided into three intervention
groups: one group participated in viniyoga; a second did
aerobic, strengthening and stretching exercise; and the
third used a self-care book on back pain. After 12 weeks,
the yoga group was better able to do daily activities involving
the back than were those in the exercise or education groups.
After 26 weeks, the yoga group had better back-related function
and less pain. The study was published in the Annals
of Internal Medicine, December 20, 2005. http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/full/143/12/849.
Most elders value independence
and quality of life more than longevity
According to an article in the December issue of Mayo Clinic
Women’s HealthSource, elders can maintain a sense
of independence by:
environment to their abilities. A couple of examples are
adding a bench to the bathtub or asking for a ride to
the grocery store.
Setting goals and
plan for the future. These include a focus on maintaining
physical health by exercising and staying active, managing
chronic health conditions, eating a healthy diet and staying
connected with family and friends.
Asking for help
when necessary. This might include assistance with bill-paying
or household chores. At some point other types of help
are needed such as using a walker to get around the house,
having meals delivered, or having a nurse visit once a
resources. Family members, faith-based community resources,
non-profit community programs and businesses have options
to provide help with housekeeping, yard care, meals, transportation
or nursing care.
For more information see
BMI, hospitalization and
A study published in the January 11, 2006 issue of JAMA
assessed the relationship of mid-life body mass index with
morbidity and mortality outcomes in older age. Researchers
reported that, compared with persons who were normal weight
at mid-life, overweight or obese persons with similar cardiovascular
risk factors had higher risks of hospitalization and mortality
from coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and
diabetes at age 65 or older. For individuals with no cardiovascular
risk factors as well as those with one or more risk factors,
those who are obese in middle age have a higher risk of
hospitalization and mortality from CHD, cardiovascular disease,
and diabetes in older age than those who are normal weight.
For information see http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/295/2/190.
Optimism and an ability to
roll with the punches may be the keys to successful aging
The findings of a new study appear to contradict the widespread
belief that successful aging is solely dependent on physical
condition and health. The 500 study participants were between
60 to 98 years of age and lived independently, outside of
any nursing home or assisted living center. According to
the researchers, optimism and effective coping styles were
found to be more important to aging successfully than traditional
measures of health and wellness. Levels of social and community
involvement were also found to be strong indicators of successful
aging. The study was released at the annual meeting of the
American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. http://www.forbes.com/lifestyle/health/feeds/hscout/2005/12/19/hscout529670.html
Kids and adults continue
to show poor fitness levels
Approximately 33 percent of adolescents and 14 percent of
adults (aged 20 to 49 years) in the U.S. have poor cardio
respiratory fitness, with an associated increased prevalence
of cardiovascular disease risk factors such as higher total
cholesterol and blood pressure levels, according to a study
in the December 21, 2005 issue of JAMA. The study
notes there is strong and consistent evidence from observational
studies that physical inactivity and poor cardio respiratory
fitness are associated with higher illness and death from
all causes, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.
For more information see http://jama.ama-assn.org.
Healthy Eating Research
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has announced
the launch of Healthy Eating Research, an $11 million national
program to support research to identify, analyze and evaluate
environmental and policy strategies that can promote healthy
eating and prevent obesity among children. The program is
directed by Mary Story, Ph.D., R.D., professor of epidemiology
and community health in the University of Minnesota's School
of Public Health. The program's first Call for Proposals
focuses on school food policies and environments and is
available at www.rwjf.org/cfp/her.
A news release announcing the program is available at http://www.rwjf.org/newsroom/newsreleasesdetail.jsp?id=10383.
For more information, please visit www.healthyeatingresearch.org.
to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk in American Indians and Alaska
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute invites
applications for cooperative agreements to conduct five-year
studies in American Indian/Alaskan Native communities to
test the effectiveness of behavioral interventions to promote
the adoption of healthy lifestyles and/or improve behaviors
related to cardiovascular risk, such as weight reduction,
regular physical activity, and smoking cessation. Deadline
for applications is March 10, 2006.
For information go to http://www.fedgrants.gov/Applicants/HHS/NIH/NIH/RFA-HL-06-002/listing.html.
College Station, Texas