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Active for Life - Increasing Physical Activity Levels in Adults Age 50 and Older!
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October 2008

Previous Newsletters

From the Active for Life Program Office
Tips, Tactics and Tools
In the News
Upcoming Events

Funding Opportunities

The 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 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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From the Active for Life® National Program Office

Study Highlights Success of Active for Life®
Researchers at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health, in collaboration with researchers at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health and staff from several of the Active for Life grantee-sites, recently looked at data from 5,000 AFL program participants between 2003 and 2007. The findings, published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (, showed significant increases in total physical activity, as well as increases in moderate to vigorous intensity. Participants also showed increases in satisfaction of body appearance and function, and small decreases in body weight. Those who took part in the Active Living Every Day program also reported a decrease in perceived stress and depressive symptoms.

Revised Fitness Guidelines
The newly-released Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans include recommendations for older adults. Those aged 65 and older, who are in good health and have no physical limitations, need at least 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) each week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking), OR 75 minutes (one hour and 15 minutes) each week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running), OR an equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. In addition, older adults should include, on two or more days a week, muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms). (See the Tips, Tactics, and Tools section of this newsletter for more information.)

Spellbound in Ohio
Ruth Ann Carpenter, MS, RD, LD, co-author of six health promotion books, including Active Living Every Day and her newest book, Healthy Eating Every Day, was the keynote speaker at the Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio’s fifth annual AFL reunion event. Speaking to an audience of approximately 200 AFL graduates, she talked about the importance of the “other side of the energy equation” -- healthy eating. In addition to Carpenter’s presentation, the event featured several area pet adoption organizations, who took the opportunity to highlight the value of pets as both companions and walking partners. For more information, visit

AFL Leaders Meet with RWJF Staff
AFL Director Marcia G. Ory, Ph.D., MPH and Deputy Director Diane Dowdy, Ph.D., along with representatives from the Michael and Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living at the University of Texas School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus, met recently with representatives of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to share information about Texas’ Statewide Evaluations of Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies project. During the meeting they also learned about evaluation projects in five other funded states: Arkansas; West Virginia; Delaware; New York; and Mississippi.

Tips, Tactics and Tools

Revised Physical Activity Guidelines
The new Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans were released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on October 7. The guidelines are available on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Web site ( Also available on the HHS Web site is a fact sheet and FAQ's that can be used to respond to questions and communicate with clients and patients. HHS also offers a drop-in news article about the guidelines. The guidelines can also be found on the CDC website: The federal guidelines state adults should exercise for two and a half hours - or 150 minutes - per week at a moderate intensity. This breaks down into 30 minutes of exercise five days per week, consistent with guidelines released last August by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association. ACSM has created resources at assist in your professional translation and communication of exercise recommendations. These resources focus on the message of simply starting an exercise program regardless of minutes-per-day recommendations. A pre-exercise health assessment and barriers to exercise assessment are available, as well as demonstrative exercise videos and additional tools for success. Pass them on to your patients and clients to showcase the importance and ease of integrating physical activity into everyday life.

Evidence-Based Behavioral Practice Website and Training Modules
The Interdisciplinary Council for Training in Evidence-Based Behavioral Practice (EBBP), sponsored by National Institutes of Health’s Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research has announced the release of a newly redesigned website and training modules at A goal of the EBBP project is to develop online learning tools to help behavioral practitioners and students integrate research and practice in real-world conditions. The three training modules currently available are The EBBP Process, Searching for Evidence, and Introduction to Systematic Reviews.

In the News

Slight Decrease in Physical Activity
In early 2008, 29.5 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 years and over engaged in regular leisure-time physical activity, which was lower, but not significantly different from the 2007 first quarter estimate of 30.8 percent. The data is from the National Health Interview Survey, Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data from the January-March 2008 National Health Interview Survey (

Exercise with Diet Helps Burn Fat
A group of sedentary and overweight older people placed on a four-month exercise program not only became more fit, but burned off more fat, compared to older sedentary people who were placed on a diet but did not exercise. The new study also showed that when older people diet without exercising, they lose more lean muscle compared to those who exercise. However, when they combined weight loss with exercise, it nearly completely prevented the loss of lean muscle mass. These results are important because older people tend to lose muscle mass as they age, and too much muscle loss may interfere with activities of daily living. The study is published in the September issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology (

Exercise Reduces Development of Delirium
According to research published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (, participating in an activity, especially regular physical exercise, appears to protect hospitalized elderly patients from developing delirium. Researchers who studied 779 newly hospitalized patients age 70 or older found that regular exercise reduced delirium by 24 percent.

Upcoming Events


October is American Heat Walk Month. Sponsored by the American Heart Association.

October is Talk About Prescriptions Month. Sponsored by the National Council on Patient Information and Education.

October is Health Literacy Month.

November is American Diabetes Month. Sponsored by the American Diabetes Association.

November is the Great American Smoke Out Month. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society. November 20 is the Great American Smoke Out Day.

November is National Family Caregivers Month. Sponsored by the National Family Caregivers Association and the National Alliance for Caregiving

Meetings and Conferences

Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) Annual Meeting. Oct. 23-25. San Diego, CA.

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. October 25-29, 2008. San Diego, CA.

International Conference on Urban Health. October 29-31, 2008. Vancouver, BC

Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting. November 21-25, 2008. National Harbor, MD.

ICAA Conference. December 4-6, 2008. San Antonio, TX.

American College of Preventive Medicine Annual Conference. February 11-14, 2009. Los Angeles, CA.

National Conference on Chronic Disease Prevention & Control. February 23-25, 2009. Washington, DC.

National Council on Aging-American Society on Aging Aging in America Conference. March 15-19, 2009. Las Vegas, NV.

American College of Sports Medicine Annual Health & Fitness Summit. March 25-28, 2008. Atlanta, GA.

American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting. May 27-30, 2008. Seattle, WA.

Funding Opportunities

Ladder to Leadership
This initiative, a collaboration of the RWJF and the Center for Creative Leadership, is designed to enhance the leadership capacity of community-based nonprofit health organizations serving vulnerable populations. Ladder to Leadership focuses on developing critical leadership competencies for early- to mid-career professionals through a 16-month leadership development curriculum. The program will be delivered in nine priority communities on a staggered schedule over the next four years. Up to 30 fellows will be selected to participate in the program in each of nine targeted communities across the U.S.: Central NY; Cleveland, OH; Birmingham, AL; Albuquerque, NM; Eastern NC; Portland, OR.; Mid-South Region (Western TN, Eastern AR, and Northern MS); NJ (specific site/region to be determined); and Starr County, TX. For information, visit the RWFJ Web site at

Active Living Research and Healthy Eating Research
This national program of RWJF supports research to identify promising policy and environmental strategies for increasing physical activity, promoting healthy eating, and preventing obesity. Funding will support time-sensitive, opportunistic studies to evaluate changes in policies or environments with the potential to reach children who are at highest risk for obesity, including African-American, Latino, Native American, Asian American, and Pacific Islander children (ages 3 to 18) who live in low-income communities or communities with limited access to affordable healthy foods and/or safe opportunities for physical activity. The deadline for proposals is Oct. 15. For information, visit






Meet Our PartnersNPO Contact Info
SRPH Building
1266 TAMU
College Station, Texas 77843-1266

Phone: 979-458-4202
Fax: 979-458-4264

Active for Life National Program Office | SRPH Building | 1266 TAMU | College Station, TX 77843-1266
Phone: 979-458-4202 | Fax: 979-458-4264 | Email: