April 2, 2009

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

Promotion of safe walking and cycling in urban areas
This WHO project focuses on exchange and dissemination of good practices and on improving the assessment of health effects from cycling and walking, as well as the costs and benefits of promoting non-motorized transport.

Transport and physical activity
From the WHO. Lots of information here, be sure to take the time to look at all of the sub-topics and resources.

Action for Healthy Kids
A national nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the epidemic of overweight, undernourished and sedentary youth by focusing on changes in schools. We work in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to improve children's nutrition and increase physical activity, which will in turn improve their readiness to learn.

CATCH (Coordinated Approach To Child Health)
An evidence-based Coordinated School Health Program designed to promote physical activity and healthy food choices, and prevent tobacco use in elementary school-aged children. By teaching children that eating healthy and being physically active every day can be FUN, the CATCH Program has proven that establishing healthy habits in childhood can promote behaviour changes that can last a lifetime.

Children's Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe (CEHAPE)
This action plan addresses the environmental risk factors that most affect the health of European children. It was developed at the request of Member States and adopted by European Ministers at the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health (2004) on "The future for our children".

Effectiveness of interventions to promote physical activity in children and adolescents: systematic review of controlled trials
Author's conclusions: Multi-component interventions combining school with family or community involvement appear to be effective in adolescents. Conclusions regarding the efficacy of interventions in children were limited by study quality.

Game On! The Ultimate Wellness Challenge
An on-line toolkit. Game On is a year-long program that challenges America’s youth, their families and schools to incorporate healthy food choices and physical activity into their daily lives. A series of four theme-based challenges spaced throughout the school year promotes, engages and recognize students for their efforts to make better food choices and move more.

It’s the Daily Things That Count
This website offers information, resources, and links to help you raise healthy children. Daily habits such as eating healthy, being physically active, and having positive self esteem make all the difference when it comes to having a healthy weight. (The homepage has a number of great PSA posters).

OPHEA DPA Resource Database
Ophea is providing this website as an information source to boards and school authorities to assist them in selecting programs for their schools. Programs are listed in alphabetical order and include contact names and other information. Readers should contact the program provider directly.

Play England
Play England provides advice and support to promote good practice, and works to ensure that the importance of play is recognized by policy makers, planners and the public. (Be sure to check out the resource section, many good documents there!)

Play Strategy – UK Department for Children, Schools and Families
Click on the Play Strategy link under “related links”. The first national Play Strategy sets out the Government’s plans to improve and develop play facilities for children throughout the country. Based on consultation with thousands of children and young people, as well as their parents, the strategy outlines the short-, medium- and long-term objectives in bringing to life children’s right to play.

Progress or Promises? What’s Working For and Against Healthy Schools
An Action for Healthy Kids Report Fall 2008. In preparing this report, Action
for Healthy Kids assessed on-the ground achievements large and small; examined initiatives in place and changes effected; and carefully evaluated the tasks remaining.

Taking Steps toward a Healthy School - Step One: Make Community Partners Part of Your Team
Part one of a three part series from OPHEA.

Taking Steps Toward a 'Healthy School’ - Part Two: Reach out to Sport and Recreation Organizations
Part two of a three part series from OPHEA.

Taking Steps Toward a Healthy School – Part 3: Make Public Health Your Partner
Part three of a three part series from OPHEA.

An evaluation of cost sharing to finance a diet and physical activity intervention to prevent diabetes
The intervention was for the prevention of type 2 diabetes in people with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). The primary intervention comprised a combination of diet and moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking. The program included a one-on-one, 16-lesson core curriculum, followed by monthly maintenance visits that included both group sessions and one-on-one visits with case managers. Placebo participants received standard lifestyle recommendations through an annual 30-minute education session.

Local Venues for Change: Legal Strategies for Healthy Environments
The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics Volume 35 Issue 1, Pages 138 - 147
This article illustrates that local laws and policies can be a valuable tool in changing a community's environment in order to improve nutritional options and increase opportunities for physical activity.

The Role of Community Programmes and Mass Events in Promoting Physical Activity to Patients
British Journal of Sports Medicine 2009;43: 44-46
“This review discusses three potential contributors: clinician advocacy for and engagement in physical activity as role models, referral to mass community participation events, and encouraging attendance at health fairs. These will not solve the inactivity crisis, but could add new approaches for clinicians, in advising their patients to initiate and try to become more physically active.”

Retirement and Physical Activity Analyses by Occupation and Wealth
American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2009, article in press
The findings highlight how physical activity decreases at retirement in people of lower wealth and SES levels. This indicates a vulnerable section of the community who are at greater risk of both physical and mental health problems arising from inactivity.

Designing Sport and Physical Activity projects: Overview & Case studies
Planning and implementing sport and physical activity projects with the aim of increasing participation in neighbourhood renewal areas involves: undertaking an assessment of sporting and physical activities; developing long-lasting partnerships; developing a local infrastructure of volunteers, clubs and networks; accessing increased and longer-term funding; and demonstrating the success of sports projects through good organization, planning, marketing, monitoring and review

Exercise is Medicine
This program is managed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The vision of the program is for physical activity to be considered by all healthcare providers as a vital sign in every patient visit, and that patients are effectively counseled and referred as to their physical activity and health needs, thus leading to overall improvement in the public's health and long-term reduction in healthcare cost.

PARC Physical Activity Symposium 2009 proceedings
Proceedings from the March 4th & 5th symposium can be found here. Information from concurrent session workshops on a variety of topics including: Youth Engagement, Building Healthy Communities, Policy Change, Working with Schools and many more.

Sport, Physical Activity and Renewal: Case studies
Encouraging people to participate in sport and physical activity regularly and to lead more active lives takes time and resources. Sport and physical activity projects that seek to contribute to neighborhood renewal need to be clear and selective about the outcomes they are seeking to achieve.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine – Special Supplement
Volume 36, Issue 4, Supplement 1, Pages A1-A6, S81-S190 (April 2009)
The introduction notes: “Our hope is that the papers in this supplement will stimulate interest and development in measuring food and physical activity environments
(both in the research community as well as funding organizations); strengthen research on these environmental impacts on behavior; and inform policy to improve diet, physical activity, and health outcomes.”

Journal of Public Health Policy – Special Supplement
Volume 30, Issue S1 (2009)
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.

Listing of other current physical activity research
Click through to find out more about additional recently released physical activity research articles.

Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet: England, February 2009
For the first time, the report provides information on attitudes towards and knowledge about leading a healthy lifestyle for both adults and children. This includes information on how much physical activity should be done, barriers towards doing more physical activity, knowledge of the recommended daily number of portions of fruit and vegetables and attitudes towards a healthy diet.

Telephone interventions for physical activity and dietary behavior change: a systematic review
This review, which assessed the effectiveness of telephone counseling interventions in changing physical activity and dietary behaviors, concluded that telephone interventions are effective in improving such behaviors. Broadly, the authors' conclusions appear to follow the results of the review, although they may be oversimplified.

The role of exercise in preventing and treating gestational diabetes: a comprehensive review and recommendations for future research
The authors concluded that exercise may have positive and protective effects for the treatment and prevention of GDM (gestational diabetes mellitus). In view of poor reporting in the review, the small number of controlled studies, failure to assess or address heterogeneity between the studies and failure to systematically assess study quality, it is impossible to determine the reliability of the conclusions.

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