May 19, 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.

Cycling can be seen as being Competitive, Recreational or Functional. Consequently, there are three types of Cycling. This document deals with one of these, namely with Functional Cycling.

A study undertaken by the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta looking at the Avenue Communities Walking Map that was released this past summer. The study showed some really positive indicators around the maps encouraging people to get out walking and connect with their communities.

This Project (PQN) was established to innovate policy development thinking and to show how policy could be developed to address the needs of pedestrians. The documents sets out specific recommendations for professionals and policy makers on all levels – from small communities, to larger cities right to the national and international government levels.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Volume 40, Issue 6, June 2011, Pages 645-658
Few of the variables studied were consistently associated with changes in physical activity, although some were similar to those identified in cross-sectional studies. The heterogeneity in study samples, exposure and outcome variables, and the reliance on self-reported physical activity limit conclusions and highlight the need for further research to inform development and targeting of interventions.

Sip Smart! BC is an informative, fun and interactive learning model that provides Grade 4-6 students, teachers and parents with relevant information about healthy beverages.

WHO April 2011
Four groups of diseases accounted for approximately 80% of all NCD deaths: cardiovascular diseases (17 million people annually), cancer (7.6 million), respiratory disease (4.2 million) and diabetes (1.3 million). These NCDs share four (sic) risk factors:
•physical inactivity
•harmful use of alcohol
•poor diet

Based in Redding California (they) have put together a great document explaining the seven reasons why they initiated such a program. It’s a great resource for any community looking to start their own open street program.  

The challenge for the next generation of advocates is to continue the work of determining what barriers exist in addressing the social determinants of health, why they exist and how to overcome them. Not a simple task by any means, but current experts in the field have developed a foundation upon which to work.

The Lancet, Volume 377, Issue 9775, Pages 1438 - 1447, 23 April 2011

This is worth reading as an important distillation of prevention thought, but one which delivers a model that does not substantially include physical activity.

The Lancet NCD Action Group and the NCD Alliance propose five overarching priority actions for the response to the crisis….  The paper describes the burden attributable to chronic disease clearly, and in ways that are useful particularly to low and middle income countries.

A presentation from the National Council on Aging 2011 Aging in America conference on hot topics in the field.  Drawing from our collective experiences with evidence-based healthy aging programming, national experts, NCOA staff, and attendees consider what we have learned, where we have succeeded, and what needs to be done.

The focus of this campaign is to inform the media, marketers, families and individuals about the untapped human potential associated with aging…… An overarching goal of the Changing the Way We Age® campaign is to effect a shift in society’s perceptions of aging, which in many cases focus on decline and diminished value.

American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry Published ahead of print
doi: 10.1097/JGP.0b013e318211c219
FINDINGS: At baseline, none of the participants showed signs of clinical dementia. Over up to eight years of follow-up, 180 developed Alzheimer’s disease. Those who did tended to have more constricted life spaces. People with a life space restricted to their immediate home environment at the start of the study were almost twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as those who traveled out of town. Confinement to the home was also associated with an increased risk of mild cognitive impairment.

Being physically active with your partner, your children, grandparents, cousins and other relatives is a great idea! All family members can get health benefits by being more active. Plus, the more time you spend with family members, the stronger your family connections will become. 

In order to be eligible for the Prize, candidates must hold an academic or clinical-academic appointment at a North American university and be conducting research in a university or hospital setting. 

Health & Place Article in Press, Corrected Proof
Designing walkable neighborhoods may help to increase adults' PA, even in those for whom walkability is an important criterion when choosing their neighborhood. However, findings from studies with longitudinal and controlled designs are required to provide more strongly causal evidence.

Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics Article in Press, Corrected Proof
It was concluded that the 16-week program of RT was not enough to influence the perception of QoL in postmenopausal women, despite significant changes in muscle strength and in the “energy” facet of the physical domain. We suggest further studies with an extended intervention time and an increased number of participants, considering the changes promoted by RT on the analyzed variables.


May 13, 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.

