April 28, 2010

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

City of Edmonton Walkability Strategy reports
The Proposed Walkability Strategy is the report supplied by the consultant, and the Walk Edmonton Report is the summary report detailing what the City could undertake.

Educating the bicycle and pedestrian planners of tomorrow
University instructors who want to incorporate bicycle- and pedestrian-specific concepts into their graduate transportation planning programs can now access a full set of materials developed by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.

A systematic map of the research on the relationship between Obesity and Sedentary Behaviour in young people
Physical activity is mentioned 127 times in this 62 page paper – most of them in the extensive reference section. This systematic map of the quantitative research literature on the relationship between obesity and sedentary behaviour in young people aged 6-16 aimed to identify literature on the factors that link sedentary behaviour with obesity as well as interventions that influence obesity/sedentary behaviour.

Children’s views about obesity, body size, shape and weight: A systematic review
This systematic review aims to identify, appraise and synthesise published and unpublished research on children’s views about obesity, body size, shape and weight. The review focuses upon children aged four to eleven living in the UK and addresses the following questions:

  • What are children’s views about the meanings of obesity or body size, shape or weight (including their perceptions of their own body size), and what experiences do they describe relating to these issues?
  • What are children’s views about influences on body size?
  • What are children’s views about changes that may help them to achieve or maintain a healthy weight?
Take 5! Media Challenge Deadline Extended - May 31st
Share your thoughts about how your teachers, coaches and parents can motivate you to get active and stay smoke-free with the Take 5! “Motivate Me!” Media Challenge. To be eligible, youth participants must be between the ages of 8-17, living in a Canadian province or territory. One entry per participant only. Group submissions accepted.

Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Healthy Weights Guideline for Chronic Disease Prevention
Cancer Care Ontario developed this guideline - the first time a cancer agency in Canada has established public health guidelines for the primary prevention of cancer and other chronic disease. The intent of this guideline is to provide specific and actionable recommendations that will enable public health and other professionals working in chronic disease prevention to make decisions about the provision of programs and resources for the promotion of healthy eating and physical activity.

Improving health literacy for older adults: Expert panel report 2009
The challenges of making sense of health information are especially great for the increasing proportion of people aged 65 years and older…….

International Council on Active Aging TV
An open access service that provides streaming video interviews with experts, and news from industry suppliers. You are also able to share your news, knowledge and expertise, by posting your videos online.

Faking Places - April Fools Edition
The Project for Public Spaces, always a source of information and inspiration, offers a tongue in cheek April Fools edition of their newsletter that is worth a chuckle or two.

Walkable and Livable Communities Institute
Their mission is to make cities and towns throughout the world walkable, bicycle and transit friendly, livable, sustainable, socially engaging and welcoming places by improving their built form.


April 16, 2010

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

Economic Value of Walkability
This paper describes ways to evaluate the value of walking (the activity) and walkability (the quality of walking conditions, including safety, comfort and convenience).

How to Ease Women’s Fear of Transportation Environments: Case Studies and Best Practices
The relationship between women’s fear and the built environment has been the subject of research with clear findings that women feel unsafe in many public spaces. These often include transportation environments. Desolate bus stops and train cars, dimly lit park-and-ride lots and parking structures, but also overcrowded transit vehicles represent stressful settings for many women, who often feel compelled to change their transportation modes and travel patterns in order to avoid them.

Helping Johnny Walk to School Policy Recommendations for Removing Barriers to Community-Centered Schools
Nearly all decisions about the use and location of school facilities are made by local school districts— but the impact of these decisions goes far beyond the school and the education of its students. This report identifies the larger community interest in decisions
about retaining existing schools and deciding where to locate new ones.

Nature, Childhood, Health and Life Pathways
There is growing evidence to show that children’s contact with nature and consequent levels of physical activity affects not only their well-being but also their health in later life. Find out how physical activity participation and experiencing nature can improve health and well-being.

Why Johnny Can’t Walk to School: Historic Neighborhood Schools in the Age of Sprawl

Quieter Cars and the Safety Of Blind Pedestrians: Phase I
Quieter cars such as electric vehicles (EVs) and hybridelectric vehicles (HEVs) can reduce pedestrians’ ability to assess the state of nearby traffic and, as a result, may have an adverse impact on pedestrian safety.

Knowing What Works. Doing What Works: An Introduction to the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools
Decisions are made every day that affect the health of our target populations – decisions about practices, policies and programs. While they are all made with good intentions, only some of those decisions will achieve their objectives. The National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools (NCCMT) can help you use evidence to make more effective decisions regarding the work you do in public health.

Exercise and health-related quality of life in older community-dwelling adults: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
In older community-dwelling adults, physical activity appeared to improve self-reported physical function, a component of health-related quality of life, but this needed confirmation in further trials. Given the poor quality of the trials and the lack of data for some analyses, the authors' conclusions may not be reliable and their recommendation for further well-designed trials appears to be warranted.

Long-term effectiveness of diet-plus-exercise interventions vs. diet-only interventions for weight loss: a meta-analysis
This review concluded that combined exercise and diet interventions were better than diet-only interventions for long-term weight loss in adults. The results appear to support the authors' conclusions, but reliability of the data is unclear.

Treating adult obesity through lifestyle change interventions A briefing paper for commissioners
This briefing paper aims to support commissioners by providing a brief guide to current best available evidence on the effective treatment of obesity through lifestyle change interventions for adults who are overweight or obese. The paper is concerned with services available for the treatment of obesity among adults (aged 18+) with a focus on diet, physical activity, or both in combination. It covers a range of approaches including interventions conducted with individuals on a one-to-one basis or in groups, and in clinical or community settings

Launch of the first National Physical Activity Plan – May 3rd
The U.S. National Physical Activity Plan is a private-public sector collaborative, engaging hundreds of organizations dedicated to changing our communities in ways that will enable every American to be sufficiently physically active

March 2010 Journal of Physical Activity and Health
Journal of Physical Activity and Health Vol 7, Suppl 1 (March 2010)

This supplement focuses on physical activity policy. The papers are about the USA, except for one from Europe, but very relevant to Canada.

Meta-analysis of quality-of-life outcomes from physical activity interventions
This review found that interventions designed to increase physical activity led to improvements in quality of life, although there was considerable heterogeneity in the magnitude of the effect. These conclusions are likely to be reliable, but should be interpreted with some caution due to the failure to adequately assess study quality.

Pedometer measured physical activity and health behaviours in United States adults
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: post acceptance, 16 March 2010
Bassett, David R. Jr.; Wyatt, Holly R.; Thompson, Helen; Peters, John C.; Hill, James O.

The results show that the average American adult only took around 5000 steps per day, with males taking about 400 steps more per day than females. There was an age related decline, with those over 50 taking substantially fewer steps than younger age groups. There are also relationships with educational status, and some geographic variation. Those who were obese took around 1500 steps per day less than those who were not overweight or obese.

Physical Activity and Weight Gain Prevention
Journal of the American Medical Association, 2010, 303: 1173-1179

This study provides strong confirmation of the importance of 60 minutes a day of moderate-intensity physical activity for successful weight maintenance in adults, from a well-designed longitudinal study of over 34,000 middle-aged women in the US.

Good Parks Are Good for the Economy
This paper describes how creating and maintaining parks stimulates the economy and how parks boosts the economy via increasing property values, attracts tourists and residents to events and activities, can save residents money and provide quantifiable environmental benefits
Measuring the Economic Value of a City Park System
In 2003, The Trust for Public Land’s (TPL) Center for City Park Excellence gathered two dozen park experts and economists in Philadelphia for a colloquium to analyze how park systems economically benefit cities. Based on this conversation and subsequent consultation with other leading economists and academics, the center identified seven attributes of city park systems that provide economic value and are measurable.

Partners for public health: Working with local, state, and federal agencies to create healthier communities (USA)
The way our neighborhoods are designed has a profound impact on our health and wellbeing. A physical environment that promotes health – with affordable quality housing, access to healthy foods and physical activity, clean air, parks and recreation facilities, transportation options, and safe schools – is integral to achieving health equity and ensuring a high quality of life.

Flexible working conditions and their effects on employee health and wellbeing
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD008009.

Overall, these findings seem to indicate that flexibility in working patterns which gives the worker more choice or control is likely to have positive effects on health and wellbeing.


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April 8, 2010

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living


Active Community Transportation Act of 2010 (USA)
To direct the Secretary of Transportation to carry out an active transportation investment program to encourage a mode shift to active transportation within selected communities by providing safe and convenient options to bicycle and walk for routine travel, and for other purposes.

Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach
This report has been developed in response to widespread interest for improving both mobility choices and community character through a commitment to creating and enhancing walkable communities. Many agencies will work towards these goals using the concepts and principles in this report to ensure the users, community and other key factors are considered in the planning and design processes used to develop walkable urban thoroughfares.

Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation
The Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation is a statewide, not-for-profit, membership organization that advocates advancement of bicycling access, safety and education in Missouri.

Transport Canada - Improving Travel Options in Small and Rural Communities
This guide is intended to help practitioners—engineers, planners, health professionals, economic development officials and others—to improve travel options for residents of small and rural communities. This includes a range of actions that make personal transportation activities more sustainable— encouraging drivers to operate their cars more efficiently, or to leave their cars at home and walk, cycle, take transit or carpool instead.

Valuing Bicycling’s Economic and Health Impacts in Wisconsin
This study estimates the economic impact of bicycle recreation and tourism in Wisconsin to be $924,211,000, and the total potential value of health benefits from reducing short car trips and increasing bicycle trips to total $409,944,167. The results of this study demonstrate that bicycling has the potential to contribute substantially to the health and economic well being of Wisconsin citizens.

Walk This Way: Recognising Value in Active Health Prevention
In 2009 the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) was commissioned by Natural England to explore the opportunities and barriers to getting more people walking. The resulting report offers practical guidance and support on key components of successful walking initiatives that physical activity and health professionals can use to make the case for investment in walking.


Active Healthy Kids Canada – Report Card
The Report Card is coming early this year! Look out for the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card on April 27, 2010.

Each year, our Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth examines physical activity opportunities for kids all across Canada.

Active School Travel Project Goes Nationwide
Green Communities Canada announced [March 16] the national expansion of a project that makes it safer for students to use active transportation methods like walking and cycling to travel to and from school. Funding of $2.1 million from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and the Public Health Agency of Canada will enable School Travel Planning (STP) to reach 120 schools, resulting in healthier, happier students and reducing the incidence of chronic disease.

Spark Together for Healthy Kids
Spark Together for Healthy Kids is the Heart and Stroke Foundation's response to the growing epidemic of childhood obesity. We're an Ontario-wide initiative helping to inspire individuals, families, communities, businesses, and government to spark collective change to help children become more physically active and eat healthier foods.

Tackling obesity through the healthy child programme: A framework for action
This document was commissioned to inform the development of the Department of Health’s (UK) work on obesity in early years. It draws on some of the existing and emerging evidence on obesity and early years and sets out key actions for practitioners to effectively support mothers and fathers in encouraging healthy nutrition and physical activity.


London 2012: A legacy for disabled people
Published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), this document lays out the Government’s vision and commitment to delivering a lasting legacy for disabled people from hosting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.


Healthy Habits, Healthy Weights: A Practical Guide to Weight Management
A resource from the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation. Physical activity is mentioned 16 times in this 25 page document. It also includes a link to a physical activity log.


BHF Exercise Referral Toolkit - now live
The toolkit is not designed as a 'blueprint' for how exercise referral schemes must be designed, implemented and evaluated; it offers some best practice principles for all those involved in the delivery, management and commissioning of exercise referral schemes. It is for individual schemes to consider whether the implementation of these principles will improve the design, delivery and effectiveness of their scheme, given the capacity and resources available.

