April 29, 2011

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

Note: where possible we provide the DOI to link to research papers in the Info Round up.  To use it, cut and paste the DOI into the text box on this webpage: Access to research articles will be dependent on your Institutional rights.

Health, wellness, exercise, relieving stress and having fun are excellent reasons to ride your bike to work - everyday!  However, if you, or someone you know needs one more reason to Bike to Work, why not try this free widget to calculate the money you will save just on fuel.

Even though almost two-thirds of Canadian families live close enough for the children to walk to school, only about one-third of children actually do that. Combine the rides young people typically receive to get to school with the many hours they spend watching TV and playing video games: the result is a very high level of inactivity, and often accompanying health problems, particularly obesity.

This report addresses the need for comprehensive, reliable, and current information about fast food marketing and how it affects young people. We focus our analyses on the twelve restaurants with the highest sales and advertising to youth in 2009 and document three components of their marketing plans….

Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 2011, 36:291-297
doi: 10.1139/h11-002
Our data highlight important methodological considerations when measuring physical activity in preschoolers and the need for preschool-specific physical activity guidelines for Canadian children.

This brief summarizes research on playgrounds and how playgrounds impact physical activity among children. For the purposes of this brief, a playground is defined as a small,  publicly owned, outdoor area that features play equipment and provides recreational physical activity for younger children.

Respiratory Medicine Article in Press, Corrected Proof
Conclusion: Physical activity is not related to adult-onset asthma in this cohort of French middle-aged women

This resource describes accessibility as much more than making sure wheelchairs can reach the upper decks of a conventional playground design. It looks at how inclusive play must be a fundamental consideration beginning at the playground design conceptualization stage so that children of all abilities can fully enjoy the benefits of play.

There is a need to minimize environmental barriers to child and youth participation in organized recreational, sport and cultural activities. This approach includes accessibility, costs, transportation, locations of activities, availability of necessary aides or support personnel and organizational supports or accommodations. This is particularly important for low-income families. 

 The “It’s more than a Game” federal election campaign is led by the Sport Matters Group (SMG)- a voluntary group of sport leaders, including over 60 national and provincial sport and physical activity leaders, who care about the future of sport and physical activity in Canada and the fulfillment of sport’s important contributions to our society.

A case study that describes the CMHA Grey Bruce Branch experience creating the Let It Grow garden program. The document, captures the experience of building a successful community garden program with employment opportunities for participants and other information for organizations that may want to start their own garden.

Schizophrenia Research Article in Press, Corrected Proof
Present findings provide further support for routinely incorporating physical activity within rehabilitation programs and clinical assessments.

This document speaks to the value of building capacity within the community mental health sector to promote healthy eating as an essential element of recovery, through building and strengthening community partnerships.

CDC supports research and dissemination on ways to help prevent falls among older adults.

At Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (Ontario).  Be sure to looks at the documents under the meeting proceedings.

Developed by the Highway Safety Research Center at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Select your desired module title to view the associated video and downloadable handouts. If you are unable to work through an entire module in one sitting, you can always return at a later date and fast forward the video to where you last left off.

A 120 pg document from the UK.  Diet and nutrition are key factors that impact on the health of older people and a healthy diet and lifestyle can help prevent disease, particularly chronic disease. In general, healthy eating advice for older people is similar to the rest of the population. However, the physiological changes associated with ageing result in older people having some specific nutritional needs that differ from the rest of the population.

The ideas on the following pages were generated through a call for oral presentation and poster session proposals for the January 20, 2011 symposium, What Must New York Do Now to Prevent Obesity? The ideas are subdivided into the following four categories: Children (places to learn and play), Food Systems, Neighbourhoods and Workplaces.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Volume 40, Issue 5, May 2011, Pages 514-521
Adherence to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines was associated with reduced all-cause mortality risks among U.S. adults, after controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, BMI, smoking, and alcohol use.

It is the mission of the Decatur Active Living Division to provide leisure and support services that contribute to the quality of life of the citizens of Decatur. We are committed to enhancing the lives of individuals and families, contributing to the City’s economic development, preserving and promoting an appreciation for our green spaces and celebrating diversity while bringing us together as a community

Read about the results from the eat well be active program in South Australia. The aim of ewba was to contribute to the healthy weight of children and young people (018 years).

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Volume 40, Issue 5, May 2011, Pages 522-529
Parks have been proposed as a feature of the built environment that may promote increased physical activity. Little, if any, research has investigated the role of the park social environment in promoting physical activity within parks, however.

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: March 2011 - Vol 25 - Iss 3 - pp 689-693
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318207eae9
This is the first study to determine the percentage of V̇O2max and caloric expenditure elicited by different Wii Fit™ video games at different game levels in adults. Findings suggest that the Wii Fit™ can be used as an effective activity for promoting physical health in this population (young women).

