September 25, 2008

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

The built environment, active transportation, public transportation, and health
Preventive Medicine Volume 47, Issue 3, September 2008, Pages 237-238
The papers in this month's themed issue, reflect both the exciting opportunities to identify major health determinants associated with modifiable characteristics of our habitats, and the relative infancy of this domain of research.

Journal of preventive medicine special issue
The January 2008 themed issue of Preventive Medicine on Self-transportation, Public Transportation and Health is available in full text.

Online TDM encyclopedia
“The Online TDM Encyclopedia is the world’s most comprehensive information resource concerning innovative transportation management strategies. It describes dozens of Transportation Demand Management (TDM) strategies and contains information on TDM planning, evaluation and implementation. It has thousands of hyperlinks that provide instant access to more detailed information, including case studies and reference documents.”

Realtors peddle real estate to bike-happy clients
Not surprisingly this news article is from Portland, Ore. “With gas prices high, bicycles flying out of stores and a buyers' market for houses, a handful of real estate agents around the country are touting the two-wheeled appeal of their listings.”

Take action on active travel: Why a shift from car-dominated transport policy would benefit public health
They summarize: Policy in relation to active travel is evolving rapidly; important work is in development relating to land use and planning, children and play, and sustainability, as well as the more traditional areas of transport and of public health. Decision makers should not be swayed by a vocal minority of motoring enthusiasts; the public are in favor of transport policies that support walking, cycling and public transport over the private car.


Health passport
Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 27(3), 416-433, 2008.

The Health Passport program was a collaborative effort with school PE teachers, health educators, and researchers. Teachers used the Health Passport process to hold students accountable for their involvement in physical activity outside of PE class over 3-7 months. Findings show that PE teachers can effectively promote physical activity beyond the school environment when they use specific strategies.

Risk and play: A literature review
Discover ways to balance risk-taking and safety in children's play with insight from research and expert opinion.

Youth sport vs. youth crime
“Organized sport programs for youth that develop social skills, mentoring opportunities with adult role models, cognitive skills, and increase feelings of self-confidence and self-esteem provide an antidote to antisocial behavior.”

A pilot study of physical activity education delivery in diabetes education centres in Ontario
The authors conclude “There is a lack of standardization in the content and delivery
of PA education in Ontario Diabetes Education Centers, and many diabetes educators feel that they lack the skills and training related to PA counseling.

Canadian Diabetes Association 2008 clinical practice guidelines for the prevention and management of diabetes in Canada

Prevention for a healthier America: Investments in disease prevention yield significant savings, stronger communities
A small, strategic investment in disease prevention could result in significant savings in health care costs, according to a new report released by the Trust for America’s Health. The report finds that an investment of $10 per person per year in proven community-based programs to increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and prevent smoking and other tobacco use could save more than $16 billion annually within five years (a return of $5.60 for every $1 spent).

Communities achieving responsive services (CARS) project
CARS cultivates local leadership by providing training, support and mentoring to communities through site visits, group gatherings, web-based supports and distance training sessions. The goal is to support networking and local leadership that will help communities work together to ensure that local services are accessible, responsive and culturally appropriate in communities across this country.

Promoting inclusive physical activity communities for people with disabilities
A new article in the Research Digest from the US President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

Effect of physical activity on cognitive function in older adults at risk for alzheimer disease
JAMA Vol. 300 No. 9, September 3, 2008
In this study of adults with subjective memory impairment, a 6-month program of physical activity provided a modest improvement in cognition over an 18-month follow-up period.

Physical activity and neighborhood parks
American Journal of Public Health, 98(8): 1451-1456.
Researchers collected observational data on 28 specific features from 33 parks, and 7-day physical activity logs from adult residents to study whether park size, number of features in the park, and distance to a park were related to its usage. Results showed that number of features was a significant predictor of increased use for physical activity, while size and distance were not. Park facilities (e.g., bike trails or ball fields) were more strongly related to park-based physical activity than park amenities (e.g., drinking fountains or picnic area). Of facilities, trails had the strongest relationship with park use for physical activity.

Places for physical activity: Facilitating development of a community trail and promoting its use to increase physical activity among youth and adults. An action guide
An action guide from the Partnership for Prevention. Although there are many options for modifying the environment to allow for increased physical activity, community trails have a unique advantage in that they can accommodate different types of physical activity by people of all ages.

Review of best practice in interventions to promote physical activity in developing countries
This review aims to address the evidence gap by describing physical activity interventions in developing countries (current practice), and compiling case studies of those interventions thought to be successful (current best practice), for example, in terms of raising awareness of the benefits of physical activity and increasing participation in physical activity. This information will then support WHO initiatives towards the development of guidelines for implementing physical activity interventions in developing countries. (A WHO document 1st published Oct 2005).

Active living, the built environment, and the policy agenda
Active Living Research has produced a special issue journal on active living, the built environment, and the policy agenda that features case studies funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Planning's role in building healthy cities
This special issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association includes several articles that advance our understanding of the influence of the built environment on physical activity. (large file, takes time to load)

Public health and the built environment
The American Planning Association has created a talking points webpage as part of the American Institute of Architects Communities by Design program. These talking points provide facts and figures that support the argument for including public health concerns in decisions affecting the built environment. Architects can design environments that incorporate physical activity into people's daily routines, give them a community with attractive destinations within walking or biking distance, and keep safety in mind with lighting, ''eyes on the street'' design, traffic calming, and other techniques to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

Commute trip reduction (CTR): Programs that encourage employees to use efficient commute options
“This chapter describes Commute Trip Reduction programs, which encourage more efficient commute travel. These programs provide encouragement, incentives and support for commuters to use of alternative modes (such as walking, cycling, ridesharing, public transit and telework), alternative work hours, and other efficient transportation options.”

Guaranteed ride home: A backup for commuters who use alternative modes
“This chapter describes Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) programs, which provide an occasional subsidized ride to commuters who use alternative modes, to help deal with unexpected conditions.”

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