April 18, 2007

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc, Resource Coordinator

1. MEDIA (Some interesting ideas and initiatives)

Manitoba makes phys-ed compulsory in high school
The news (Wed 11 Apr 2007) reports that Manitoba's high school students will head back to gym class in 2008 — whether they want to or not. The provincial government announced Tuesday that physical education and health education will become a required part of the curriculum for grades 11 and 12, starting in September 2008.

In addition to traditional gym classes, students will be able to earn the phys-ed credit for taking part in intramural sports, school teams and community-based activities, such as fitness workouts or other organized exercise. Out-of-class physical activities will require teachers and parents or guardians to sign off on them and activities off school property must be supervised by community-based coaches or instructors.

New Canadian guidelines on the management and prevention of obesity
The first-ever Canadian Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) on the Management and Prevention of Obesity in Adults and Children, published April 10, 2007 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), recommend that waist circumference be measured in all Canadian adults, and that a national surveillance system be developed that incorporates this measurement along with height and weight.

The executive summary of the CPGs will appear as a supplement to the April 10, 2007, issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.


Waist-to-height ratio is an accurate and easier index for evaluating obesity in children and adolescents
Y. Weili, B. He , H. Yao, J. Dai, J. Cui, D. Ge, Y. Zheng, L. Li, Y. Guo, K. Xiao, X. Fu, & D. Ma, School of Public Health, Xinjiang Medical University, 8 Xinyi Rd. Urumqi 830054, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China.

Objectives: The study aims to evaluate the accuracy of the index of waist-to-height ratio (WHTR), and proposed the optimal thresholds of WHTR in the definition of childhood overweight and obesity in a bi-ethnic Chinese school-aged population.

Research methods and procedures: Overweight and obese were identified by BMI for age and gender in a random sample, including 2055 Han and 2132 Uygur ethnic school-aged children (eight to 18 years old). WHTR was calculated by waist circumference divided by height on the basis of standard anthropometric measurements.

Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses were performed to assess the accuracy of WHTR as a diagnostic test for childhood overweight and obesity, compared with waist circumference. The optimal thresholds of WHTR for defining overweight and obesity were recommended respectively by gender. The correlation between WHTR and age was analyzed and compared with BMI.

Results: A-values (area under curve) of WHTR for diagnosing overweight and obesity were both over 0.90 in both genders and better than those of waist circumference. A threshold of 0.445 was identified for overweight in both genders, with the sensitivity and specificity >0.80. The thresholds for defining obesity was 0.485 in boys and 0.475 in girls, both having the sensitivity and specificity >0.90. WHTR showed less association with age than BMI.

Conclusions: WHTR is a simple, easy, accurate and non-age-dependent index with high applicability to screening overweight and obesity in children and adolescents. The use of WHTR in the general childhood population has been justified by this study.


Fitness programs: Staying motivated
Have you ever started a fitness program and then quit? If you answer yes, you're not alone. Many people start programs but stop when they get bored or results come too slowly. Here's help for staying motivated.

Health and social benefits of recreation
It looks like a version of the CPRA benefits catalogue from a California perspective

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada position statement: Schools and physical activity

Heart healthy kids physical activity handbook
This program was created to help elementary teachers incorporate physical activity into their daily classroom schedule. Activity habits developed early in life can carry over into adulthood and this program places emphasis on reducing inactivity and increasing daily participation in moderate activity.

April 11, 2007

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc, Resource Coordinator

1. MEDIA (Some interesting ideas and initiatives)

Drugs & exercise over angioplasty to prevent heart attacks
The Globe and Mail (Tue 27 Mar 2007 Byline: Unnati Gandhi) writes that a new study has found that opening up blocked arteries using angioplasty is no more effective at preventing heart attacks than treatment combining heart drugs, a balanced diet and regular exercise.

The results support a standard of practice many Canadian cardiologists have been observing in recent years, in which angioplasties are only recommended if drug therapy and lifestyle changes aren't working, says a co-author of the study. For the study, about 2,300 patients with stable but significant heart disease were randomly assigned to one of two treatment regimens at 50 U.S. and Canadian treatment centres.

The first group received drug therapy alone (cholesterol-lowering drugs, blood-pressure medication and aspirin), while the second group received the same drug therapy plus angioplasty — a medical procedure that uses a balloon to open narrowed or clogged blood vessels of the heart. The drugs that are taken after an angioplasty were considered to be part of the procedure.
After five years, the researchers found there was no reduced risk of heart attack or death in the group that had an angioplasty on top of the drug therapy. In that group, 211 patients suffered major cardiac events (including heart attacks and strokes), compared with 202 in the drug group. However, those who underwent an angioplasty did show a reduced prevalence of angina.