Economic costs of physical inactivity fact sheet - UK
This fact sheet summarizes some of the key facts and figures on the disease burden of physical inactivity and the associated healthcare and economic costs.

Get Active for Life: Your guide to an active lifestyle
A resource from the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Global Advocacy for Physical Activity
GAPA aims to provide interested stakeholders with communications and resources to help the development, dissemination and implementation of national policies, programs and services that promote physical activity and health.

Joint Use of Community Resources
Joint use is a way to increase opportunities for children and adults to be more physically active. It refers to two or more entities — usually a school and a city or private organization — sharing indoor and outdoor spaces like gymnasiums, athletic fields and playgrounds. The concept is simple: share resources to keep costs down and communities healthy.


Healthy Urban Development Checklist: A guide for health services when commenting on development policies, plans and proposals
The purpose of the Checklist is to help build the capacity of NSW Health to provide valuable feedback to local councils, and other relevant organisations, on health issues in relation to urban development plans and proposals. It is intended that the use of the Guideline will facilitate strengthened partnerships and collaboration between NSW Health and urban planners and developers as part of NSW Health's initiatives to promote healthy communities in NSW.

Shaping Active, Healthy Communities – A Heart and Stroke Foundation Built Environment Toolkit for Change
The tool kit is a national resource, available in both French and English. Currently it can be downloaded at no cost online on the Heart and Stroke Foundation website at Pending additional funding, print copies may become available.

April 1, 2010

By Rosanne Prinsen MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

Cool Pedestrian Environments: Pedestrian Mobility & Accommodation
At some point during every trip, and on most days, we are all pedestrians. Walking is the universal mode of transport, available to persons of all ages and income levels and in every geographic setting: large, small, urban, suburban, and rural. Though it is the most basic mode, providing for pedestrian safety and mobility is a complex task…. This website is a resource for pedestrian planning, design, and safety documents, and includes web links to other resources.

Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety and Mobility in Europe
Pedestrian and bicyclist deaths accounted for 14 percent of U.S. highway fatalities in 2008. The Federal Highway Administration…. sponsored a scanning study of five European countries to identify and assess effective approaches to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety and mobility.

The scan team gathered information on strategies and approaches in the areas of engineering, education, enforcement, encouragement, and evaluation. The team learned that many of the countries studied have established an urban street user hierarchy that gives the highest priority to walking, biking, and public transit.

Walking as a suspicious activity
Long Branch, N.J., police answered a call about a suspicious-looking person walking in a suburban neighborhood in a light rain. The man had stopped on the sidewalk to look at a house for sale. The officer, asked the aging pedestrian, his curly salt-and-pepper hair partly covered by a hood, his purpose in the neighborhood. 'Walking,' the man said. She asked his name. 'Bob Dylan.' She asked for identification. He had none. The officer put Dylan, 68, in the back of the squad car and took him back to a nearby hotel parking lot, where the legendary musician's tour buses were parked, so he could present valid ID..."

Are children and adolescents less active if parents restrict their physical activity and active transport due to perceived risk?
Social Science & Medicine Article in Press, Corrected Proof
Alison Carver, Anna Timperio, Kylie Hesketh and David Crawford

The findings demonstrate that constrained behaviour exhibited by parents may result in lower levels of active transport and of MVPA outside school hours. In particular, this was true for children and adolescent girls. Social interventions to improve perceived safety and physical interventions involving redesign of the built environment to improve actual safety may help to ease parental restriction of their children’s active transport and physical activity in their neighbourhood.

CDC Youth Physical Activity Guidelines Toolkit
Use this new toolkit to help promote physical activity in young people.

Effect of a Two-Year Obesity Prevention Intervention on Percentile Changes in Body Mass Index and Academic Performance in Low-Income Elementary School Children
American Journal of Public Health April 2010, Vol 100, No. 4

The authors conclude: School-based interventions can improve health and academic performance among low-income schoolchildren.

Online resources for identifying evidence-based, out-of-school time programs: A users guide
Child Trends produced this Guide to assist funders, administrators, and practitioners in identifying and navigating online resources to find evidence-based programs that may be appropriate for their target populations and communities.

