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.

No comments: