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From the Active for Life® National Program Office
October 2004

Previous Newsletters

Upcoming Events

Marketing Facts, Figures and Ideas

Tips, Tactics and Tools
In the News

Active for Life NPO joins You Can! Steps to Healthier Aging

The Active for Life National Program Office has become a partner in You Can! Steps to Healthier Aging, a national outreach campaign designed to increase the number of older adults who are active and healthy by encouraging them to eat better and move more. The U.S. Administration on Aging’s (AoA) campaign is the aging component of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Steps to a HealthierUS Initiative. It is taking direct aim at the rising epidemic of chronic disease and obesity among Americans of all ages, including older adults. The You Can! Web site at offers valuable information about You Can! resources around the country.

Active Living Every Day Tested with Adults with Arthritis

To study the effectiveness of the Active Living Every Day course among people with arthritis, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently awarded a $150,000 one-year grant to the Thurston Arthritis Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Arthritis sufferers usually benefit from increased physical activity, but they are often intimidated by traditional fitness programs. Dr. Jennie Hootman of the CDC believes that Active Living Every Day’s emphasis on gradual lifestyle change, brief activity interspersed throughout the day, and applicability to all fitness levels will appeal to people with arthritis. Active Living Every Day is one of the two Active for Life interventions being tested with mid-life and older adults.

AFL Director Speaks at Cooper Institute Conference

Marcia Ory, Ph.D., director of the Active for Life National Program Office will be on a panel of speakers addressing “Special Audience Issues in Diffusion and Dissemination of Physical Activity” at the Cooper Institute Conference in Dallas, Texas October 21-23. Three Active for Life posters submitted by the evaluation team have also been accepted.

Upcoming Meetings of Interest

  • October 19-22, 2004. Active for Life Third Annual Grantee Meeting. Active for Life will hold its annual grantee meeting at the Hyatt Regency Chicago in Chicago, IL this year. Visit the AFL Web site for further information at
  • October 21-23, 2004. Diffusion and Dissemination: Increasing Physical Activity in World Populations. Cooper Institute Conference Center. For more information see
  • October 26-28, 2004. Steps to a Healthier US Workforce: Integrating Promotion and Protection. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and co-sponsors will convene at a three-day symposium to launch a new initiative, "Steps to a Healthier US Workforce," aimed at integrating individual worker health and healthy lifestyle promotion with the mission of protecting and improving working conditions and the work environment. The symposium will be held at the Cafritz Center on the campus of George Washington University in Washington, DC. For more information see
  • 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 http://
  • 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

Marketing Facts, Figures and Ideas

Prevention Communication Research Database

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) has launched a new online database providing access to Federally sponsored audience research reports on key prevention topics. The Prevention Communication Research Database (PCRD) at is the first searchable collection of audience research conducted or sponsored by HHS agencies. Program planners and health communication specialists at the federal, state, and local levels can use this database to find recent HHS-funded audience research studies, shape audience research design and/or proposals, improve understanding of intended audiences, and maximize resources by decreasing or eliminating the need to conduct similar research studies

Consumer Product Marketing

According to AARP, Americans age 50 and older account for half of all consumer spending in the United States, but are targeted by just 10 percent of marketing dollars. The dynamic is particularly potent in television, where programming is geared toward 18-34 year olds because advertisers will pay more to reach those viewers. (From “As boomers are seniors, ageism is a hot topic,” by David Crary, Associated Press writer. August 31, 2004)

Physical Activity in the Workplace

According to an August 19, 2004 QuickPoll, more than one-third of respondents would describe the physical health of their workforce as somewhat unhealthy (31%) or unhealthy (6%). Another QuickPoll on September 7, 2004 indicated that 76% of respondents do not provide workplace fitness programs. See

Tips, Tactics and Tools

Su Corazón, su Vida / Your Heart Your Life

A new program from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) called Physical Activity: Your Heart Your Life: A Lay Health Educator's Program has just gone live on the NHLBI Web site The program is an outgrowth of the popular Su Corazón, su Vida, a comprehensive community-based heart-health promotion initiative from the NHLBI. Su Corazón, su Vida targets Latinos and is designed to promote lifestyle changes to reduce the chances of developing heart disease. The program allows people to interact with Angela, a “virtual” lay health educator - to learn how making some simple lifestyle changes can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. Angela teaches by using interactive quizzes, offering visitors a downloadable set of stretching exercises, and even suggesting a sample walking program. A Spanish language version of the program is available at For lay health educators, a virtual trainer of trainers, named Doña Fela, will help educators learn how to personally and confidently approach members of the Latino community with the same information contained in the online program for the public. The program is at

Walking Events Popular in Autumn

With the cooler weather many organizations sponsor community-based walking events. Participation in these events can be a realistic goal for many older adults, since the walk routes are often set for one to three miles. Events include American Heart Walk (, America’s Walk for Diabetes (, and the Komen Race for the Cure (

CDC Database of Qualitative Research

The Inventory of Qualitative Research Web site provides information about qualitative studies conducted in the nutrition and physical activity areas. The search information can help organizations contact others who are conducting similar studies, exchange ideas about research findings and potential intervention strategies, and share research instruments and tools.

