August 24, 2007

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc, Alberta Centre for Active Living


Physical activity recommended for children with chronic health conditions

Children with chronic health conditions should be encouraged to participate in sports.

Soon there will be guidelines about physical activity in children with specific conditions, according to Dr. John Philpott, who is heading the joint effort of the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine and the Canadian Pediatric Society.


A review of physical activity interventions for children from two to five years of age

Changing behaviours: A practical framework

This resource describes and provides examples for the eight conditions required to change personal health behaviours.

Physical activity measurement in children two to five years of age

Tools to measure the walkability and cycleability of the local environment

Four fact sheets and eight audit tools.

TravelSmart Australia
TravelSmart Australia brings together the many community and government based programs that are asking Australians to use alternatives to travelling in their private car.

(Editors note: There is lots of excellent information here. I've highlighted a few things below, but there is much, much more!)

Trends in population levels of sufficient physical activity in NSW 1998-2005


Health reports: Physically active Canadians

A new study has just been released by Statistics Canada based on information from the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). The report itself can be downloaded from

Study looks at how health habits and lifestyle change with new baby

[Source: CanWest News Service] When baby arrives, many couples wave good-bye to their pre-parenthood weight, eating habits and exercise regimes, or at least that's what University of Victoria exercise psychologist Ryan Rhodes and fellow researchers suspect.

But previous research suggests parenthood is a major life change that has negative fallout for good health habits due to time constraints and round-the-clock new demands.

Whether or not there is truth to this particular research is part of a new $190,000 study comparing new parents and non-parents.

Sponsored by the Canadian Diabetes Association, it's touted as one of the most comprehensive studies to date that looks at promoting parental health.

Despite their expertise, Rhodes and other investigators found themselves going to "great lengths" to keep their own routines on track when their bundles of joy took over leisure and sleep time. That, too, got them interested in more research.

As well, "almost nothing" is known about the nutritional behaviours of parents, he adds, noting that previous research suggests parents eat the equivalent of an entire pizza more per week than non-parents of the same age.

Nor have previous studies measured physical fitness objectively and combined it with food intake and activity. New parents will be compared to a control group of similar couples without kids.

The UVic Behavioural Medicine Lab is looking for 100 more couples, both those already expecting and those not considering their first child for the next two years.

By documenting the habits of couples who keep their healthy behaviours versus those who slide, the study should shed light on the personal attitudes, values, social supports and barriers such as available childcare that come into play, he adds.

Home and neighbourhood issues that will be evaluated include proximity to fast food restaurants, recreation centres, walking paths and heavily trafficked streets.

Activities of daily living, including carrying around a child, does increase with parenthood, but they're generally not vigorous enough to top previous exercise regimes, Rhodes surmises.

Moreover, the major time crunch can mean less meal planning and more exhaustion, which can lead to comfort feedings for parents. A few years of being a parent could instil less healthy habits which continue even when more free time opens up.

With so much focus on the health of their children, parents can neglect themselves and have been neglected in past research, says Rhodes.

The study will include a nutritionist, a sociologist looking at gender differences and an exercise physiologist to look at fitness changes, including professors as far away as Penn State and Dalhousie University.

August 17, 2007

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


$22m plan aims to make one million healthier in B.C.

Right now in British Columbia, only about half the population is considered at a healthy body weight, 20 per cent are smokers, 40 per cent are physically inactive and most — 60 per cent — don't eat the recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables.

That may soon be about to change — just in time for the 2010 Olympic Games.

On Tuesday, the provincial government, in conjunction with an alliance representing nine B.C. health professional groups, government organizations and non-governmental agencies, announced a new funding initiative worth $22 million aimed at promoting healthier lifestyles for British Columbians …


By your own two feet: Factors associated with active transportation in Canada [Editor’s note: You’ll have to scroll down the page a bit. It’s the 3rd heading under August 9.]

The purpose of this study is to examine socio-demographic, geographic and physical activity correlates of walking and cycling for non-leisure purposes, i.e., to work, school, or errands, in Canada.


Active travel publications

[Editor’s note: There are lots of active travel publications here — make sure you take a look!]

A range of active travel information sheets and publications are available to download, including those produced by Active Travel Cymru and Active Travel Scotland.

Also available are:

  • Active Travel News, a quarterly newsletter focusing on physical activity and public health from a transport viewpoint.
  • Healthy Travel Newsletter, produced by Active Travel for the Department of Health, to promote travel plans in the NHS.

Green Grants Program

Wal-Mart Canada and Evergreen, a non-profit environmental organization, recently announced the first 48 community recipients of the five-year, $2.5 million Wal-Mart Evergreen Green Grants program.

Funded by Wal-Mart Canada and led by Evergreen, the grants offer as much as $10,000 to public groups introducing or revitalizing green space in Canadian communities.

The grants are available nationwide and awarded by Evergreen on the basis of merit and an application review process. The next application deadline for the Green Grants Program is October 31, 2007.

