July 13, 2007

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc, Alberta Centre for Active Living

Dog walkers are much fitter people
The Daily News (Nanaimo) (Thur 05 Jul 2007) writes that researchers from San Diego State University have found that dog owners who walk their dogs are more active and less overweight than those who let them out in the backyard for exercise.

The study surveyed 2, 200 people — of which one third were dog owners — in Seattle, Washington and Baltimore.

Out of the dog owners surveyed, two thirds of the “walkers” had a lower body mass index, weighing about six pounds less than those who didn't walk their dogs.

Forty-three per cent of those in the walking category took their dogs out for more than two and a half hours a week, meaning they're achieving the weekly physical activity minimum (as recommended by Centers for Disease and Control Prevention) just by walking Rover.

Health of the Nation: Summer 2007 (
The aim of the newsletter is to expand pan-Canadian understanding of population health research, policy and knowledge exchange by promoting CPHI activities across the country.

Regina restructures fees to encourage fitness

The Leader-Post reports that starting in September, the city will restructure recreation fees to encourage fitness among all age groups. Changes include

  • Adding a young adult category.

  • Reducing fees for child, youth and family categories.

  • Expanding privileges to which general admission customers and pass-holders are entitled.

A city report forecasts that although revenues could drop by $10,000 annually, the fee reduction is will increase participation. Leisure passes will be priced at par with comparable services at private facilities.
City employees receive a 50 per cent discount on passes for civic fitness and leisure facilities, and youth and seniors will receive a 25% discount.

Sports participation among Aboriginal children, 2006
Coming soon to

Nearly two-thirds of Aboriginal children participate regularly in sports, with Métis and Inuit children most involved, according to a new study.

The study, “Aboriginal children's sport participation in Canada,” which used data from Statistics Canada's 2001 Aboriginal Peoples Survey, was published in July 2007 in the journal Pimatisiwin: A Journal of Aboriginal and Indigenous Community Health, special issue on sport, recreation, and physical activity.

The study found that 65 per cent of Aboriginal children aged 14 and under played sports outside school hours at least once a week, a rate similar to that of Canadian children in general.

Aboriginal boys were more likely to participate than girls, while children aged 5 to 11 were more active than younger or older children. Participation in sports was less common for both adolescent boys and girls.

Métis and Inuit children have higher rates of sports participation than either First Nations children or those who identified themselves as both First Nations and Métis.

Among First Nations children, those living off-reserve had higher rates of participation than those living on-reserve. Otherwise, where children lived had little relevance, as the results showed no differences in sport participation between Aboriginal children who lived in urban, rural and Arctic regions.

Aboriginal children who participated in sports came from higher-income families and had parents with higher levels of education than did children who did not participate. Children were also more likely to participate if they lived with both parents and had fewer siblings.

Sports participants tended to watch fewer hours of television than non-participants, the study found. However, participants also spent more time playing video games than did non-participants.

The study discusses these findings as well as their implications for programs aimed at increasing sport participation in Aboriginal children.

The study Aboriginal Children's Sport Participation in Canada, published in July 2007 in Pimatisiwin: A Journal of Aboriginal and Indigenous Community Health, will be available soon in English only. To obtain a copy, consult the website (

For more information or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this survey, contact Leanne Findlay (613-951-4648;, Health Analysis and Measurement Group.

Spotlight on research breakfast— “Getting older: Staying stronger”

Featured Speaker: Darryl B. Rolfson, MD, FRCPC Shaw Conference Centre (Edmonton, AB), November 1, 2007


Exercise effect on weight and body fat in men and women.
McTiernan, A., Sorensen, B., Irwin, M.L., Morgan, A., Yasui, Y., Rudolph, R.E., Surawicz, C., Lampe, J.W., Lampe, P.D., Ayub, K., & Potter, J.D. (2007). Exercise effect on weight and body fat in men and women. (2007). Obesity (Silver Spring), 15(6), 1496–1512.

Objectives: The effect of national exercise recommendations on adiposity is unknown and may differ by sex. We examined long-term effects of aerobic exercise on adiposity in women and men.

Research methods and procedures: This was a 12-month randomized, controlled clinical trial testing exercise effect on weight and body composition in men (N = 102) and women (N = 100).

Sedentary/unfit persons, 40 to 75 years old, were recruited through physician practices and media. The intervention was facility- and home-based moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic activity, 60 min/d, 6 days/wk vs. controls (no intervention).

