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 Health Science Center School
of Rural Public Health. To include information, contact
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the Active for Life® National Program Office
Expanded Focus for AFL E-News
In this and future issues of the AFL E-News readers will continue
to find information related to physical activity and active
aging. In addition, news, tools and tips related to intergenerational
programs to reduce obesity and to support smart growth and
active aging will be included. These additions reflect the
expansion of the Active for Life® (AFL) interest
areas to include:
- Generations Working to
Prevent Childhood Obesity, (http://www.activeforlife.info/generations/index.html)
an initiative that funded four Active for Life
grantees to address the prevention or reduction of childhood
obesity by changing policies and environments through an
- The Learning Network
which is designed to help professionals working in fields
such as community planning, transportation, parks and recreation,
and local government to identify practical approaches to
support efforts related to smart growth and active aging.
American Heart Association
Scientific Sessions Presentation
AFL deputy director Diane Dowdy, Ph.D., participated in a
panel at the November American Heart Association Scientific
Sessions, where she provided an overview of how behavioral
intervention programs can be effective in increasing physical
activity in adults aged 50+. Also on the panel was David Buchner,
M.D., M.P.H., Chief of the Physical Activity and Health Branch
at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Buchner
has served as chair of the AFL National Advisory Committee.
Aging in Place
Aging in Place: A Toolkit for Local Governments
is available online from the Atlanta Regional Commission
and the Community Housing Resource Center. The toolkit is
designed to help local governments plan and prepare for
their aging populations. It presents a series of programs
and zoning practices that expand the alternatives available
to older adults living in the community. Techniques for
coordinating housing development regulations and healthcare
supports are emphasized. Specific quality growth practices
so older adults can get out of their homes are also addressed.
How Cities Can Become More
Many elements of conventional land-use planning and design
create barriers to walking, forcing reliance on the automobile
for routine daily travel and denying people the health benefits
of regular walking. Why People Don’t Walk and
What City Planners Can Do About It (http://www.lgc.org/freepub/PDF/Land_Use/focus/plan_to_walk.pdf)
uses photographs to tell the story of common barriers to
walking and addresses how more pedestrian-oriented design
and infrastructure can remove the barriers and create more
Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities
This eight-page publication provides examples of cities,
counties, and school districts working together to address
childhood obesity. It offers ideas and guidance that can
help local government officials leverage community resources
and identify opportunities for collaboration. It also provides
resources and references to assist policy-makers in developing
and implementing new initiatives.
Getting Youth Involved in
The Active Living Resource Center offers a two-page fact
sheet on getting youth involved in community planning. It
is available at http://www.activelivingresources.org/assets/kids_in_community_planning.pdf.
Involving kids (and their parents) in community planning
can serve as a catalyst for change. As people of all ages
learn more about their neighborhoods, they may be moved
to activism. They may begin lobbying for safer street crossings,
trails, sidewalks, and more. They may notice a missing curb
cut where a sidewalk hits a street, and they may bring the
subject up with the mayor. Many good ideas for making neighborhoods
better, safer places to live can come from involving kids
Trends in Health and Aging
Web Site Update
The National Center for Health Statistics released updated
statistical tests (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/otheract/aging/stu.htm)
on the Trends in Health and Aging Web site http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/agingact.htm.
The updated tests can perform comparisons of two values,
the Bonferroni test, test for trends, and comparisons of
the slopes for two trends.
Exercise is Medicine
The American College of Sports Medicine and the American
Medical Association have launched Exercise is Medicine™,
a program designed to help physicians encourage patients
to incorporate physical activity and exercise into their
daily routine. The program aids physicians in recording
physical activity as a vital sign during patient visits.
The Web site (http://www.exerciseismedicine.org/)
contains educational materials and toolkits. The site also
includes information for patients, the media, and policymakers,
as well as a listing of initial supporting organizations.
Energy Drinks and Blood Pressure
Downing an “energy drink” may boost
blood pressure as well as energy, researchers said in a
small study presented at the American Heart Association’s
Scientific Sessions 2007.
In the study, blood pressure and heart rate levels increased
in healthy adults who drank two cans a day of a popular
energy drink. While the increases didn’t reach dangerous
levels in the healthy volunteers, the increases in blood
pressure and heart rate could prove to be clinically significant
in patients with heart disease or in those who consume energy
drinks often, said the lead researcher. http://scientificsessions.americanheart.org/portal/scientificsessions/ss/newsrelease11.06.07K.
Exercise and Breast Cancer
According to a National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov)
study, women who were not obese or overweight at age 18
but were considered overweight at 35 and 50 years old had
almost one and a half times the risk of developing breast
cancer as the women who maintained a steady normal weight.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women maintain
a healthy weight throughout adulthood and that they do 45
to 60 minutes of physical activity five days a week. The
NCI study found that moderate to strenuous physical activity
were important in reducing the risk of breast cancer.