RESEARCH STUFF is a non-partisan web-based project funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Manitoba Health Research Council to make the latest evidence on controversial health policy issues available to the media.  This site links journalists with health policy experts to provide access to credible, evidence-based information.

(CRUNCH) is an internationally-unique, five-year program examining the effects of complex, neighbourhood-level, population-based interventions on health and its determinants, particularly for children. It is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Public Health Agency of Canada

The standards are organized into eight volumes by discipline. Each volume contains a design section, specifications and drawings as required, plus any other guidelines or manuals appropriate to that discipline.

For the first time in history, the United Nations' Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) has adopted a resolution formally recognizing the role public spaces that are green, safe and socially inclusive, play in sustainable urban development. The resolution calls upon governments to implement urban environmental planning, regulation, and management that fosters the development of quality urban public spaces and advances the agenda on place-making in cities.

April 15, 2011

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

Note: where possible we provide the DOI to link to research papers in the Info Round up.  To use it, cut and paste the DOI into the text box on this webpage: Access to research articles will be dependent on your Institutional rights.

The paper examines prior approaches to assessing bikeability, details a new method to measure bikeability, presents the findings, and explores what impact expected or potential transportation and land use changes might have on bikeability.

This report is intended to serve as a planning and conceptual design guide for planners, engineers, citizens, advocates, and decision makers who are considering bicycle boulevards in their community. Data for this guide was developed from literature review, case study interviews, and input from a panel of professional experts.

The research by the YMCA, which surveyed more than 1,600 American parents with children between the ages of 5 and 10, showed that 58 per cent of children spend less than four days a week playing outside because parents find it more convenient to spend time in front of a television or computer.

This paper reviews research that has evaluated programs to increase active transportation to school, focusing on evidence-based studies designed to measure changes in attitudes and behavior about journey to school transportation. It is intended to summarize the state of the knowledge in the field today, identify the gaps in research, and provide direction for future study on this topic.

Designed to help schools to ‘plan, do and review’ health and wellbeing improvements for their children and young people and to identify and select activities and interventions effectively. This approach will ensure schools put in place the most appropriate services and meet the needs of children and young people.

Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases Article in Press, Corrected Proof
Based both on trial evidence and a few implementation studies carried out in “real life” settings, some 5% reduction in body weight results in a 60–70% reduction in the diabetes risk. The obesity/type 2 diabetes epidemic requires much more effort than currently realized, and the political commitment and community-based programs are mandatory to tackle this epidemic of modern society 

The final version of the Institute of Medicine report on Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin has been released.  This report was jointly commissioned and funded by Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and several U.S. government agencies. The report contains the most up-to-date recommendations for adequacy (EARs and RDAs) and for preventing excessive intakes (ULs) of these nutrients.

This paper reviews what we know about the impact of walking and physical activity on mental health conditions that appeared to be most relevant to walking as in the popular and academic literature: mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, cognitive functioning and social capital or networks.

This paper identifies a shortlist of practical and validated questionnaires for the assessment of physical activity and diet, to support public health practitioners to evaluate weight management interventions. The shortlist is based on best available evidence and highlights the strengths and limitations of each questionnaire.

This article outlines three simple techniques to help you become active in the first place, and to stay active over the long term! Each of these basic techniques will help keep you moving!

Americans favor walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, with 56 percent of respondents preferring smart growth neighborhoods over neighborhoods that require more driving between home, work and recreation.

This (UK) paper describes available sources of national and local data on aspects of the neighbourhood environment that influence physical activity and diet.

A national (Australian) guide for planning, designing and creating healthy, sustainable, people friendly places. It comprises this website and an overview document.

Living Streets is a UK charity that stands up for pedestrians. With our supporters we work to create safe, attractive and enjoyable streets, where people want to walk. We work with professionals and politicians to make sure every community can enjoy vibrant streets and public spaces.

This link takes you to the main web-page with links to all UK resources.  The original manual was published in 2007, and the award recognises that it is radically changing designers' and local authorities' approach to residential street design for the better. It emphasises that streets should be places in which people want to live and spend time in, and are not just transport corridors. In particular, it aims to reduce the impact of vehicles on residential streets by asking practitioners to plan street design intelligently and proactively, and gives a high priority to the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and users of public transport.

Shared Space strives to combine rather than separate the various functions of public spaces. By doing so, the quality of public spaces will be improved, and responsible behaviour will be evoked. So, when designing spaces, Shared Space relies on information from the surroundings to guide road users' conduct, instead of forcing them to strictly obey to traffic rules and signs.

