January 12, 2007

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc
Resource Coordinator
Alberta Centre for Active Living


Missoula (Mt) runners use "check out dog" program
According to a Dec. 6th news release, "Staff at the Forest Service's Fire Science Lab have found a great way to get physical activity during their work day and to be kind to the Animal Shelter's dogs at the same time. These workers use their breaks to 'check out' a dog at the nearby County Animal Shelter to accompany them on a run or walk. Research shows that people are more likely to get physical activity if they have someone, like an exercise partner, to help motivate them. With an estimated 25,000 dogs living in Missoula, there are ample opportunities for a walking buddy.

When we take a dog out for their daily walk, we are not only receiving health benefits and physical activity for them but also for ourselves. Research shows that 80% of individuals who own a dog walk it once a day for at least 10 minutes. 42% of dog walkers accumulated at least 30 minutes of walking for at least 10 minutes each.


Healthy lifestyle behaviors among older U.S. adults with and without disabilities, Behavioral risk factor surveillance system, 2003
Personal, family, social, and environmental correlates of active commuting to schoolAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol: 30 Issue: 1 Pages: 45-51 2006Background: Active commuting to school may be an important opportunity for children to accumulate adequate physical activity for improved cardiovascular risk factors, enhanced bone health, and psychosocial well-being.
The purpose of this study was to examine personal, family, social, and environmental correlates of active commuting to school among children. Methods: Cross-sectional study of 235 children aged 5 to 6 years and 677 children aged 10 to 12 years from 19 elementary schools in Melbourne, Australia. Self-administered questionnaires were completed by parents, and the older children. The shortest possible routes to school were examined using a geographic information system.
Results: Among both age groups, negative correlates of active commuting to school included parental perception of few other children in the neighborhood and no lights or crossings for their child to use, and an objectively assessed busy road barrier en route to school. In younger children, an objectively assessed steep incline en route to school was negatively associated with walking or cycling to school. Good connectivity en route to school was negatively associated with walking or cycling to school among older children.

Among both age groups, children were more likely to actively commute to school if their route was <>

Conclusions: For children, creating child-friendly communities and providing skills to safely negotiate the environment may be important. Environmental correlates of active transport in children and adults may differ and warrant further investigation.

Physical activity and school recess time: Differences between the sexes and the relationship between children's playground physical activity and habitual physical activity
Journal of Sports Sciences Vol: 23 Issue: 3 Pages: 269-275 2005
The aims of this study were: (1) to observe participation in mode rate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during school recess periods; (2) to determine the relative importance of physical activity during recesses to overall daily physical activity, and (3) to examine differences in physical activity between the sexes during unstructured recess periods. The participants were 22 school children (10 boys, 12 girls) aged 8-10 years (mean = 8.9, s = 0.7) in the third and fourth grades.

Daily totals for the physical activity variables were calculated by summing the values for each hour of 14 h of physical activity measurements (08:00 to 22:00 h). Recess times (minutes) were as follows: morning 10:30 to 11:00 h and afternoon 15:30 to 16:00 h. We did not differences between boys and girls in daily total accelerometer counts or the overall time spent in MVPA. However, girls were significantly (P < 0.05) more involved (38%) in MVPA during recess time than boys (31%). Participation in MVPA during recess contributes significantly more (P < 0.05) for girls (19%) than boys (15%) to the total amount of physical activity suggested by international health-related physical activity guidelines, while the percentage of time engaged in MVPA during recess time at school accounts for a small amount of the daily MVPA (6% for boys and 8% for girls).
The results of this study suggest that school recess time is an important setting to promote MVPA and contributes to daily physical activity in young children, especially in girls.

NOTE: There are many more articles. To produce the full list yourself go to - click on the search feature (bottom of the left column); use the keywords physical activity (make sure you choose AND); make sure you are searching for 'all references'; if you choose the 'short form' it will list all the titles (when you click on them you will see all the article info); if you choose 'long form,' you get the full meal deal right away.


Healthy steps workplace guide
Describes a free, four-week walking program designed to gradually increase an employee's level of physical activity. Participants use step counters to measure the number of steps they take throughout the day and set goals to increase their steps each week. Includes a guide for participants and one for the coordinator.

While you're at this site - use the 'health information A-Z' link to also find all the info they have on AL, PA, workplace etc

ICAA welcome back to fitness toolkit
The International Council on Active Aging’s Welcome Back to Fitness toolkit is designed to help older adults get back into a fitness regime, whether at home, at a club, with a personal trainer or on their own. The toolkit is available on the ICAA website and features topics such how to get started, age friendly equipment and physical activities, what look for in a trainer and questions to ask your doctor before getting started. An age-friendly fitness and wellness facilities locator (in United States and Canada) is also available.

The NICE clinical guideline on the prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in adults and children
The NICE clinical guideline on the prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in adults and children covers many things including:- how people can make sure they and their children stay at a healthy weight- how health professionals, local authorities and communities, childcare providers, schools and employers should make it easier for people to improve their diet and become more active.Go to the web-site itself to download the resources.

Objective measures of physical activity levels of Canadian children and youth
The Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute (CFLRI) has recently released the third set of topics from its 2005 Physical Activity Monitoring Report. This is the second topic that asks how active are Canadian children and youth?

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