December 21, 2007

Rosanne Prinsen, MSc, Alberta Centre for Active Living

Welcome to the final Info. Round-up for 2007. We’ll be taking a couple weeks off for the holidays. From all of us here at the Centre, we'd like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!


Inverse associations between cycling to work, public transport and overweight and obesity

Find out the associations between active commuting behaviour and overweight and obesity in New South Wales.


Active Living Resource Center (ALRC) 2007 City-SRTS pilot project city reports

In 2006, the ALRC staff began work on an SRTS program for diverse populations in heavily urbanized environments where schools are typically located in the middle of cities with row homes, multi-family dwellings and industrial neighbours.

A series of pilot workshops were presented in communities across the United States. You can download and read the reports from the first and second year of the program.

Renewed Nova Scotia Active Kids Healthy Kids strategy


Why health care renewal matters: Learning from Canadians with chronic health conditions

Canada must strengthen efforts to prevent chronic health conditions and support patients as active partners in their own care, says the Health Council of Canada’s latest report.

If governments act now, they can curb the growing epidemic of chronic illness such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.


(If you know of any others, please let me know at


Dietary practices, dining out behavior, and physical activity correlates of weight loss maintenance

Conclusion: The behavioural strategy of reducing consumption of fast foods could help people k weight off.

The combined approach of consuming five or more fruit and vegetable servings per day and attaining 150 minutes or more per week of physical activity was a common strategy among adults successful at weight loss maintenance.


Cardiorespiratory fitness and adiposity as mortality predictors in older adults

In this study population, fitness was a significant mortality predictor in older adults, independent of overall or abdominal adiposity.

Clinicians should consider the importance of preserving functional capacity by recommending regular physical activity for older individuals, normal-weight and overweight alike.

Developing a telephone assessment of physical activity (TAPA) questionnaire for older adults

Conclusion: The pilot test demonstrated that the TAPA questionnaire is a promising instrument for use as a brief, telephone-based questionnaire for assessing physical activity in older adults.

It is our exercise family: Experiences of ethnic older adults in a group-based exercise program

Conclusion: Findings from this study suggest strategies for developing community-based physical activity programs for older adults from ethnically diverse communities.

Translating a community-based motivational support program to increase physical activity among older adults with diabetes at community clinics: A pilot study of physical activity for a lifetime of success (PALS)

Interpretation: A community-based referral and support program to increase physical activity among elderly, ethnically diverse, low-income people with diabetes, many of whom are not English-speaking, may be thwarted by unforeseen barriers.

Those who enrol and participate in the PALS program appear to increase their level of physical activity.

Walking inside-out

AARP advice for walking indoors or outdoors during winter months.


America Walks!

America Walks launches new website. This is the latest piece in the America Walks 2007 technology upgrade.

Please explore the site and come back to see the numerous additions planned over the coming weeks and months.

Can newly acquired healthy behaviors persist? An analysis of health behavior decay

Conclusion: During an 18-month period, participants’ physical activity and dietary behaviors improved significantly. Even though behaviour improvement tended to be greater at six weeks, most healthy behaviours did not return to baseline levels after 18 months.

CJSR to revive bicycle traffic reports

From a recent announcement from the University of Alberta student radio station:

“Join CJSR Bicycle Traffic Reporters Daryl Richel and Karly Coleman as they head out every Thursday morning to check on bicycle traffic on the bike paths and streets of Edmonton.

"The Bicycle Traffic Report also includes interviews and features about cycling issues around town and around the world.

"You can listen to the Bicycle Traffic Report on Peter Chapman's new morning show Full English Breakfast heard Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Listen to the Bicycle Traffic Report and avoid those nasty bicycle bottlenecks on your bike commute to work. Two wheels good, four wheels bad.”

Get active and stay injury free

This article will first highlight the cost of injury in Ontario due to physical activity, as outlined in The Economic Burden of Injury in Ontario, released in 2006 by SMARTRISK.

They also offer tips on how to take part in physical activity while avoiding injury from the Canadian Health Network.

Inactive Australia

Find out the current activity levels of adult Australians in this newly released report from Pfizer and Sports Medicine Australia.

ISBNPA Conference '08

Next year's conference of the International Society for Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) takes place in Canada in May. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 15 January.

Ongoing physical activity advice by humans versus computers: The CHAT Trial

Are real people more effective than computers in providing advice on being physically active?


A survey of policies and local ordinances supporting physical activity in Hawaii counties

Interpretation: The most populous county, Honolulu, had the most policies in place, although discrepancies existed between reported and written policies.

This baseline measure of physical activity–related policies will help focus efforts of county coalitions to increase opportunities for physical activity. Additional policies should be tracked with population behaviour surveillance.

Cities, sustainability and health

Cities, sustainability and health is the focus of the latest issue of the N.S.W. Public Health bulletin.

Neighbourhood walkability and TV viewing time among Australian Adults

Another publication from the PLACE study shows the links between neighbourhood environments and sedentary behaviour.

Trail-building toolbox
Building trails is not always a simple, straightforward task. Transforming former railroad tracks into a vibrant rail-trail requires technical know-how, support from your community, guidance from experienced trail builders and successful strategies to overcome barriers.

Whether you are new to the trail movement, or a seasoned trail builder, use Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's resources to find answers to technical questions or to guide you through the trail-building process.


Get Moving at Work Tasmania

This kit for workplace health and wellbeing programs was launched in October 2007. The audit tool has also been based very closely on the work of the Alberta Centre for Active Living.

December 14, 2007

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc (Alberta Centre for Active Living)


Active Education Physical Education, Physical Activity and Academic Performance

There are competing schools of thought in relation to the importance of research linking physical education and academic achievement.

Early Life Determinants of Physical Activity in 11 to 12 Year Olds: Cohort Study

This piece of research looks at factors in early life (up to the age of 5 years) that are associated with objectively measured physical activity in 11-12 year olds.


The Effect of Season and Weather on Physical Activity: A Systematic Review

“This review looked at previous research concerned with the effect of seasonality and the weather on physical activity participation, as an influencer of conditions of the built environment.”

Effectiveness of Exercise-Referral Schemes to Promote Physical Activity in Adults: Systematic Review

“Despite the health benefits of physical activity, most adults do not take the recommended amount of exercise.”

Ontario Society of Physical Activity Promoters in Public Health [OSPAPPH)
Announced Dec 12/07 (no website address yet)

“Our mission is to elevate physical activity as a public health priority in Ontario through engagement, education, advocacy and strategic alliances.

“This organization builds on the strengths of an established infrastructure and mandate within the public-health system, as well as the partnerships formed at the community, provincial and national levels with the ultimate purpose of increasing physical activity levels in Ontario.
“We look forward to working more closely with our members and partners in pursuit of a healthier, more active Ontario!”


Financial Health
Financial health is often a topic overlooked by people when they are considering an assessment of their “health.” We also know that when people are a victim of investment fraud, aside from financial loss, mental and physical health are the next casualties.

The following documents, are available from the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC), and provide helpful information:

To understand more about the impact of fraud on victims and their families, read the Executive Summary from ASC’s national investor study.

For more tips on investing and your financial health, visit the For Investors section on the ASC's website at

Health Effects of Exercise

If you missed ABC Radio National's interview with leading physical activity researcher Professor Steven Blair, who visited Australia from the U.S.A., you can access the transcript here.

It's Your Health Web Site: Update

The changes to the site were based on suggestions received from subscribers and Healthcare, Educational and Internal Advisory Committees.

You will now find articles organized under themes (such as Diseases, Food & Nutrition, Lifestyles) and audiences (such as Seniors, Parents & Children, Women).


Leisure Program for Mental Health Sufferers in Calgary

The Calgary Herald reports on a leisure recreation program run by the Canadian Mental Health Association Calgary Region and funded by the United Way of Calgary and Area.


Cost of Eating in B.C. 2007: The Bite Nutritious Food Takes From the Income Pie

This report is published by Dietitians of Canada, B.C. Region in partnership with the Community Nutritionists Council of B.C.