Group says it will spend $500 million to fight childhood obesity
The Robert Wood Johnson foundation plans to sponsor programs in USA that emphasize familiar themes like the "walking school bus,' where parents could herd students house-to-house and walk them to school.


Reviews of health promotion and education online
This electronic trilingual journal is freely accessible to anybody, thanks to the IUHPE, to the Public Health Agency of Canada.


Embracing cultural diversity in health care: Developing cultural competence
This guideline by the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario provides an overview of the most compelling evidence that leaders at every level can use to embed workplaces with a culture that moves all team members past knowing about diversity to understanding it, accepting the differences it brings to work settings, & finally to seeking and embracing it. (While this resource is geared to nurses the information [especially the checklist tables on pp. 30, 36 & 47] can be applied to other groups. At the bottom of the web page you have the option to download the entire document and the summary).

Factors affecting the communication and understanding of known and potential/theoretical risks to health in northern Aboriginal communities Information/implications that can be extrapolated to determine how to frame health messaging around physical activity ...

Failing fitness: Physical activity and physical education in schools

Fitness barriers: Overcoming common problems
Sticking to a regular exercise schedule isn't easy. After all, there are plenty of potential hindrances — time, boredom, injuries, self-confidence. But these issues don't need to stand in your way. This article offers practical strategies for overcoming common barriers to fitness.

Fitness on a budget: Low-cost ideas for shaping up
If the only thing keeping you from starting a fitness program is the cost of a gym membership, here's good news. You don't need to join a gym to take exercise seriously. This article outlines plenty of low-cost alternatives that can help you get fit without breaking your budget.

April 4, 2007

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc, Resource Coordinator

1. MEDIA (Some interesting ideas and initiatives)

Canada's new government launches first ever national food guide for First Nations, Inuit and M├ętis
"This is the first time that Canada's Food Guide has been tailored nationally to reflect the unique values, traditions and food choices of Aboriginal populations," said Minister Clement. "As a complement to the new 2007 version of Canada's Food Guide, this tailored food guide includes traditional food from the land and sea, and provides the best, most current information for eating well and living healthy."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unveiled a new site designed to improve the usability and performance of
The new website provides better access to health and safety topics, data and statistics, news and events, and expanded tools and resources, as well as an improved search engine. The new website is user-centered, based on research, and is the product of extensive user testing of CDC’s principal audiences.


Former CMAJ editors help launch online medical journal
A group of Canadian doctors and editors is launching a new online medical journal that they say will be free from the influence of pharmaceutical companies. Open Medicine is an open-access journal that won't charge subscription fees or run advertisements for drugs or medical devices. The first issue goes live online on Wednesday April 25. There is no print edition.


Assessment and action for healthy settings. schools, communities, workplaces, public health organizations & more
This event will focus on healthy environments and will highlight research on disease prevention and health promotion with a special emphasis on approaches and tools for assessing health challenges and opportunities in specific settings as well as for developing and evaluating effective interventions. The event will take place in St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador, on July 4-6, 2007.

The built environment and physical activity: what is the relationship?

The Canadian Health Services Research Foundation announces new, free online database of resources designed for health services organizations
The database collects resources identified and developed by the Foundation and others and provides a one-stop shop for tools — including strategies, stories, frameworks, evaluation plans and literature that leads to action — that can help health system managers, policy makers and their organizations acquire, appraise, adapt and apply relevant research in their work. By improving their use of research in decision-making, health system decision-makers can be confident they are making the best possible choices to improve the health of Canadians.

Community projects promoting active communities
This presentation from a recent workshop on designing active communities, provides an overview of the history and various projects of the Pathways to Health Committee, including trails promotion, development of a website, trails user survey, commuter challenge and various community events.

Complete street fact sheets
Five fact sheets from the National Complete Streets Coalition. Topics include safety, health, children, older people, and people with disabilities.
The streets of our cities and towns ought to be for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper. But too many of our streets are designed only for speeding cars, or worse, creeping traffic jams. They’re unsafe for people on foot or bike — and unpleasant for everybody. Now, in communities across the country, a movement is growing to complete the streets. States, cities and towns are asking their planners, engineers and designers to build road networks that welcome all citizens.