March 27, 2009

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

An Overview of the Health of the M├ętis Population
Released by Statistics Canada February 09. Increasing exercise was identified by participants as the most important thing they could do to improve their health.

Amenities and Programs that Encourage Active Transportation in All Seasons
This Transport Canada issue paper reviews the most common barriers and benefits, provides information on general measures that can be taken to encourage active transportation, and also looks at a selection of successful initiatives.

Moving On Sustainable Transportation (MOST) Program
Transport Canada has established the Moving on Sustainable Transportation (MOST) Program to support projects that produce the kinds of education, awareness and analytical tools we need if we are to make sustainable transportation a reality. (Be sure to look at the list of previously funded projects for a better idea of the kinds of things that can be done.)

Children, Youth and Transport – Information for Health and Recreation Professionals
A series of booklets from the Centre for Sustainable Transportation dealing with the needs of Children and Youth when planning transportation and land use.

Children, Youth and Transport – Information for Educators
Children, youth and transport – Information for Municipal Officials
Children, Youth and Transport – Information for Parents
Children, Youth and Transport – Information for Youth

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities
A national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will help 70 communities across the USA to reshape their environments to support healthy living and prevent childhood obesity.

National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity
NPLAN provides leaders in the childhood obesity prevention field with focused legal research, model policies, fact sheets, toolkits, training and technical assistance to explain legal issues related to public health. Our goal is to help create strong childhood obesity policy interventions…

Community Interventions for Health
This initiative acts upon the urgent need to design, implement and assess cost-effective comprehensive interventions for all three risk factors (poor diet, tobacco use, lack of physical activity), adaptable to different cultures and communities. The research is unique in its scale and scope - the interventions will be tracked across multiple countries and multiple settings: schools, healthcare centres, workplaces and local communities.

Oxford Health Alliance
This registered charity is about preventing and reducing the global impact of chronic disease. It stands for innovative action with diverse stakeholders around three risk factors – tobacco use, physical inactivity and poor diet.

Community Gardens
These model policy "packages" explain why land use policies are important for supporting and protecting community gardens and farmers' markets, and provide model general plan and zoning language to encourage these uses.

How to Use Redevelopment to Create Healthy Communities
This fact sheet is designed to give advocates a general introduction to how redevelopment works and highlight ways for advocates to engage in the process.

Joint use Agreements Between Schools and Communities
Many communities lack safe, adequate places for children and their families to exercise and play. Schools might have a variety of recreational facilities —gymnasiums, playgrounds, fields, courts, tracks —but many districts close their property to the public after school hours because of concerns about costs, vandalism, security, maintenance, and liability in the event of injury…..

Leadership for Healthy Communities
Based in Washington, D.C., Leadership for Healthy Communities is a $10-million national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation designed to support local and state government leaders nationwide in their efforts to reduce childhood obesity through public policies that promote active living, healthy eating and access to healthy foods.

Local Government Commission: Healthy Communities
An active living community is designed to provide opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to engage in routine daily physical activity. Provides resources and links to even more resources.

Mentally Healthy Communities: A Collection of Papers
CPHI commissioned eight experts to share their thoughts on the following questions: What are mentally healthy communities? and what makes some communities more mentally healthy or resilient than others?

California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN)
CPEHN works to ensure that all Californians have access to quality health care and can live healthy lives. As the country becomes increasingly diverse, CPEHN's multicultural perspective is more and more critical. We gather the strength of communities of color to build a united and powerful voice in health advocacy. Together, we're working to evolve health care from a one-size-fits-all approach to a system that works for people from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

State of the Evidence Review on Urban Health and Healthy Weights
To generate and synthesize knowledge in its theme areas of Healthy Weights and Place and Health (with a focus on urban health), CPHI commissioned a systematic literature review of the evidence on associations between modifiable characteristics of urban environments and healthy weights.

