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.

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