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From the Active for Life® National Program Office
November 2004

Previous Newsletters

Upcoming Events

Marketing Facts, Figures and Ideas

Tips, Tactics and Tools
In the News

Active for Life Annual Grantee Meeting Follow-up

The Active for Life National Program Office hosted the Third Annual Grantee Meeting October 20-22 in Chicago. Highlights included discussion of preliminary data that is being collected related to the nine grantee sites. In addition, technical assistance sessions addressed topics such as the AARP AFL Marketing initiative, Active Choices and Active Living Every Day training, budgeting and communications. Check out one of the plenary session’s presentations, Major League PR on a Minor League Budget.

AFL Marketing & Communications Consultant to speak at Active Aging Conference

Brigid Sanner, marketing consultant to the AFL National Program Office, is scheduled to make two presentations at the Active Aging Conference, hosted by the International Council on Active Aging. Held annually, this event provides the latest information, techniques, and tools for attendees to foresee and better serve the health and wellness needs of older adults. The 2004 conference will be held November 11-13 in Orlando, Florida, in conjunction with the Athletic Business Conference and Trade Show. For more information, go to

AFL staff to present at Gerontological Society of America Meeting

Active for Life team members will be presenting at the November meeting of the Gerontological Society of America. Entitled “Translation of Research to Practice: Learning to Adapt Programs for Diverse Populations While Maintaining Program Fidelity,” the presentations will provide perspectives on challenges of adaptations and strategies for improving the translation of evidence-based programs into practice. Panelists include: a grantee, Stacy Wegley from the Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio; a program developer for Active Living Every Day, Ruth Ann Carpenter, from The Cooper Institute; Sara Wilcox, director of the evaluation team from University of South Carolina; and Diane Dowdy from the AFL National Program Office located at the Texas A&M University System Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health. Robin Mockenhaupt from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will function as moderator for the session and Nancy Whitelaw, with the National Council on Aging, will be the discussant, addressing this issue within the broader context of prevention for older adults.

Upcoming Events

  • November 5-7, 2004. Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), Promoting Monumental Change in Washington D.C. This conference will prepare the health education workforce to better use its power and influence in cultivating individual and system changes that can lead to monumental changes in the public’s health. For more information see
  • November 6-10, 2004. The American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting & Exposition. Public Health and the Environment, the theme for this year’s meeting, reflects the profound impact environmental factors have on the health of the public. The APHA Annual Meeting will focus on the role of public health in addressing environmental issues, sustaining healthy environments and enhancing research, public awareness, prevention and treatment of disease caused or exacerbated by environmental factors. For more information go to
  • November 11-13, 2004. Active Aging 2004: Catching the Wave will feature the latest market research on the mature population, educational workshops and special events. The conference is sponsored by the International Council on Active Aging in conjunction with Athletic Business, one of the athletic, recreation and fitness industry’s largest conference providers. For more information, go to
  • November 19 - 23, 2004. 57th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America. The theme for this year’s Annual Meeting is "Promoting the Health of an Aging Population.” The meeting is organized to foster interdisciplinary interactions among gerontological health care clinical, administrative, and research professionals. In addition to the core scientific sessions, pre-conference workshop and poster sessions will be presented which will encourage and stimulate diverse viewpoints in geriatric health, research, and economics. For more information, visit the GSA Web site at
  • 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.

Marketing Facts, Figures and Ideas

Older Adult Perspectives on Physical Activity and Exercise: Voices From Multiple Cultures

Although the health benefits of physical activity are documented, older adults are less physically active than any other age group. The results of a study recently published in Preventing Chronic Disease, an on-line CDC journal, sought to examine barriers and facilitators to physical activity and exercise among underserved, ethnically diverse older adults. Seventy-one older adults were recruited through community agencies to participate in seven ethnic-specific focus groups: American Indian/Alaska Native, African American, Filipino, Chinese, Latino, Korean, and Vietnamese. Suggested features of physical activity programs to enhance participation among ethnically diverse minority older adults included fostering relationships among participants; providing culture-specific exercise; offering programs at residential sites; partnering with and offering classes prior to or after social service programs; educating families about the importance of physical activity for older adults and ways they could help; offering low- or no-cost classes; and involving older adults in program development. Walking was the exercise of choice across all ethnic groups. Health served as both a motivator and a barrier to physical activity. Other factors influencing physical activity were weather, transportation, and personal safety. For more information see

Tips, Tactics and Tools

Your Heart, Your Life Website

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Your Heart, Your Life Web site is now live. Join Angela, a virtual lay health educator, as she teaches Web site visitors how they can reduce their risk of heart disease with physical activity. Free downloadable handouts, picture cards, session outlines, etc. are available for lay and professional health educators. The Web site, in English or Spanish, targets Latinos but can be used by a wide audience. Visit

Aging Boomers to Alter Nation's Landscape

As America's population continues to mature, states must prepare for unprecedented challenges while looking for new ways to meet the evolving needs of their seniors, according to a new report released by the National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices.