When effectively integrated with transit services, considerable room exists for bicycling to realize various benefits to communities. A successful marriage between bicycling and transit will likely increase the use and efficiency of both modes. A core problem, however, exists in that the predominant approach for integrating bicycles and transit—bicycles aboard transit vehicles—frequently runs up against capacity restraints. Integrating bicycling and transit requires analysis of a broad range of alternatives that considers both the travel patterns and needs of individuals but also accompanying urban form characteristics. What are the most cost effective strategies likely to generate the largest number of cyclists accessing transit?

The study is an update of a similar one conducted in 1999. The current iteration looks at who is riding (age, gender, income, race), what happens when they ride (safety and injuries), where they are riding (miles of paths, bicycle boulevards, separated facilities), how many are riding (mode share), and how riders are being supported (transit connections, policies, program support). Trends for nine large North American cities are examined.

Over the past 20 years, more commuters in urban areas like Tokyo have been switching gears and choosing to bicycle to work instead of using trains and cars, citing concerns for health, environment, costs and an escape from packed trains. The catastrophe last month has now converted some of the holdouts by proving one more benefit to cycling: you have a means to go home when the trains stop moving……

JPAH Volume 8, Issue 4, May 2011
Active commuting was associated with greater MVPA and lower measures of adiposity among US youth. Before- and after-school MVPA mediated the relationships between active commuting and waist circumference.

Physical Health & Education (PHE) Canada, the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA), and the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association have recently partnered with a number of other organizations in support of the Active Healthy Living After School Pan Canadian Framework.

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice Article in Press, Corrected Proof
This paper is a review of studies published during the last several years on exercise effects on overweight, growth, chronic illnesses, depression and anxiety in children and adolescents…..the current literature highlights the importance of adding exercise programs to clinics, schools and families for the physical and psychological well-being of children and adolescents.

The membership of the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association was asked to prepare a strategy and recommendations on how to most effectively and sustainably expand After School recreation programs across Alberta.

This handbook from the Ontario Chronic Disease Alliance is for anyone who wants to advance health policy in their community or encourage change at the local level.

This toolkit from the Ontario Chronic Disease Alliance is for anyone who wants to advance health policy in their community or encourage change at the local level.

Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine Article in Press, Uncorrected Proof
The main objective was to evaluate the prevalence of the fear of falling among elderly fallers. The secondary objectives were to determine the factors associated with the fear of falling and evaluate the impact of this fear on the activity “getting out of the house”.

Ageing Research Reviews Article in Press, Uncorrected Proof
Based on the results of our literature review, we recommend that when promoting physical activity in the oldest old, special attention is paid to the health benefits of physical activity, to the subject's fears, individual preferences and social support, and to constraints related to the physical environment.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Apr 13;4
This Cochrane Review identified 25 studies that met their inclusion criteria, with 17 of these studies set in low income countries or low socioeconomic communities.  The authors state “we observed that there was a lack of good studies which could show whether this approach was or wasn’t beneficial.”  Future research in this area should focus on improved study design, improved quality of physical activity measures, and larger samples of participants. 

NCPPA has assembled a variety of physical activity fact sheets, tools, and reports on their website.  Their “Resources & Reports,” section features an incredible amount of information helpful for any physical activity practitioner.

Suburban developments can build in walking and cycling…..

Washington, D.C.'s Office of Planning is launching a pilot program called Live Near Your Work that will match up to $6,000 in incentives that businesses offer to employees to move near work or public transit.

Preventive Medicine Article in Press, Accepted Manuscript
The authors conclude that having a more active occupation is not associated with more inactivity during non-work hours.

May 6, 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 & Place Article in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Urban planners should not be discouraged to build high-walkable environments, but next to objective walkability, also environmental perceptions should be considered to achieve neighborhood satisfaction.

Over the 6-year study, with a budget of approximately $1 million, each city identified problem locations, selected and installed countermeasures, and evaluated the impact on pedestrian safety. After the completion of each city’s self-evaluation (between 2007 and 2008), FHWA conducted an independent assessment to compare the effectiveness of the deployments.