The report demonstrates that some groups within our population are denied the right to safe and nutritious food due to limited financial resources.

Health Check Launches New Website

“With over 1,300 licensed products , including many of Canada’s leading brands, the Health Check symbol can be found in every food group, in virtually every grocery store aisle across the country and on a growing number of restaurant menus.

"Health Check’s growth is making it easier for Canadians to find healthy choices in grocery stores and in restaurants.”


Planning for Health: The Built Environment (Australia)

“The Public Health Bulletin South Australia is a publication of the South Australian
Department of Health.

“The Bulletin aims to provide current data and information to practitioners and policy makers emphasizing the value of orienting services towards prevention, promotion and early intervention and to support effective public health interventions.”


Safe to Walk? Neighborhood Safety and Physical Activity Among Public Housing Residents

“Despite its health benefits, physical inactivity is pervasive, particularly among those living in lower-income urban communities.

“In such settings, neighborhood safety may impact willingness to be regularly physically active. We examined the association of perceived neighborhood safety with pedometer-determined physical activity and physical activity self-efficacy.”

December 7, 2007

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc, Alberta Centre for Active Living


Small Step

“ has recently been redesigned to better suit your needs. Re-launched this fall, the Web site includes updated information on health tips, eating better, ways to get active and portion control. can also provide a range of informational resources to assist you in achieving your health goals.”

Check out the “Get the Facts” section and link to Small Steps’ activity tracker.

Workbook for Influencing Physical Activity Policy – Now
The PARC Workbook for Influencing Physical Activity Policy is for anyone venturing to create a physical activity policy in their community, school or workplace.

It is suitable for all levels of experience or comfort with policy development. This workbook follows the Health Communication Unit’s (THCU) eight-step policy development model.

Although policy development is often resource intensive, this systematic approach can make it easier and the long-term benefits of policy make it a worthwhile investment.


Obesity and Genetics: What We Know, What We Don’t Know and What It Means

“Rising rates of obesity seem to be a consequence of modern life, with access to large amounts of palatable, high calorie food and limited need for physical activity. However, this environment of plenty affects different people in different ways.

Some are able to maintain a reasonable balance between energy input and energy expenditure. Others have a chronic imbalance that favors energy input, which expresses itself as overweight and obesity. What accounts for these differences between individuals?”


Using Pedometers to Increase Physical Activity and Improve Health: A Systematic Review

Bravata D.M., Smith-Spangler C., Sundaram V., Gienger A.L., Lin N., Lewis R., Stave C.D., Olkin I., & Sirard J.R. (2007). Using pedometers to increase physical activity and improve health: A systematic review. JAMA 298 (19), 2296–2304.

Context: Without detailed evidence of their effectiveness, pedometers have recently become popular as a tool for motivating physical activity.

Objective: To evaluate the association of pedometer use with physical activity and health outcomes among outpatient adults.

Data sources: English-language articles from MEDLINE, EMBASE, Sport Discus, PsychINFO, Cochrane Library, Thompson Scientific (formerly known as Thompson ISI), and ERIC (1966-2007); bibliographies of retrieved articles; and conference proceedings.

Study Selection: Studies were eligible for inclusion if they reported an assessment of pedometer use among adult outpatients, reported a change in steps per day, and included more than five participants.

Conclusions: The results suggest that the use of a pedometer is associated with significant increases in physical activity and significant decreases in body mass index and blood pressure. Whether these changes are durable over the long term is undetermined.

Walk and Bike for Life

Walk & Bike for Life is a non-profit organization dedicated to create awareness of the benefits of walking and cycling as activities.

The organization also promotes urban parks and trails as great places, as they improve our environment, advance economic development, enhance our transportation systems, raise the recreation levels for all and improve our personal and public health.


Active & Free: Young Women, Physical Activity and Tobacco

This resource is for leaders who care about young women’s health. English and French versions of the resource are available free of charge in a downloadable PDF from the CAAWS website.