International conference on physical activity and obesity in children

The conference proceedings from the International Conference on Physical Activity and Obesity in Children, held last June in Toronto are now available.

Major community facilities program

This program helps communities to plan, upgrade and develop large community-use facilities and places in order to enhance community life and citizen well-being.

Municipalities, not-for-profit organizations and Aboriginal communities can apply for funding for projects identified as a priority by the community.

Projects that meet the criteria for the program include sports, recreational, cultural or other related family and community wellness facilities.

Tackling obesity by creating healthy residential environments

The project identifies some ways to address the health effects of the residential environment by reviewing the relationship between the design and the quality of the residential neighbourhood and the opportunities for physical activity.

The project identified and disseminated best-practice examples of improved residential environments (walkability, sense of security, etc.), and their impact on physical activity and reducing obesity.

August 3, 2007

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


Documentary series - Unnatural causes
Unnatural Causes will, for the first time on television, sound the alarm about America's glaring socio-economic and racial inequities in health--and search for their root causes. The four-hour series (for PBS broadcast and DVD release) sifts through the evidence suggesting there is more to our health than bad habits, health care, or unlucky genes. The social conditions in which we are born, live and work profoundly affect our health and longevity...

Intensive walking good for seniors
The Times Colonist (Victoria) (Sat 21 Jul 2007 Source: Reuters) writes that according to results of a study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, high-intensity walking helps elderly adults keep their blood pressure in check, maintain thigh muscle strength, and increase their exercise capacity. Moderately paced walking (about 6 kilometres per hour) is thought to protect against disability and is recommended for middle-aged and older people. However, such walking may not be intense enough to improve aerobic exercise capacity. Patients of Dr. Hiroshi Nose and colleagues from Shinshu University Graduate School of Medicine, Matsumoto, Japan, who engaged in high-intensity walking, which included several short intervals of high-intensity walking interspersed with intervals of low-intensity walking, showed greater improvements in blood pressure, thigh muscle strength, and exercise capacity.

Russ Kisby passed away
Russ Kisby, past president and co-creator of ParticipACTION, died Friday July 20th. Kisby, a Saskatchewan native with degrees in both physical education and community development, was a key player for the 29-year run of ParticipACTION, a program which promoted health and active lifestyles.

Born in Yorkton, Sask., Kisby received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University of Saskatchewan in 1963. In 1968, he earned a master’s degree in community leadership and development from Springfield College in Massachusetts.

In 1964, he was appointed director of physical education for the Montreal Central YMCA, and in 1968 he became national director of physical education, National Council of YMCAs of Canada. When ParticipACTION was inaugurated in 1972, Kisby was named its national programs director. He became vice-president in 1975, and president in 1978.

Other honours include the Canada 125 Medal from the federal government in 1992. In 1991, he was the sole recipient of the National Ortho Award from the Canadian Public Health Association, “For outstanding contribution to health in Canada.”

“Russ was one of the most special people that I have ever met,’’ said Kelly D. Murumets, president and chief executive officer of ParticipACTION. Kisby is survived by his wife Merle Kisby, a daughter and grandchildren.

Updated physical activity guidelines released: The American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association provide physical activity recommendations for adults and older adults
The recommendations are an update and clarification of the 1995 recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ACSM on the types and amounts of physical activity needed by healthy adults to improve and maintain health. The intent is to provide a more comprehensive and explicit public health recommendation for adults based upon available evidence of the health benefits of physical activity.
If you look in the right hand column there is a link to Scientific Statements and Practice Guidelines for 2006-2007. Click on it and it takes you to a page where you can download:
  • ACSM/AHA Physical Activity and Public Health: Updated Recommendation for Adults
  • ACSM/AHA Physical Activity and Public Health in Older Adults

World record walk 2007
This website contains all you need to know about the World Record Walk 2007 and Ontario’s challenge to break the Guinness World Record for the largest number of people walking one kilometer at the same time! The World Record Walk will be held on October 3, 2007, 12:30 PM EDT.


Journals of interest to health promoters and communicators (Revised 2007)

Moderate exercise and bright light treatment in overweight and obese individuals.
Dunai A., Novak M., Chung S.A., Kayumov L., Keszei A., Levitan R., Shapiro C.M. Moderate exercise and bright light treatment in overweight and obese individuals. Obesity (Silver Spring), 2007 Jul, 15(7), 1749-57

OBJECTIVE: Increased physical activity is important given the concern over the growing rates of obesity. The aim of this study is to conduct a controlled investigation of the effects of bright light therapy and exercise on weight loss and body composition in overweight and obese individuals.

RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Twenty-five overweight and obese subjects were assigned to 6 weeks of moderate exercise with or without bright light treatment. Outcome measure included changes in body mass and body composition and ratings of mood, seasonality, and sleep.