Study Examines Physical Activity
and Cardiovascular Risk
A study of more than 27,000 women offers specific insights
into how physical activity can improve cardiovascular health.
Researchers assessed how exercise reduced certain risk factors
in women, and how those changes affected their probability
of having a heart attack or stroke. Exercise-related changes
in inflammatory and hemostatic biomarkers made the biggest
difference, lowering the risk of a future event by 33 percent.
Exercise-related changes in blood pressure lowered risk
by 27 percent, followed by changes in lipids, body mass
index, and glucose abnormalities. The amount of exercise
women got also made a big difference. There was a 40 percent
reduction in heart attack and stroke between the highest
and lowest exercise groups. The study was reported in Circulation:
Journal of the American Heart Association. http://www.americanheart.org:80/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3051348.
Intergenerational PA Programs
According to a study published in the March 2007 issue of
the Journal of Intergenerational Relationships,
there is a sound rationale for developing intergenerational
programming that includes physical activity. The authors
conducted a systematic literature review to examine the
benefits of physical activity. They comment, “While
research is scarce, the reviewed studies suggest that intergenerational
physical activity programming is feasible and can promote
short-term changes in physical activity levels of older
adults and improve attitudes toward aging and older adults.”
Age-Related Performance Decreases
Researchers reporting in the June issue of International
Journal of Sports Medicine (http://www.thieme-connect.de/ejournals/toc/sportsmed)
note that significant age-related losses in endurance performance
did not occur before the age of 50 years among physically
active and fit adults. Mean marathon and half-marathon times
were virtually identical for the age groups from 20 - 49
years. Age-related performance decreases among those ages
50 to 69 were only in the range of 2.6 - 4.4 percent per
decade. These findings support the hypothesis that lifestyle
factors have considerably stronger influences on functional
capacity than age.
Pilot Program Helps Boost
Seniors’ Activity Levels, Quality of Life
Older adults often carry a deeply ingrained belief that
inactive, sedentary lives are an inevitable part of aging.
In a new UCLA study, researchers show that older adults
who participated in a pilot test for a program aimed at
changing this mindset became more physically active, increasing
their walking levels by about 24 percent. The study appeared
in the November issue of the Journal of the American
Geriatrics Society (http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/jgs/55/11).
Exercise Benefits Patients
with Heart Failure
Exercise increased the growth of new muscle cells and blood
vessels in the weakened muscles of people with heart failure,
according to two studies reported at the American Heart
Association’s Scientific Sessions 2007. According
to researchers, exercise training can improve health status
by reversing patterns of muscle damage that are common in
heart failure. http://scientificsessions.americanheart.org/portal/scientificsessions/ss/newsrelease11.07.07N
Meetings and Conferences
National Prevention and
Health Promotion Summit. November 27-29. Washington,
DC. For information, go to http://www.cdc.gov/cochp/conference/index.htm.
ICAA Conference: Active
Aging 2007. Nov. 29-Dec. 1. Orlando, FL.
For information go to http://www.icaa.cc:80/convention.htm.
New Partners for Smart
Growth Conference. Feb. 7-9, 2008. Washington,
American College of Sports
Medicine Health & Fitness Summit. March 24-27,
2008. Long Beach, CA. http://www.acsm.org.
National Council on Aging/American
Society on Aging Joint Conference. March 27-30.
Washington, DC. http://www.agingconference.org.
AAHPERD National Convention
& Exposition. April 8-12. Fort Worth, TX.
American Planning Association
Conference. April 27-May 1, 2008. Las Vegas,
American Geriatrics Society
Annual Meeting. April 30-May 4, 2008. Washington,
American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting.
May 28-31, 2008. Indianapolis, IN. http://www.acsm.org.
World Congress on Physical
Activity and Aging. Tsukuba, Japan. July 26-29,
2008. The University of Tsukuba, in collaboration with
the Japan Ministry of Health and Nutrition; the Foundation
of Fitness Promotion and Exercise Guidance, the Japan
Health Promotion and Fitness Foundation, the Center of
Excellence in Health and Sport Sciences, and the Tsukuba
Advanced Research Alliance will host this important scientific
event. Information will be posted at http://www.isapa2008.org.
Participation in Research
The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research/NIH/DHHS
is sponsoring support for research on health promotion,
disease prevention, and health disparities that is jointly
conducted by communities and researchers. For more information,
go to http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-05-026.html
or e-mail email@example.com.
Funding Childhood Obesity
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will commit at least
$500 million over the next five years to fight childhood
obesity in the U.S. The Foundation will focus on improving
access to affordable healthy foods and opportunities for
safe physical activity in schools and communities. It will
place special emphasis on reaching children at greatest
risk for obesity and related health problems: African-American,
Latino, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander
children living in low-income communities. Information is
available at http://www.rwjf.org/portfolios/features/featuredetail.jsp?featureID=2276&type=3&iaid=138.
College Station, Texas 77843-1266