Healthy Eating Active Living Convergence Partnership
A collaboration of funders who have come together with the shared goal of changing policies and environments to better achieve the vision of healthy people living in healthy places. (Be sure to explore the links in the left hand nav column, to see even more documents and resources.)

World Cross Country Fitness Challenge
A new on-line activity tracker. The program challenges the participants to run, walk, swim, bike, row, ski, skate, roller blade or wheel chair their way across the world without leaving home.

Regional Development and Physical Activity: Issues and Strategies for Promoting Health Equity
The paper explores the connection between development patterns, physical activity, and poor health.


March 23, 2009

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

Bike Lanes, On-Street Parking and Business: A Study of Bloor Street in Toronto’s Annex Neighbourhood
The Clear Air Partnership in Toronto decided to take a closer look into fears that improved walking and biking conditions through reallocation of road space would hurt business downtown. In Bike Lanes, On-Street Parking and Business, researchers found that the spending habits of cyclists and pedestrians, their relatively high travel mode share, and the minimal impact on parking all demonstrate that reallocating on-street parking space to a bike lane would likely increase commercial activity, not harm it.

Plans launched to help spectators ‘ride or stride’ to the 2012 Games
The Olympic Delivery Authority’s (ODA) new Walking and Cycling plans published today give details on how £11.5m of investment will enable 385,000 spectators to 'ride or stride' to the Games in 2012. The plans will also leave behind a legacy of permanent improvements to key routes between sporting hubs, thereby encouraging more people to walk and cycle to events in the future.

Thunderhead Alliance Becomes Alliance for Biking & Walking
While some things are changing, the core work of the Alliance is the same. “The Alliance has always been about supporting grassroots biking and walking advocacy organizations.”

The Walkability Roadshow Case Studies
The Walkability Roadshow, spearheaded by Green Communities Canada and Walk21, was intended to extend the Walk21 Toronto 2007 conference beyond three days in just one place and to demonstrate how walkability can be achieved in suburban and rural communities, as well as urban centres. The Roadshow provided a framework for the participating communities to create locally endorsed pedestrian strategies and realistic action plans. The participating communities are listed below and a Case Study for each is available here.

A Report on the First Three Years of the National Safe Routes to School Program
The National Center for SRTS has completed a three-year progress report mapping the growth of SRTS throughout the nation. The report includes case studies and updates on current state and national initiatives in support of communities building Safe Routes to School programs.

Children living near green spaces are more active
In a Canadian study, the presence of nearby parks was strongly associated with girls walking to school and boys engaging in leisure walking. For every additional park located within a half mile of their home, the likelihood of walking to school more than doubled among girls and leisure walking by boys increased by 60 percent.
Here is the link to the conference the study was reported at.

Coordinated approach to child health (CATCH)
There are links to many good resources from this page.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation has approved three CATCH programs to be included in the resource database used by schools enrolled in their "Healthy Schools Program:" CATCH Go for Health for the classroom, CATCH PE for physical education, and CATCH Kids Club for after-school. The program offers solutions for schools to become healthier places that promote physical activity and healthy eating.

Safe Routes to School 2009 Policy Report: Moving to the Future: Building on Early Achievements
Safe Routes to School is no longer just a good idea—it is a transformative program that is changing the habits of a generation of children to make healthier choices that are better for themselves and the environment.

Wii as Intervention for Teen with Cerebral Palsy
Deutsch, J.E., Borbely, M., Filler, J., Huhn, H., Guarrera-Bowlby, P. (2008). Use of a low-cost, commercially available gaming console (Wii) for rehabilitation of an adolescent with cerebral palsy. Physical Therapy, 88(10), 1196-1208.

Results were encouraging. Visual-perceptual processing improved in 6 of 7 areas tested, with improvements between 4% and 70%. Postural control improved during both eyes-open and eyes-closed conditions. Walking with the forearm crutches improved from 15 ft to 150 ft during the intervention, and continued to improve thereafter.

Local Governments and Schools: A Community-Oriented Approach
This guide offers strategies for how local governments and schools can bring their respective planning efforts together to take a more community oriented approach to schools and reach multiple community goals…….