Understanding parental physical activity: Meanings, habits, and social role influence
Psychology of Sport and Exercise Article in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Kyra Hamilton, and Katherine M. White

Parents had clear understandings of what constitutes PA and engaged in various activities which were integrated with or independent of the children. Being active with children, however, was not always constructed favorably in which many parents described the difficulties of being active with their children.

Best practice guidelines for mental health promotion programs: Older adults 55+
Note this is a “web-resource”.
This web resource is the second in a series of guides to promoting positive mental health across the lifespan. It provides health and social service providers (“practitioners”) with current evidence-based approaches in the application of mental health promotion concepts and principles for older adults and is intended to support practitioners, caregivers and others involved in developing programs in incorporating best practice approaches to mental health promotion initiatives that are directed towards older people (55 years of age and over).

Physical Activity Resources and Changes in Walking in a Cohort of Older Men
American Journal of Public Health April 2010, Vol 100, No. 4

We evaluated the influence of physical activity resources and neighborhood-level socioeconomic status (SES) on walking among community-dwelling older men. Uncovering reasons that proximity to parks and trails is not associated with maintenance of walking activity among men in low-SES neighborhoods could provide new insight into ways to promote physical activity.

2009 Australia Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport, Seventh National Physical Activity Conference, Sixth National Sports Injury Prevention Conference, Be Active '09
Journal of Science and medicine in Sport Volume 12, Supplement 2

This Journal has published abstracts from the October 2009 sports medicine, sports science, sports injury, and physical activity promotion conference.

Application of the Transtheoretical model to physical activity in older adults with Type 2 diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease
Psychology of Sport and Exercise Article in Press
Alison Kirk, Freya MacMillan and Nikki Webster

Findings support the theoretical predictions of the TTM and the use of this model in older clinical populations.

Disparities in Data on Healthy People 2010 Physical Activity Objectives Collected by Accelerometry and Self-Report
American Journal of Public Health April 2010, Vol 100, No. S1

We compared findings on physical activity from national accelerometry data and Healthy People 2010 self-report data to identify differences in disparities by sociodemographic characteristics, gender, age, race/ethnicity, education level, and disability status

Dissemination of effective physical activity interventions: are we applying the evidence?
Health Education Research 2010 25(2):185-198

For physical activity researchers and practitioners, we have effective intervention approaches and analytic tools available for use, such as the Community Guide. However, it is now widely recognized that the mere existence of scientific knowledge is not sufficient to ensure effective application.

This study was undertaken to better understand the importance of studying context as a crucial step in the dissemination of physical activity interventions, focusing particularly on the evidence-based reviews in the Community Guide… One-size does not fit all as illustrated by our study. We must learn about context and capacity before attempting to actively disseminate the Guide's recommendations…..

Global Consultation on the "Toronto Charter for Physical Activity"
The consultation will close on 16th April 2010

The Built Environment and Location-Based Physical Activity
American Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol 38, Iss 4, April 2010, P 429-438

Findings are consistent with studies showing that certain attributes of the built environment around homes are positively related to physical activity, but in this case only when the outcome was location-based.

Fixing the Great Mistake: Autocentric Development
According to a Feb. 25th StreetFilms entry, "'Fixing the Great Mistake' is a new Streetfilms series that examines what went wrong in the early part of the 20th Century, when our cities began catering to the automobile, and how those decisions continue to affect our lives today."

"In this episode, Transportation Alternatives director Paul Steely White shows how planning for cars drastically altered Park Avenue. Watch and see what Park Avenue used to look like, how we ceded it to the automobile, and what we need to do to reclaim the street as a space where people take precedence over traffic."

Perceived characteristics of the neighborhood and its association with physical activity behavior and self-rated health
Health & Place Article in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Willibald J. Stronegger, Sylvia Titze and Pekka Oja

Results suggest that local infrastructure facilities should be designed so as to ensure accessibility by both walking and cycling.