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From the Active for Life® National Program Office
September 2004

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded Active Living projects have recently released a number of useful products.

  • The Active Living Research program, an initiative that supports research to examine relationships among characteristics of natural and built environments, public and private policies, and personal levels of physical activity, has two new fact sheets that summarize the latest research on promoting physical activity through community design. Designing for Active Transportation and Designing for Active Recreation present scientific evidence in a format useful for policy makers, planners, developers, public health officials and others interested in working for more active communities. To view a PDF version of the fact sheets you can download the documents at:
  • With the support of more than 20 partner organizations, Active Living Leadership and Fifty-Plus Lifelong Fitness have launched an online calculator that will help estimate the financial cost of physical inactivity. This valuable tool can help local businesses, policy-makers, government leaders, HMOs and insurance companies to better understand the benefits of physical activity. The calculator uses a formula based on the cost of medical care, workers' compensation and lost productivity data to compute financial costs related to physical inactivity. Decision-makers provide answers to six general demographic questions. The answers are used to calculate an estimate of funds lost due to physically inactive populations. To access the calculator, go to
  • National Blueprint http://


Access to Health Care Differs by Race and Ethnicity

Having a regular doctor or a usual source of care facilitates the process of obtaining health care when it is needed. People who do not have a regular doctor or health care provider are less likely to obtain preventive services, or diagnosis, treatment, and management of chronic conditions. Higher proportions of minorities compared to Whites do not have a usual source of care and do not have health insurance. For more information, see the Center on an Aging Society issue brief Number 5, Cultural Competence in Health Care: Is it important for people with chronic conditions?


The Administration on Aging (AOA) will soon announce that it has begun enrolling partners in a new campaign called You Can! Steps to Healthier Aging. The campaign aims to boost physical activity and improve food choices among older Americans and is based on growing awareness among public health officials and medical experts that even modest improvements in diet and activity can promote healthy aging. The You Can! Steps to Healthier Aging campaign is part of an initiative launched in 2003 by President George W. Bush and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson to help all Americans make healthier choices. AoA will provide a complete toolkit that includes material to help partners publicize the campaign and recruit individuals (step-by-step publicity guide, letterhead, ready-to-print logos); a guidebook presented in a building-block format that contains week-by-week activities for participants; and tools and incentives for older Americans who participate (logbook to chart suggested activities, certificates, etc). For more information, visit

International Curriculum Guidelines for Preparing Physical Activity Instructors of Older Adults

The new consensus document, published by Human Kinetics, outlines each of the major content areas that experts recommend should be included in any entry-level training program with the goal of preparing physical activity instructors to work with older adults. This document was identified as a high-priority strategy for the advancement of the National Blueprint, with leadership provided by the American College of Sports Medicine. A free pdf version of this document is available at

Sustainability Resource

The Centre for Research and Education in Human Services, based in Ontario, Canada, recently published a practical handbook that addresses steps not-for-profits can take to improve the ability to weather threats to their continued existence and improve sustainability. The manual covers partnership building, leadership and governance, relevance/research, and organizational culture. It can be downloaded free at

Adequate Literacy & Health Literacy: Pre-requisites for Informed Health Care Decision Making

The AARP Public Policy Institute is pleased to make available a new Issue Brief (IB#70), "Adequate Literacy and Health Literacy: Pre-requisites for Informed Health Care Decision Making" by Joyce Dubow, now available at Literacy and health literacy are skills that consumers must have to successfully navigate the health care system. This 11-page Issue Brief presents an overview of an under-recognized public policy issue. It addresses the importance of adequate literacy skills, the prevalence and effects of inadequate or marginal skills, and strategies to address the problems that arise from having poor skills. Finally, the public policy implications are identified, including the cost of poor health literacy to public and private payers and the importance of devising effective interventions to assist those with inadequate or marginal health literacy skills.

Becoming a Health Motivator for Older Adults

There are a wide range of motivators that can impact an individual’s commitment to improving health. The American Society on Aging (ASA) Live Well, Live Long project notes that professionals in aging can become motivators by redefining their roles as facilitators, not just as teachers or care providers. This involves advocating for relevant practices that invite participation and identifying self-empowerment strategies that fit into the lifestyle and daily routine of older adults. The ASA Blueprint for Health Promotion Web module, developed in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, outlines ways professionals in aging create environments that support healthy behaviors. For more information, go to

Health Promotion Practitioner Tips for Motivating Age 50+ Adults

Tips to motivate the 50+ group are offered by Health Promotion Practitioner (Jan/Feb 2004):

  • Take advantage of what they’ve learned about life, using their experiences to help you expand your program and influence.
  • Create a health mentoring program where 50-somethings are trained to support the behavior change efforts of others.
  • Make one-on-one counseling available – they want to do what they can to live a vital, long life.
  • Offer incentives such as tickets to local cultural events, rounds of golf, a chance for adventures like cruises, and a pat on the back for participating.


Living in a “Walkable” Area Is Key to Meeting Physical Activity Levels

43 percent of people with safe places to walk within ten minutes of home met recommended activity levels, while just 27 percent of those without safe places to walk were active enough. Powell, K.E., Martin, L., Chowdhury, P.P. (2003). Places to walk: convenience and regular physical activity. American Journal of Public Health, 93, 1519-1521.

How Much Physical Activity is Enough?

“There is compelling evidence that an active and fit way of life has many important health benefits and that sedentary habits are associated with an increased risk of numerous chronic diseases and decreased longevity,” notes physical activity experts in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004:79 (suppl):913S-20S). The evolution of physical activity recommendations: how much is enough? examines factors leading up to the development of differing physical activity recommendations, evaluates scientific foundations of the recommendations and discusses how they might be harmonized. The focus of the article is to determine how much physical activity is needed to avoid the adverse health consequences of a sedentary lifestyle.

AARP & ICAA Join Forces to Educate Members

AARP and the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) have joined forces to educate each other’s members. The organizations plan to share education, information, resources and tools. The ICAA will help improve knowledge about active aging among more than 35 million Americans who are AARP members and AARP will share research about aging and aging issues.


Funding for Innovative Approaches to Care Management

The Administration on Aging (AOA) is funding innovative approaches to the management of care in the Aging Services Network. Funding is available for existing programs and new ideas to promote the integration of health and social supports for older people and strengthen the position of the Network in health and long-term care. The AOA expects to award up to 20 grants at up to $50,000 each. Eligible applicants include non-profit community-based aging services provider organizations that currently receive funding under the Older Americans Act and Area Agencies on Aging. Three types of projects will be funded: Promising practices that identify and document existing models and approaches that can be replicated in other communities; program enhancements that build on an existing model or approach; and new models and approaches consistent with the purposes of the program. The due date for applications is September 10, 2004. A copy of the full program announcement, including application instructions, can be found at:

Northwest Health Foundation's Arthritis In Focus Grant Program

The Northwest Health Foundation's Arthritis In Focus grant program seeks to fund projects in Oregon and Washington that emphasize community-based collaborative research as an approach that will lead to novel, effective prevention or treatment interventions for arthritis. Approximately $750,000 is available through the program for projects that assess comprehensive approaches to reducing the burden of arthritis. This program seeks to support research that emphasizes the inclusion of affected community in all htmlects of the research process, bridging the social divide between academic researchers and communities by providing an opportunity for mutual learning and education. The deadline for applications is September 20, 2004. For information, go to

Aging Society Issue Brief at

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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Active for Life National Program Office | SRPH Building | 1266 TAMU | College Station, TX 77843-1266
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