Smart Growth Illustrated
Smart growth is all about how we build our communities. It is often easier to communicate ideas about density, design, walkability, and housing and transportation choice with pictures than with words alone. Smart Growth Illustrated does just that -- provides visual examples of smart growth techniques as they have been used in different places.

Teaching Smart Growth at Colleges and Universities
Online-only resource. Sample course prospectuses from professors teaching applied smart growth classes.

Agita Mundo: World Physical Activity Day
Agita Mundo Network encourages the world to celebrate the World Day for Physical Activity on April 6, 2009: “Active Neighborhood Builds Health.” You can organize your event in April (around 1st to 10th). In past years, more than 6.000 events have happened all around the world.

Connecting Active Living Research and Public Policy
Journal of Public Health Policy Volume 30, Issue S1 (2009)
National and international organizations recommend creation of environments that support physical activity where people live, work, play, study, and travel. Policy changes can lead to activity-supportive environments and incentives. The papers in this supplement were presented at the 2008 Active Living Research Conference whose theme was "Connecting Active Living Research to Policy Solutions." The papers include evaluations of policy initiatives and research that suggests promising new policies.

Five Year Review of "Let's Make Scotland More Active" - A Strategy for Physical Activity
The purpose of the review’s engagement was to gather and assess views on what has been successful, what have been the key challenges and what are the future priorities.

National Physical Activity Plan
A plan that will help Americans become physically active every day is being developed. A conference seeking input from policymakers, scientists, healthcare providers and leaders in public health, education, transportation, media, business and industry and non-profit organizations will be held July 1 – 2, 2009, in Washington, D.C.

Physical Activity Guides from around the world
Links to PA guides from different countries around the world. Be sure to look at the links in the left hand nav column, includes newsletters, policies, programs etc.

Regional Physical Activity Prevalence in the Asia-Pacific Region
This document is a ‘live document’, and will be regularly updated with new information
of surveys from Asia and Pacific nations. This report was produced and funded by the
University of Sydney Centre for Physical Activity and Health (CPAH) for the Asia-
Pacific Physical Activity Network.

Making the invisible visible: The real value of park assets
Explaining why traditional accounting methods are unhelpful when valuing assets – such as parks – that can appreciate over time. In this publication the term exercise is used not physical activity.

A Comprehensive Worksite Wellness Program in Austin, Texas: Partnership Between Steps to a Healthier Austin and Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Participants in the wellness program reported improvements in physical activity, healthy food consumption, weight loss, and blood pressure. Capital Metro’s total health care costs increased by progressively smaller rates from 2003 to 2006 and then decreased from 2006 to 2007. Absenteeism has decreased by approximately 25% since the implementation of the program….

Engaging Employers to Develop Healthy Workplaces: The WorkWell Initiative of Steps to a Healthier Washington in Thurston County
The WorkWell initiative was developed to address the needs of private and public employers in Thurston County, Washington, to reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases through policy, practice, and environmental changes.

National Start! Walking Day (USA)
You can support the fight against heart disease by participating in National Start! Walking Day on Wednesday, April 8. This is the day that adults nationwide can make the pledge to Start! walking and to become active and heart healthy, especially in the workplace.


March 12, 2009

By Rosanne Prinsen

Alberta Centre for Active Living

Child Traffic Safety: Resource guide for educators, parents and the community
Every year in Alberta, approximately 400* children are injured or killed in pedestrian and bike related incidents. These tragedies are preventable….. Alberta Transportation Office of Traffic Safety launched a back-to-school safety program aimed at raising awareness about the importance of teaching children about pedestrian safety.

What is active transportation?
Information from the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Healthy Living Unit.

Active and Safe Routes to School
Green Communities Active & Safe Routes to School is a comprehensive community-based initiative that taps into the increasingly urgent demand for safe, walkable neighborhoods. It promotes the use of active and efficient transportation for the daily trip to school, addressing health and traffic safety issues while taking action on air pollution and climate change.

Canadian Active & Safe Routes to School Partnership *NEW*
The Canadian Active & Safe Routes to School Partnership is a national group working to increase the number of school-aged children who travel to school using active, sustainable and safe modes of transportation.

CDC Kids Walk to School Resources
To support the national goal of better health through physical activity, CDC's Nutrition and Physical Activity Program has developed KidsWalk-to-School. This is a community-based program that aims to increase opportunities for daily physical activity by encouraging children to walk to and from school in groups accompanied by adults.

Kids Walk to School - A Guide to Promote Walking to School
KidsWalk-to-School is for anyone who wants to make traveling to and from school a safe, active, and enjoyable part of children’s lives again. The program is great for neighborhoods that have an elementary school within walking distance—usually within a mile. But the KidsWalk-to-School program can also be adapted for children of all ages, those who live in neighborhoods further from the school and those in neighborhoods without safe routes to school.

Way to go! School Program
The Way to Go! School Program is an active and safe routes to school initiative for communities in British Columbia, Canada. As of July 2008 The Way to Go! School Program is exclusively a web based resource. This website will provide you with the information and tools needed to help your school develop safer, healthier transportation alternatives as well as incorporate fitness, environmental awareness and a sense of community at your school.

Costs of Chronic Disease: Trends Alert
This 2006 US report notes that between 1980 and 2010, the portion of the nation’s GDP spent on health is projected to roughly double……

Keeping People with Diabetes Healthy
(2008) This brief informs state policymakers about what diabetes is, how it affects people and states, and what strategies can help improve diabetes management; it also provides examples of effective state programs.

BC Healthy Community Newsletter
Welcome to the first joint newsletter provided by BC Healthy Communities and the BC Healthy Living Alliance (BCHLA) Community Capacity Building strategy.

BC Healthy Living Alliance Newsletters
You can sign up to be on their distribution list or scroll down to read past issues.

Stay Active, Eat Healthy
Stay Active Eat Healthy encourages recreation facilities and local government buildings to make the healthy choice the easy choice for community members purchasing food or beverage products where they live, work, learn and play. (3 different sections for: site managers, industry or consumers).

Age-Friendly Communities
Presentation overview of the work that is being done by jurisdictions across Canada on Age-Friendly Communities, including support and promotion from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Keeping the Aging Population Healthy
(2007) State legislators can play a key role in preserving health in the aging population by promoting healthy aging, broadening the use of preventive services, facilitating healthy lifestyles, and supporting efforts to allow older Americans to remain independent and “age in place.”

Livable Communities: Aging and Disability
The Canadian Centre on Disability Studies is a consumer-directed, university affiliated centre, dedicated to research, education and information dissemination on disability issues nationally and internationally. Through our activities we promote full and equal participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of society.

Access to Recreation for Low-Income Families in Ontario: Promising Practices Guide
This Promising Practices Guide, funded by the Canadian Recreation and Parks Association (CPRA) “Everybody gets to play” initiative, provides examples of progressive and innovative policies and practices that can enhance access to recreation for low-income families in Ontario.

Preventing Diseases through Physical Activity
This (2007) Legislator Policy Brief provides state policymakers with key background information about physical activity among youth and adults and identifies proven, cost-effective policy and legislative strategies to promote active lifestyles.

Breaking Barriers not Bones: 2008 National report card on osteoporosis care
Physical activity is mentioned a number of times.

WHO Women and Physical Activity
Link to the updated web-site.


March 6, 2009

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

Creating Walkable and Transit-Supportive Communities in Halton
Discussion paper identifies parameters/criteria that could/should be captured in the long-term land use planning process to encourage walkable and transit supportive communities. (Includes a great glossary of terms).

Walking and Cycling Reports
Links to a number of reports from the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.

