Friday

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: http://dx.doi.org/ Access to research articles will be dependent on your Institutional rights.

ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION
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.

CHILDREN
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.

CHRONIC DISEASE
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 

HEALTHY EATING
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.

MENTAL HEALTH
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.

OVERWEIGHT/OBESITY
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.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
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!

URBAN DESIGN
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


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