Shared-use paths are paved, off-street travelways that serve bicyclists, pedestrians, and other nonmotorized modes of travel… the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has developed a new method to estimate the level of service (LOS) on a shared-use path, using a team of researchers led by the North Carolina State University Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering.

"The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) is excited to announce the inaugural round of Walk Friendly Communities (WFC). After evaluating applicant communities in several categories related to walking, including safety, mobility, access and comfort, PBIC has recognized the following 11 communities for their commitment to improving walkability and pedestrian safety."

Livable communities are a high priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Obama Administration. A livable community is one that provides safe and convenient transportation choices to all citizens, whether it’s by walking, bicycling, transit, or driving….. The FHWA’s Office of Safety develops projects, programs and materials for use in reducing pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities.

The Pedestrians' Quality Needs Project (PQN) established what people need to choose to walk. The summary provides an understanding of those needs and how they can be met and supported by policy.

We created the term ‘slow zone‘ treatment or program to generically describe the aim of any program that modified the physical road environment in such a way it would moderate driver behaviour, slow vehicle traffic, and/or improve the environment of the neighbourhood….

The findings come from a study which used cameras on helmets and inside cars to record journeys in Melbourne. Participants were also asked to comment on tape about what they were observing on the road. These perspectives were then elaborated in a series of focus groups involving drivers and riders.

This is a notice of a guidance in progress.  Expected date of issue: October 2012.

Health & Place Article in Press, Accepted Manuscript
-assessed vigorous PA (VPA) was positively associated with the number of locations regularly used (ß=0.04, p=0.03) and total visits to all locations among Latinos (ß=0.09, p=0.005). Parental PA support was positively associated with locations used (ß=0.64, p<0.001) and visits to all locations (ß=2.56, p<0.001). Children using a greater variety of locations did more VPA.

AHKC reports that during the after-school period, from approximately 3 to 6 p.m., Canadian children and youth are sitting idle indoors - getting a mere 14 minutes, out of a possible 180, of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity. It is important to reverse this trend as research shows that children and youth who are physically active during this time improve their overall daily physical activity levels and health.

Coordinated school health (CSH) is recommended by CDC as a strategy for improving students' health and learning in our nation’s schools….. The health of young people is strongly linked to their academic success, and the academic success of youth is strongly linked with their health. Thus, helping students stay healthy is a fundamental part of the mission of schools.
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport Article in Press, Corrected Proof
The prediction equations developed here allow for direct comparisons between studies employing different ActiGraph cutpoints in preschool-age children. These prediction equations give public health researchers and policy makers a more concise picture of physical activity levels of preschool-aged children.

Economics of Education Review Article in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Breaks for physical activity limit class time for academics, potentially reducing learning. However, breaks may improve alertness and achievement….. find no statistical difference in the male and female students’ response to recess and PE. Evidence suggests that recess and PE do not harm student outcomes.

The toolkit is intended for a wide range of adult allies – adults who support youth empowerment and leadership – from those who are experienced and are looking for additional ideas to those who are new to youth engagement.

Presentations from the National Symposium on Parks & Grounds and the National Awards Ceremonies held in Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, October 27 – 30, 2010. 

Check out this new New South Wales website targeted at older adults.

Neurobiology of Aging Article in Press, Corrected Proof
At this time, the best prescription for lifestyle interventions for healthy cognitive aging would be sustained physical, social, and mental activities. What remains unknown is which type of activity might be most useful, and whether everyone benefits similarly from the same interventions.

Have you ever thought the walk signs at street corners weren’t long enough? Probably not. But if you’re over 65 years old, it may be a different matter. What seems like a reasonable amount of time to cross a street is more like an Olympic sprint for the elderly. It’s one of numerous issues that have grown in importance as our population not only ages but becomes increasingly concentrated in cities.

Clin Evid (Online). 2011 Apr 4;2011. pii: 0325.
CONCLUSIONS: In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following lifestyle interventions: behavioral, diet, and multifactorial interventions; physical activity; and bariatric surgery.

Addictive Behaviors Article in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Clarifies mechanisms of athlete drinking and informs health promotion interventions… Study examined age and gender as moderators of physical activity-alcohol use link… Physical activity associated with alcohol in under 50 years but not over 50 … Relation between physical activity and alcohol use stronger in males than females

Br J Gen Pract. 2011 Mar;61(584):e125-33.
CONCLUSION: Most interventions to increase physical activity were cost-effective, especially where direct supervision or instruction was not required. Walking, exercise groups, or brief exercise advice on prescription delivered in person, or by phone or mail appeared to be more cost-effective than supervised gym-based exercise classes or instructor-led walking programs. Many physical activity interventions had similar cost-utility estimates to funded pharmaceutical interventions and should be considered for funding at a similar level.

The American Journal of Cardiology Article in Press, Corrected Proof
BMI was the most important clinical risk factor associated with CRF other than nonmodifiable risk factors age and gender. For a similar amount of physical activity, normal-weight subjects achieved a higher CRF level compared to obese subjects. These data suggest that obesity may offset the benefits of physical activity on achieved CRF, even in a healthy population of men and women.

Br J Sports Med. 2011 Apr;45(4):332-3.
An increased level of sport and physical activity may be associated with more cases of sport and activity related injuries when considering the general population. People who do not do sport or physical activity on a regular basis are more likely to incur more severe injuries when engaging in such activity. Higher levels of physical activity are not necessarily related to an increased all-cause injury rate. There is a reduction in the risk of falls for those who do participate in physical activity programs.

Physical Activity is mentioned 39 times in this 54 page report.  The Canadian Population Health Initiative (CPHI) of the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), in partnership with the Institute of Population and Public Health (IPPH) of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), has produced a casebook that showcases population health intervention research (PHIR) in Canada.

Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice Article in Press, Corrected Proof
The creation of the new sedentary behaviour paradigm is likely to have a significant impact on research and interventions aimed at the prevention and management of diabetes in the future. This article highlights the key concepts and implications of this new paradigm.

Many policies developed in isolation from the available evidence, or initiated and continued in the absence of monitoring and formal evaluation of impact and effectiveness, may well be ineffective in meeting their primary or secondary policy objectives and in some cases may even have unknown and unexpected adverse consequences.

BMC Medical Education 2011, 11:17
This study confirmed that information literacy among this student population was lacking and that integration of modules within the curriculum can help students to filter and establish the quality of online information, a critical component in the training of new health care professionals.

On April 18, 2011, Council for the City of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada approved in principle the Transportation Master Plan that includes a Complete Streets policy. AT Canada understands it to be the first in Ontario and believe it makes Waterloo the first municipality in Canada to adopt a Complete Streets policy making active transportation an integral part of their municipal transportation system.

This report celebrates and documents the rapid growth of Complete Streets policy adoption and provides a standard analysis of the content of the more than 200 written policies adopted before January 1, 2011. It highlights those policies that come closest to achieving the ‘ideal’ of our ten policy elements. Our purpose in issuing this report is to  provide jurisdictions looking to adopt new policies with guidance and plenty of examples.

This Statistics Canada Report, based on 2005 census data looks at car dependence in urban neighbourhoods. While many people are calling for an end to the excessive use of cars and for greater reliance on more environment-friendly means of transportation, such as car-pooling, public transit, walking and bicycling, many people probably feel helpless when confronted with such suggestions.

This report was prepared by a research working group of the International Transport Forum, composed of experts from 19 countries together with experts from the World Health Organization… . This brief report assembles the most important information on the importance of walking to the future development of our cities and opens with the main key messages from the full report.

In 2010, Carewest earned two honourary mentions in Alberta Venture magazine's Alberta's Best Workplaces competition. One was in the category of Best Workplaces Overall (over 750 employees) and the other in the category of Best Workplaces for Health and Safety.