The benefits of physical activity for youth with developmental disabilities: A systematic review
American Journal of Health Promotion Volume 23, Issue 3
Results indicate that there is reasonably strong evidence that children and adolescents with developmental disabilities achieve health benefits from participation in group exercise programs, treadmill training, or therapeutic horse riding/ hippotherapy. There is also evidence, of a less strong degree, for health benefits from adapted skiing or aquatic programs.

Arthritis Pain May Keep People with Heart Disease Physically Inactive
The study in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), found that arthritis is common among those having heart disease. Approximately 57 percent of adults with heart disease have arthritis.

Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance's Common Messages Project
The document includes a background on the need for common messages, an introduction to messages and related actions that health practitioners, organizations, and groups can take to collectively move forward in addressing chronic disease and its prevention.. (Includes a physical activity message.)

Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention - Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective.
“The report tells us what kinds and how many cancer cases can be prevented, and it details 48 specific policy recommendations that would significantly reduce the burden of cancer now affecting more than 1.4 million Americans every year.”

Weight of the Nation Conference, July 27-29, 2009
Weight of the Nation is designed to provide a forum to highlight progress in the prevention and control of obesity through policy and environmental strategies and is framed around four intervention settings: community, medical care, school, and workplace.

Ready-to-use presentation on nutrition labeling
Produced by Health Canada this presentation has been developed for anyone who is in a position to educate consumers about how to make informed food choices.

Visual Periodic Table - Visual Literacy
“Here is a fun and useful tool to help you choose a presentation style! The color codes help you determine which of the options fit the data you have and the message you're trying to convey.”

Accelerometer Assessment of Physical Activity in Active, Healthy Older Adults
Journal of Aging and Physical Activity 17(1), January 2009
This study demonstrates the rich information that accelerometers provide about older adult activity patterns—information that might further our understanding of the relationship between physical activity and healthy aging.

Policies for Healthy Ageing: an Overview
The paper groups policies into four different types and within each, it describes the range of individual types of programs that can be brought to bear to enhance improved health of the elderly. A key policy issue in this area concerns whether such programs have a positive effect on health outcomes and whether they are cost effective. (Physical Activity is mentioned a number of times).

Appropriate Physical Activity Intervention Strategies for Weight Loss and Prevention of Weight Regain for Adults (Position Stand)
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: Volume 41(2) February 2009pp 459-471
This updated Position Stand provides the physical activity workforce with the latest quality evidence on the most effective physical activity dose for preventing overweight and obesity and maintaining healthy weight. Optimum levels of physical activity outlined in the Position Stand should be adopted by existing and future physical activity and overweight/obesity programs to achieve the maximum population health benefits.

Be active, be healthy: a plan for getting the nation moving (UK)
Be active, be healthy establishes a new framework for the delivery of physical activity alongside sport for the period leading up to the London 2012 Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and beyond. Programs outlined in the plan will contribute to Government’s ambition of getting 2 million more people active by 2012 and have been designed to leave a lasting legacy from the Games.

Exercise Dose and Quality of Life
Archives of Internal Medicine Vol. 169 No. 3, February 9, 2009
Positive changes in all mental and physical aspects of quality of life, except bodily pain, were significantly related to physical activity. Higher doses of exercise were associated with larger improvements in mental and physical aspects of quality of life, giving a dose-response relationship. Additionally, these improvements occurred independently of both changes in weight and fitness.

Healthy spaces and places project (Australia)
The Healthy Spaces and Places project is developing a national planning guide and accompanying materials, addressing the relationship between people’s health and the built environment. (Be sure to look at the facts sheets found under the heading “links to further information”.

Mothers in Motion seeks Community Collaborators
A new section of the Mothers in Motion's website dedicated to Physical Activity Promoters who are assisting mothers of low socioeconomic status. Learn more about the barriers to this group, and find great tools and resources to assist you in structuring better programs to address accessibility, availability and affordability. In addition, CAAWS is seeking opportunities to collaborate with ten communities across Canada interested in developing and delivering a physical activity program and/or sport initiative for mothers of low socioeconomic status (LSES).