In general, the VAMPIRE index shows that the further from the centre of the city a suburb is situated, the more likely it is to fall into the higher vulnerability categories.  Inner city areas of these five Australian cities almost universally fall into low or moderate vulnerability categories. The residents of these areas are typically wealthier than average and are far more likely to use public transport, walk or cycle than those more distant from the city centre, in part because these areas have some of the best public transport services

April 8, 2011

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

Note: where possible we provide the DOI to link to research papers in the Info Round up.  To use it, cut and paste the DOI into the text box on this webpage: Access to research articles will be dependent on your Institutional rights.

BEAT is a joint initiative between the BC Recreation and Parks Association and the Union of BC Municipalities and is funded through the BC Healthy Living Alliance.

British Journal of Sports Medicine – published online first
This editorial summarizes the health benefits and risks of cycling and describes current controversies and evidence challenges for cycling policy and promotion. It provides a useful snapshot for those trying to promote cycling for both active commuting and recreational purposes.

The scheme encourages employers to loan bicycles and cycling safety equipment to employees as a tax-exempt benefit for the purpose of cycling to work. Under the scheme, employers buy cycling equipment from suppliers approved by their scheme administrator, and hire it to their employees. At the end of the loan period, the employer may choose to give the employee the option to purchase the equipment. Employees who participant in schemes run by Alliance members, on average, save up to 40% of the total cost of a new bike. To date over 400,000 people have taken advantage of the scheme, which involves over 2,220 bike retailers and 15,000 employers. is designed to increase the awareness and understanding of Active Transportation in Nova Scotia and provide an accessible system for sharing best practices, research and policy information.

Whether it is in the backyard, at a local park, or on a mountain top, just get outside and get active!

The outdoor environment is increasingly being recognized as an effective venue for increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviors among children and youth.

J American College of Cardiology, 2011; 57:1604-1610
A single measurement of low fitness in mid-life was associated with higher lifetime risk for CVD death, particularly among persons with a high burden of CVD risk factors.

This NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre report presents a range of information on obesity, physical activity and diet, drawn together from a variety of sources………..

The basis for the Minding Our Bodies: Physical Activity for Mental Health project is that the research evidence for physical activity’s beneficial effects upon people’s physical and mental health is convincing.

Results suggest that a change in diet consisting of foods free of artificial food colorings and high in these micronutrients may help to alleviate the severity of ADHD.

Although promising, more nutrition-based intervention studies are required to firmly establish effective diet-based treatments for people diagnosed with depression.

The file includes information on the health of Canadians aged 45 and over by examining the various factors that impact healthy aging, such as general health and well-being, physical activity, use of health care services, social participation, as well as work and retirement transitions.

A short, two page checklist.

From the UK - a nationwide program‚ supporting people aged over 50 with physical activity‚ healthy eating and mental well-being.

In February the BHFNC held two Active Ageing Events learning seminars for professionals with an interest in promoting physical activity with older adults. The seminars were designed to provide examples of 2010 Active Ageing event case studies…

With a fun story, lively illustrations and loads of safety tips, this book is a great resource for encouraging and teaching about intergenerational falls prevention.  (Note: costs $ to order.)  The link takes you to free .pdfs to download.

Health Promotion International 2011
doi: 10.1093/heapro/dar018
A literature review identified nine potential areas for policy intervention at local government level, including the walking environment and food policy.

This leaflet pulls together the tips that emerged from the BHFNC 10th Annual Conference for engaging primary care professionals with the physical activity agenda.

ACDPA welcomes the opportunity to provide input to the development of a National Urban Policy for Australia. Our comments will focus on the potential for a national urban policy to help prevent chronic disease by influencing levels of physical activity and obesity and facilitating access to healthier foods.

The Clean Air Partnership (CAP), in partnership with the Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA), examined ten public health units in Ontario that are trying to create healthier and more sustainable communities by working through the land use planning processes in their districts/regions.

This (full) report examines the ways in which ten public health units in Ontario are working to influence land use and transportation planning processes to help create healthy and sustainable communities. It is intended as a tool for professionals in the public health sector. (Note: large document 232 pgs).

Whatever your experience, starting or continuing regular physical activity throughout menopause can help you enjoy this time in your life.

Public Health Article in Press, Corrected Proof
Approximately 70% of respondents who usually walked or cycled to work achieved greater than 80% of the recommended guidelines for physical activity through their active commuting.

April 1, 2011

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living
Note: where possible we provide the DOI to link to research papers in the Info Round up.  To use it, cut and paste the DOI into the text box on this webpage: Access to research articles will be dependent on your Institutional rights.

This research report reviews trends in cycling levels, safety, and policies in large North American cities over the past two decades. We analyze aggregate national data as well as city specific case study data for nine large cities (Chicago, Minneapolis, Montréal, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington, DC).

In the past decade there has been a semi-revolution in the world of cycling in North America. Through various means and for various reasons, cities have been investing more in cycling programs and infrastructure. Cities with heavy investment in cycling are consistently rated among the best places to live, the most economically rewarding, and the most progressive….