Results: Exercisers exercised a mean 370 min/wk (men) and 295 min/wk (women), and seven dropped the intervention.

Exercisers lost:

  • Weight (women, -1.4 vs. +0.7 kg in controls, p = 0.008; men, –1.8 vs. -0.1 kg in controls, p = 0.03).

  • BMI (women, –0.6 vs. +0.3 kg/m(2) in controls, p = 0.006; men, –0.5 kg/m(2) vs. no change in controls, p = 0.03).

  • Waist circumference (women, –1.4 vs. +2.2 cm in controls, p < p =" 0.003).
  • Total fat mass (women, –1.9 vs. +0.2 kg in controls, p = 0.001; men, –3.0 vs. + 0.2 kg in controls, p <>

Exercisers with greater increases in pedometer-measured steps per day had greater decreases in weight, BMI, body fat, and intra-abdominal fat (all p trend <0.05>.

Similar trends were observed for increased minutes per day of exercise and for increases in maximal oxygen consumption.

Discussion: These data support the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Institute of Medicine guidelines of 60 min/d of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.


An assessment of the methods and concepts used to synthesize the evidence of effectiveness in health promotion: A review of 17 initiatives

Are we doing enough? A status report on Canadian public policy and child and youth health

To encourage policy-makers to examine their own progress on child and youth issues and to foster discussion among Canadians, the Canadian Paediatric Society has produced a status report on public policy affecting children and youth.

This report is published and looks at how effectively Canada’s provinces and territories are using their legislative powers to promote the health and safety of children and youth. [Editor’s note: There is a whole section on obesity prevention and the promotion of physical activity.]

Compilation of evidence of effective active living interventions: A case study approach

The effectiveness of interventions to increase physical activity in marginalized populations
(Click on “public health reviews.” It will be the first document listed.)

The definition of marginalized includes: “women, adolescents, older adults, those residing in rural locations, people with low incomes, those with a disability, culturally diverse populations including refugees and new immigrants, single parents, and people with low educational attainment.”

The Ontario Public Health Research Education and Development (PHRED) program is responsible for fostering public health research use in Ontario.

One role of the PHREDs is to conduct clinically relevant research into public health, health promotion and primary care, and to foster evidence-based practice and policy making.

An initiative within PHRED is the Effective Public Health Practice Project (EPHPP), an initiative involving public health researchers, practitioners, and policy makers from across the province. The EPHPP conducts effectiveness reviews of public health interventions and summarizes current reviews of effectiveness that are relevant to public health practice.

Guidelines for analysis of investments in bicycle facilities (2006)
(119 pages, 4MB)

On page 2, bicycle facilities are defined as:

  • on street (bike lanes, wide curb lanes, etc.)

  • off street (shared use paths or trails)

  • equipment (signs, traffic signals, barriers, etc.)

Guidelines for health research involving Aboriginal people

NSW Centre for Physical Activity and Health

[Editor’s note: Make sure you look at their publications section, which includes many good resources here.]

Physical activity (evidence briefing) (March 2004)

This evidence briefing seeks to collate review-level evidence about the effectiveness of interventions to increase physical activity among adults. It also identifies gaps in primary and review-level research and makes a number of recommendations, including future research that might address inequalities in health.

Physical activity and environment: Draft guidance (July 2007)

Physical activity and health: Evidence and research

From the Australian Government, Department of Health and Aging.

Promotion of physical activity in children: Final Scope (May 2007)

Promoting healthier communities and narrowing health inequalities: A self-assessment tool for local authorities

This self-assessment tool aims to help councils consider whether there are gaps in their capacity to tackle the health problems in their area. It focuses on councils' capacity to tackle health inequalities, but assumes that they will be drawing on the capacity of partners in the local strategic partnerships (LSP), particularly the resources of PCTs.

Walking program Resources (BCRPA)

The BCRPA, with funding from ActNow BC and in partnership with 2010 Legacies Now, has developed informative and user-friendly walking program resources to guide communities, worksites and individuals implementing or reviewing current walking programs.

The walking program resources are relevant province-wide and offer useful ideas, easy-to-use tools and practical strategies to consider as walking programs are designed, implemented or revised. These are the most recent additions to the Association’s Active Communities Initiative.

What older women want
A new website for doctors and patients. Under each heading is an entire section on “exercise.”

Workplace physical activity: Final scope (April 2007)

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