American Council on Exercise (ACE) Tips to Improve Workouts

Finding or making time to exercise is the first step toward improving health, but it’s not the only step. Workouts can be challenging and mistakes in the gym are common. At times, these mistakes can cause mild strains or more significant injuries. ACE shares ten tips to help individuals stay safe during their workouts. For the complete article see

1. A short workout is better than none.
2. Include strength training programs.
3. Use good form.
4. Gradual progression is important.
5. Add variety to workouts.
6. Adjust machines to body size.
7. Focus on the workout.
8. Cool down after exercise.
9. Practice fitness center etiquette.
10. Set realistic goals.

Generations United for Environmental Awareness and Action

Generations United has released a preliminary report with strategies for bringing children, youth, and older adults together to explore, study, and work to improve the natural environment. Generations United for Environmental Awareness and Action is based on an extensive study conducted with people who lead innovative intergenerational environmental initiatives.

Visit the Generations United Web site at for more information.

In the News

Researchers Examine Men’s Health, Explaining Statistics, Making Recommendations

In its latest publication, “Promoting Men’s Health: Addressing Barriers to Healthy Lifestyle and Preventative Health Care,” the International Longevity Center (ILC-USA) has identified gender as a significant factor influencing public health.

“It is unfortunate that many men feel that it is unmanly to maintain a regular relationship with their doctor,” said Robert N. Butler, M.D., ILC president and CEO. “Our culture has taught men that they should stifle their pains, deny their symptoms and wait as long as possible before visiting a doctor.”

Go to for the complete release.

E-mail Consultations Could Improve Healthcare Delivery

Greater use of e-mail for consultations between doctors and patients could be beneficial, according to researchers in the United Kingdom. Investigators from the Imperial College London and the University of Edinburgh looked at the extent of e-mail consultations occurring and measured the opinions of physicians and patients on the effectiveness of these consultations. The researchers found a considerable number of advantages to increasing the use of e-mail, including time savings for both patient and doctor. In addition, e-mail reduced the need for face-to-face consultations, particularly when managing long-term problems such as weight loss or diabetes. Other benefits included improved access to care for those with physical disabilities or living in remote areas, better opportunities for information sharing, and the chance of more speedy communications. Many of these advantages could potentially lead to financial savings through the more efficient use of a doctor's time. For more information see the British Medical Journal 2004; 329: 435-438.

How Active Are Adults with Arthritis?

In telephone interviews with community-dwelling adults, data showed that 23 percent reported having doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Among these participants, more than 60 percent did not meet the recommended frequency or duration of physical activity. Nearly 24 percent were not physically active at all. For more information on this Research Update from the Arthritis Foundation see

Short Bursts of Exercise Reduce Blood Fats after Meals

In people who do not exercise regularly, 30 minutes of moderate exercise accumulated in intermittent, ten-minute bouts of activity lower fat and triglyceride levels in the bloodstream after eating, a new study concludes. Interestingly, 30 minutes of continuous exercise does not have the same beneficial effect. Eighteen inactive adults with normal lipid profiles ate a high-fat meal after jogging on a treadmill in continuous and intermittent bouts. The research team from the University of Missouri and Southwest Missouri State University (SMSU) in Springfield believe intermittent exercise may lower blood fats due to a slight potential increase in metabolism after each short exercise bout.

"People who cannot exercise for long durations due to low fitness levels or busy lifestyles don't have to sit still and wait for a heart attack," says study author Thomas S. Altena, Ed.D., of SMSU. "If we can encourage people to be active and accumulate at least 30 minutes of exercise in ten-minute bouts each day, it will have a positive effect on health overall, and more specifically, on the amount of fat in the bloodstream." For more information see SOURCE: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2004;36:1364-1371.

Exercise Offers Significant Protection Against Age-related Declining Effects

Regular exercise can offer significant protection against common age-related problems, such as trouble climbing stairs or walking without pain, even among the obese, according to a study of almost 8,000 adults age 51-61. Researchers interviewed participants about their activity level and their onset of physical disabilities and found that those who exercised regularly, whether through an organized exercise program or vigorous housework, were much less likely to suffer increased immobility as they aged. While being overweight or obese increased study participants risk for physical decline, regular exercise provided protection against that decline for adults, even if they were obese. The study authors said maintaining a healthy weight is the best protection against physical deterioration, but people of all weights can help avoid age-related problems through regular exercise. From “Body Mass Index, Physical Activity, and the Risk of Decline in Overall Health and Physical Functioning in Late Middle Age,” Journal of Public Health, the journal of the American Public Health Association.

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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