There appears to be consistent misinterpretation by traders that the majority of their customers arrive by car, and this is not just a UK phenomena. In Graz, Austria, traders reported that 58% of customers arrived by car when objective data showed that this was 32%, while 68% arrived by sustainable travel modes and yet traders believed just 42% did so.

Environment International Volume 37, Issue 4, May 2011, Pages 766-777
Research highlights:  Active travel policies are growing in popularity worldwide. We review multiple benefits and potential risks associated with policies. Quantitative relationships for health impact assessments are discussed. Major health benefits are especially expected from physical activity outcomes. Well designed policies may enhance co-benefits and mitigate risks.

BMJ. 2010 Oct 18 ; 341 :c5293
doi: 10.1136/bmj.c5293
Objectives: To determine what interventions are effective in promoting cycling, the size of the effects of interventions, and evidence of any associated benefits on overall physical activity or anthropometric measures.

Based on existing material the project seeks agreement among experts from different countries, professional backgrounds and cultures on common performance indicators and quality levels for data collection methods.

PedNet advocates for better facilities for walking, biking, and wheeling, and offers encouragement and education programs to help people shift to non-motorized transportation.

A 5-page brief by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.

PARC/Ophea’s  database has been developed to provide access to a variety of helpful resources to support your work in the area of physical activity promotion and healthy schools and communities. This fully interactive, searchable database has been populated with resources from public health, community health, sport and recreation, and other community partners as well as resources from Ophea.

This factsheet includes information on:
•General physical activity trends
•Travel to school
•Provision of PE and sport in schools
•Physical activity and the school day
•Sedentary behaviour

This information sheet outlines the effects sitting for too long has on your health and gives tips on how to decrease your sitting time.

In this 20 minute video Dan Burden presents the case for creating communities that are centered on people and not cars. He identifies the benefits to the community in terms of both vitality and economic well-being. As a leading expert in his field of creating livable communities he talks about the processes he uses and the results of his many projects..."

This article addresses some of the issues and concerns surrounding the increased consumption of energy drinks and outlines why experts are urging people to “think before they drink.”

From the 2011 Physical Activity Resource Centre Workshop series.

European Journal of Internal Medicine Article in Press, Corrected Proof
We can conclude saying that the evidence favoring the introduction of exercise into clinical practice is irrefutable. Consequently we may agree with the statement that it should be considered now an imperative of clinical prevention that all patients understand the risks of a sedentary life and that exercise is important in treating and preventing chronic diseases.

A complementary document to The Toronto Charter for Physical Activity: A Global Call to Action.  This new document, developed by GAPA and leading academics and practitioners identifies 7 best investments for physical activity which are supported by good evidence of effectiveness and that have worldwide applicability.

From the 2011 Physical Activity Resource Centre Workshop series.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol 40, Iss 4, April 2011, Pages 454-461
According to the NHANES 2005–2006, fewer than 10% of U.S. adults met the PAGA according to accelerometry. However, physical activity estimates vary substantially depending on whether self-reported or measured via accelerometer.

Journal of the American Dietetic Association Vol 111, Iss 4, April 2011, Pages 556-560
Certain aspects of the home environment as well as individuals' knowledge of energy balance are believed to be important correlates of various dietary and physical activity behaviors, but no known studies have examined potential relationships between these correlates.

From the 2011 Physical Activity Resource Centre Workshop series.

This information sheet outlines the effects sitting for too long has on your health and gives tips on how to decrease your sitting time.

“What’s a swapper? It’s simple really. It just means swapping some of the things I’m doing now for healthier choices.”


This tool book will investigate the impact that these transportation decisions have on the places where we choose to live, work and play, and how these decisions affect the health of ourselves and our children.

This report summarizes presentations and discussions from a roundtable discussion on “Forging Transit-Bicycle-Pedestrian Partnerships For Livable and Sustainable Communities” held in conjunction with the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, on October 6, 2010.

A new resource for land use and transportation planners, municipal and regional decision makers, engineers, health officials, and others on the physical environment factors that contribute to walkable (pedestrian-friendly, transit-supportive) neighbourhood design in Metro Vancouver.

From the 2011 Physical Activity Resource Centre Workshop series.

Journal of Environmental Psychology Article in Press, Accepted Manuscript
In a natural experiment, days with four available elevators were compared with days when three elevators were available. Stair use increased for three elevators compared to four. Increasing building occupancy was associated with increased stair use, whilst increasing pedestrian traffic and time of day was associated with reduced stair use.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol 40, Iss 4, April 2011, Pages 476-485
The rapid changes to the labor force (e.g., advances in technology, overtime hours) have increased obesogenic behaviors (e.g., lack of physical activity, sedentariness on the job).
The purpose of this review was to unite and appraise the existing research examining occupation correlates of adults' participation in leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) to establish direction for future research targeting habitual inactivity