The report, Measuring the Years: State Aging Trends and Indicators, is the latest NGA publication to focus attention on the far-reaching effects of an aging America. By identifying critical issues affecting today's seniors, the report presents information state policymakers can use to better prepare states for the future.

"As the baby boom generation continues to gray, the nation is facing a dramatic and unprecedented demographic shift," said NGA Center for Best Practices Director John Thomasian. "The trends illustrated in this book are helping states prepare for this seismic shift."

Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults

National Health Interview Survey data show that only 11 percent of older adults meet strength training recommendations. The vast majority are missing opportunities to improve their health through strength training.

A web-based exercise program based on sound scientific research involving strengthening exercises offers an easy-to-use, home-based strength training manual and program and requires inexpensive equipment. The program has been shown to increase muscle strength, maintain bone integrity, and improve balance, coordination, and mobility. The program was developed in collaboration with Tufts University. Go to for more information.

American Council on Exercise Video: Guide to Resistance Training for Older Adults

This 26-minute video can serve as a stand-alone instructional aid or work in partnership with the Exercise for Older Adults textbook. The video illustrates effective resistance-training programming, from the importance of strength training to the special considerations that should be taken into account when designing strength-training programs for older adults.

Exercise for Older Adults is a source of essential information for providing safe and effective fitness programming. Topics range from the physiology of aging to techniques and tools for motivating and communicating with this growing population. Specific exercises suitable for older adults are also offered. For more information see

White House Conference on Aging Website

The White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) recently unveiled its Web site,, which houses an array of information about the planning and progress of 2005 White House Conference on Aging. The WHCOA's Web site will provide information about the Conference, which is scheduled to take place on October 23-26, 2005 in Washington, D.C. Included on the site will be results of Policy Committee meetings including the development of the Conference agenda, topic areas and the delegate selection, as well as important regional, state and local information related to the Conference.

In the News

Bones, Beautiful Bones

"Osteoporosis isn't just your grandmother's disease. We all need to take better care of our bones," says U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S. "The good news is that you are never too old or too young to improve your bone health. With healthy nutrition, physical activity every day, and regular medical check-ups and screenings, Americans of all ages can have strong bones and live longer, healthier lives.” According to a new report, Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General, ten million Americans over the age of 50 have osteoporosis, the most common bone disease, while another 34 million are at risk for developing osteoporosis. And each year, roughly 1.5 million people suffer a bone fracture related to osteoporosis.

The Surgeon General's report is a call for Americans to take action to improve and maintain healthy bones. The report includes recommendations on what Americans can do to decrease the likelihood of developing osteoporosis. For more information go to

Proven Formula for a Longer and Healthier Life

Recent scientific studies confirm that people ages 70 to 90 live longer if they

  • Follow a Mediterranean-style diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and olive oil, and regular small amounts of fish and poultry;
  • Get regular exercise;
  • Consume a moderate amount of alcohol (Mediterranean-style would be wine with meals—one to two glasses per day for men and one glass per day for women); and
  • Not smoke.

Following these four lifestyle habits can lower their risk of death in the next 10 years by over 50 percent. Making these lifestyle choices can improve the health and longevity of adults of all ages.
Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, Sept. 22-29, 2004

Health Care Costs Related to Physical Activity and Body Mass Index (BMI)

To examine health care costs' relationship to physical activity and body mass index (BMI), 23,490 active working adults were grouped into one of three weight groups: normal, overweight and obese. Lack of physical activity and high BMI were both associated with higher health care costs. Sedentary employees paid $285 and $221 more for health care than moderately active and very active employees respectively. Sedentary, obese employees paid $499 more than moderately active, obese employees. It is estimated that if employees in the sedentary obese group participated in physical activity 1 to 2 times per week, maximum health care savings would be $790,326 per year. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine;46(5):428-36, 2004.

Physical Activity for Special Populations

The September/October issue of the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development (Volume 41, Issue 5) focuses on the benefits of exercise for aging adults and people with disabilities, wound healing, rehabilitation effectiveness, speech recognition systems, low vision programs and other topics. The articles are free online at:

Old age "treated like an illness"

Stereotypes of older people as problematically sick and vulnerable, heroically young and active, or just comically grumpy are major barriers that prevent their real needs from being heard or acted upon, according to a report from one of the largest British social policy research and development charities. Furthermore, states the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's (JRF) report, professional attitudes that treat old age as if it were "an illness for which there is no cure" are no less damaging. Based on a four-year research program overseen by a steering group of older people, the JRF report draws on the findings from 18 different research projects. The document carries a central message that older people must be involved in planning the policies and services that affect them to make an enduring contribution to improving the quality of life in old age. In addition, the research program suggests that older people themselves can often make the biggest difference to each other's quality of life. See

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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