RESULTS: Body weight decreased significantly with exercise in subjects in the light and non-light treatment groups, but the change was not significantly different between the groups. Similar results were found for BMI. With exercise, body fat decreased significantly only in the light treatment group. There was a significant effect of the interaction of group by time on body fat composition, but the group by time interaction failed to reach statistical significance for body weight and BMI. Mood scores improved significantly with exercise in the light group, but no significant changes were noted regarding sleep.

DISCUSSION: This preliminary study is the first to show that addition of bright light treatment to a 6-week moderate exercise program can alter body composition by significantly reducing body fat. The reduction in body fat mass is of particular importance, because visceral fat has been particularly implicated as a major factor in the development of the metabolic syndrome. This study is an important step toward finding ways to maximize the effects of exercise.

Preventing chronic disease (July 2007)
There is a lot in this issue about health promotion, community health, and even some physical activity (children, older adults, and workplace). Click on the link to view the table of contents. All of the articles are available free on the web.


2005 Physical activity and sport monitor (CFLRI 2007)
The 2005 Physical Activity and Sport Monitor - Physical activity and sport: Encouraging children to be active, outlines the physical activity levels among adults, popular activities among adults, popular activities among youth, sport participation among children and youth, preferences and steps taken for organized vs. unorganized activities, sedentary pursuits after school and steps taken and active pursuits after school and steps taken.

A primer on active living for government officials

This primer provides an introduction on how state and local government officials can address the obesity crisis by promoting active living and healthy community design. It outlines the health and economic benefits of physical activity, and the role many government agencies play in encouraging physical activity through healthy community design.

An introduction to population health: E-learning course
The presentation provides an overview of the elements of population health, including definitions, key concepts and goals. In particular, the presentation highlights the concept of the social determinants of health, which are key elements of a population health perspective. Estimated completion time: 30 minutes

Collaborating centre for methods and tools
The National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools (NCCMT) is one of six Centres established by the Public Health Agency of Canada to promote evidence-based public health decision-making. The mission of each Centre is to translate existing and new evidence produced by academics and researchers into easily accessible and useful information for public health managers, practitioners and policy makers.

Cultural barriers to exercise amongst the ethnic elderly

Economic impact of bicycling in Wisconsin
A 16-page report by the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation; for the Governor's Bicycle Coordinating Council. 2006. (3.2mb pdf)

Exercise programs for older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Conclusion: The strongest evidence supporting a beneficial effect of exercise in older adults exists in fall reduction.

Healthy schools, healthy communities and youth obesity: forums conducted in collaboration with the American Association of School Administrators - 2007

How neighborhoods can reduce the risk of obesity
It is increasingly clear that neighborhoods play an important role in stimulating
exercise and reducing the risk of obesity. To shed more light on this connection, a series of RAND studies has examined how neighborhood characteristics affect physical activity.

How to search for health promotion literature
A good set of instructions for searching for information in the web.

Leadership for healthy communities
Leadership for Healthy Communities (formerly known as Active Living Leadership) is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation designed to engage and support state and local policy leaders in efforts to create healthier communities by promoting policies and programs that will improve access to affordable healthy foods, increase opportunities for safe physical activity, and improve the social environments that shape how children perceive and relate to healthy eating and active living. The program places special emphasis on policy approaches with the potential to improve nutrition and increase physical activity among children at high risk for obesity.

Manual for Streets - 2 documents from the UK

1. Manual for streets (5 Mb) Manual for Streets provides guidance for practitioners involved in the planning, design, provision and approval of new residential streets, and modifications to existing ones. It aims to increase the quality of life through good design which creates more people-orientated streets.Published: 29 March 2007

2. The manual for streets: evidence and research (11 Mb) The Manual for Streets has updated geometric guidelines for low trafficked residential streets, examined the effect of the environment on road user behaviour, and drawn on practice in other countries. This research undertaken by Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) provides the evidence base upon which the revised geometric guidelines in the Manual for Streets are based, including link widths, forward visibility, visibility splays and junction spacing.Published: 19 June 2007

Multilingual & multicultural resources
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recognizes that individual and social risk factors affect the life-long heart health of Canadians. Research has shown that people of First Nations, African and South Asian descent are more likely to have high blood pressure and diabetes and are at greater risk of heart disease and stroke than the general population. The Foundation has translated and culturally adapted some resources to help you understand the risk factors and warning signs for heart disease and stroke.

Policy channel about health & wellness
There is an Interview on Policy Channel about Health & Wellness: Neil Mulholland, Senior Psychologist at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, talks about common mental illnesses and their symptoms and treatments. Also, Judy Newman from the Centre for Active Living shares tips on staying healthy. Finally, Liz Atkins opens up about the devastating psychological effects of war and the programs available for support. The link to these interviews is

Promoting healthy living in BC’s multicultural communities

Shifting to wellness
Helping shift workers live healthier lives. From the Keyano College BFFL.

Walk Score helps people find walkable places to live. Walk Score calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc.