December 16, 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.

Welcome to the final Info. Round-Up for 2011. We’ll be taking a couple weeks off for the holidays. From all of us here at the Centre, we'd like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!

A discussion paper.  The Australian Heart Foundation (SA) commissioned this discussion paper to bring together the evidence around the financial benefits to retailers and residents in making commercial streets more walking and cycling friendly.

Preventive Medicine In Press, Accepted Manuscript
► We analyzed walking behavior from a population based survey of sport and physical activity. ► 68% of the participants report walking for 10 minutes or more during the previous week. ► 24% of the participants report walking at a pace likely to be moderate intensity. ► Time spent walking briskly for personal transport was a predictor of leanness. ► Time spent working at home was negatively associated with leanness.

The Active Toy Guide features a variety of toys that encourage kids to play in a physically active way. Some are electronic and some are suited for indoor and outdoor play. Categories are for kids 0-5

The bottom line: even if you are using active video games and other technical aids to become more active, you also need to participate in other activities and exercises that improve your flexibility, strength and endurance.

WASHINGTON, DC (November 3, 2011) — Congressman Ron Kind (WI) and Senator Mark Udall (CO) introduced the Healthy Kids Outdoors Act today to support state, local and federal strategies to connect youth and families with the natural world, improve children’s health and support future economic growth and conservation efforts.

SPANS 2010 is the fourth in a series of school-based surveys of NSW school students and provides valuable trend information on physical activity and nutrition in years K, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10.

Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport In Press, Corrected Proof
The purpose of this study was to determine the levels of physical activity (PA), lesson context and teacher interaction students receive during physical education (PE) in secondary schools in New South Wales, Australia.

Journal of the American Dietetic Association Vol 111, Iss 12, Dec 2011, Pg 1852-1860
This instrument provides a standardized method to analyze and compare the comprehensiveness and strength of written nutrition and physical activity policies in child-care centers.

The LIN web site has been relaunched with a new graphic design and improved functionality for users. At the same time, a revitalized LIN is reaffirming its connection to the recreation and parks sector by reinstating its original name - Leisure Information Network (LIN).

Delta Ottawa City Centre February 7-10, 2012
The conference will take stock of advances that have been made with regard to integrated action for chronic disease prevention in Canada; the successes, the challenges, the gaps, and our opportunities. In recognition of the multi-factorial causes of chronic diseases, the emphasis will be upon ‘what works’; how are sectors coming together for collaborative action on chronic disease prevention.

If passed the soda tax would return 85 percent of all revenues back to communities. That 1.445 billion equates to an average of $233 per student in new funding that communities across the state will be able to use in their classrooms and to ensure that their children are healthy and will live brighter futures.

This report quantifies the nutritional content and full array of marketing practices that promote sugary drinks to children and teens. In the first section……

Annals of Behavioural Medicine, 2011, Online First.
DOI: 10.1007/s12160-011-9320-y
Find out more about the links between sedentary behavior and mental health in this new workplace health study.

Organizations that can clearly and accurately articulate their financial story and resource needs are better positioned to make a strong case for support. In both good times and bad…. Use the worksheet on the back to capture a snapshot of your nonprofit’s strengths and weaknesses.

Show me the Evidence was conceived as a way of showcasing some of the high-quality and relevant research supported by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). This premier issue presents three stories about initiatives that have the potential to improve the delivery of health services to Canadians….

Alongside traditional policy responses there are also innovative solutions which include new ways addressing ageing that may involve new technology and new processes. In the area of health, a life course approach includes an increased focus on prevention and the promotion of healthy lifestyles at all stages of life to keep people active and prevent or mitigate chronic disease.

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2011 Oct;92(10):1581-6
The objective was to evaluate measures of strength and balance and falls incidence in participants attending fall prevention exercise classes taught by volunteer peer leaders, paid professional (Age Concern Otago group), or a comparison class (comparison group).

Disabil Rehabil. 2011 Sep 29. [Epub ahead of print]
The impact of supervised Tai Chi on fall prevention can not be explained by a differential effect on balance, gait and fear of falling. It appeared to be related to an increase of general self-efficacy, a phenomenon which is not seen in the conventional physiotherapy program.

Parkinsonism & Related Disorders Vol 18, Supl 1, Jan 2012, Pages S114-S119
No significant effects were found for UPDRS-motor score, Freezing of Gait and Quality of Life. Overall, MbM-therapy appears promising for the improvement of gait and gait-related activities in PD. Future studies should incorporate larger groups and focus on long-term compliance and follow-up.

In an effort to reduce pejorative portrayals of overweight and obese persons in media reporting, he Canadian Obesity Network has created an Image Gallery that provides a collection of photographs that portray obese individuals in ways that are positive and non-stereotypical.

A 9 minute YouTube video. A Doctor-Professor answers the old question "What is the single best thing we can do for our health" in a completely new way.
Dr. Mike Evans is founder of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, and a staff physician at St. Michael's Hospital

This guide is intended to assist families in creating memories through active experiences.
Use the information provided to create the right experience for your family.

This article looks at the rates of participation in sport and physical recreation across Australia for people aged 15 years and over, by selected characteristics and by selected activities. The article also looks at Australians who had reported low or no exercise and who would therefore not be meeting the National Physical Activity Guidelines.

Although the health benefits of physical activity are well-established, high rates of physical inactivity among Canadians continue to persist….

Here's how to turn exercise excuses into heart rate-boosting opportunities this holiday season.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol 42, Iss 1, Jan 2012, Pages 14-20
Physical activity decline was evident during young adults' transition into early adulthood, with declines being steepest among men who entered a college/university.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol 42, Iss 1, Jan 2012, Pages 81-88
Given the strength of evidence for telephone-delivered physical activity and dietary change interventions, greater emphasis on dissemination studies is warranted.

AIHW figures indicate that, compared with people in metropolitan areas, those living in regional and remote areas were 1.16 times more likely to be sedentary…… Although rural residents are often perceived as being more active than urban residents, due to a larger proportion working in labor intensive occupations such as agriculture, forestry and fishing, the same study found that only 43 per cent of men and eight percent of women engaged in occupation-related physical activity.

A week-long (24-29 June, 2012 in Boston) institute designed to train investigators and practitioners tangible skills that can be used to measure many of the aspects of the built environment that are believed to have an effect on health.

Highlights neighborhood-level changes to the built environment that can have a positive influence on the health of community residents, especially in low-income communities. The profiles demonstrate how health practitioners, community members and many others can work together to improve community well-being by making changes to the built environment.

Creating Places for People does not take a one size fits all approach. It provides broad principles for urban design that take into account the unique characteristics of a location, people’s enjoyment, experience and health, and encourages excellence and collaboration in the design and custodianship of urban places.

A physical activity policy is a written document which includes a statement of intent about how a company proposes to address physical activity issues in the workplace.

A sample workplace policy.

December 9, 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.

“Given the reputation of the Netherlands as a cyclist's paradise, you might think that its extensive cycling infrastructure came down from heaven itself, or was perhaps created by the wave of a magic wand. Not so. It was the result of a lot of hard work, including massive street protests and very deliberate political decision-making."

Walking, cycling and public transit are emphasized in an update to Coquitlam’s strategic transportation plan, a document that seeks to increase alternate modes of commuter travel in the municipality.

In brief, Level of Service (LOS) suggests that whenever the city wants to change some element of a street -- say by adding a bike lane or even just painting a crosswalk -- it should calculate the effect that change will have on car traffic. If the change produces too much congestion, then a great deal of time, money, and additional analysis must go toward the project's consideration."

National Center Releases “Getting Results” Resources.  Three-part Series Shows Communities Are Seeing Benefits of SRTS Programs.

Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport In Press, Corrected Proof
The pedometer, a practical, relatively inexpensive tool, is suitable for the identification of less active children and has some utility to assess the relative intensity of activities in the context of a school day.

In the (UofA)  PADL our goal is to understand the physiological changes that occur in the body and to devise effective physical activity and behaviour modification strategies that stop the disease, or lessen its impacts on the quality of life for those with the disease.

Archivos de Bronconeumología (English Edition) In Press, Corrected Proof
The Yale Physical Activity Survey may be a valid tool to classify, but not to quantify, physical activity performed by COPD patients. The summary index of this questionnaire, based on seven short questions, shows the best validity properties. This suggests that it should be considered as a screening tool to identify patients at risk for sedentarism.

We are pleased to provide here highlights of the 12th annual Walk21 Conference that took place in Metro Vancouver on Oct 3-5, 2011. The theme was "Transforming the automobile city: walking steps up!" The Walk21 Metro Vancouver Society hosted 540 delegates from 24 countries who spent three glorious days exploring innovative approaches to designing and building communities where walking is an essential and preferred method of transport.

Making sense of nutrition information on food labels can be confusing. With the introduction of the Healthy U Food Checker, the job of choosing healthy, nutrient-rich foods just got easier! This unique online tool helps take the confusion away by allowing you to compare the nutrition information you find on packaged foods to the Alberta Nutrition Guidelines. 

Ageing Research Reviews In Press, Uncorrected Proof
► Physical exercise therapy improves mobility and physical functioning in elderly patients suffering from mobility problems, disability and/or multi-morbidity. ► This positive effect is of great value in a population of already physically impaired elderly. ► High intensity exercise seems to be somewhat more effective in improving physical functioning than low intensity exercise. ► No conclusions about the most effective type of intervention can be drawn.

J Public Health (2011) First published online: September 20, 2011
doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdr075
They found the majority of public health interventions assessed are highly cost-effective. Physical Activity is an intervention that is discussed.

Renowned active transportation expert Dan Burden had kind things to say about Collingwood. He praised the town's Urban Design Manual, calling it "one of the best I've seen in all of North America.

The good news is that there is great pent-up demand for walkable, centrally located neighborhoods in cities like Portland, Denver, Philadelphia…….

Smart growth is about the nuts and bolts: the stuff most of us don’t often think about that has a lot to do with our quality of life. Smart growth addresses the way we move from one place to another and what those places are like.


December 5, 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.

Improved walking and cycling conditions, and increased non-motorized travel activity can provide numerous benefits to users and society, including congestion reductions, road and parking facility cost savings, consumer savings and affordability, improved mobility for non-drivers, energy conservation, pollution emission reductions, improved public fitness and health, and local economic development

This report describes methods for evaluating non-motorized transport (walking, cycling, and their variants) benefits and costs, including direct benefits to users from improved walking and cycling conditions, and various benefits to society from increased non-motorized travel activity, reduced automobile travel, and support for more compact land use development.

The FIA Foundation for Automobiles and Society and the United Nations Environmental Program emphasizes the importance of improving walking and cycling conditions by changing roadway design and management, particularly in developing countries.

It is suggested that policies to increase levels of walking and cycling should focus not only on improving infrastructure, but also must tackle broader social, economic, cultural  and legal factors that currently inhibit walking and cycling. Together, such changes can create an environment in which driving for short trips in urban areas is seen as abnormal and walking or cycling seem the obvious choices.

Based on a subsample of the 2010 Physical Activity Monitor, Canadian parents were asked whether their child had access to supervised programs after school….

An article in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Play details not only how much children's play time has declined, but how this lack of play affects emotional development, leading to the rise of anxiety, depression, and problems of attention and self control.

The 2010 Physical Activity Monitor examined young people’s participation in a variety of activities during the after school period. Specifically, parents were asked to report on the types of activities which require energy expenditure such as doing chores, playing outdoors or participating in organized or unorganized physical activity and sport.

Psychology of Sport and Exercise In Press, Accepted Manuscript
This study investigated Social Cognitive Theory and children’s physical activity. A diverse sample of children from six schools was used in this analysis. Only barriers were a nonsignificant predictor of physical activity behaviours. The model accounted for little variance in children’s physical activity. Broader models may be needed to better predict children’s physical activity.

You’re just like your mother!” If anyone has ever heard that, it’s probably because it’s true – we tend to emulate our parents’ behaviour, whether we like it or not. Parents are the biggest single source of influence in a child’s life, and parental support of healthy habits early on in a child’s life will pay a lifetime of dividends.

Low rates of physical activity among young children and youth is of concern given the importance of physical activity for children’s healthy growth and development and since physical activity behaviors have been shown to track throughout childhood into adulthood.

The 2010 Physical Activity Monitor explored the concept of parental involvement by asking parents about the amount of time that they spend playing active games with their child and transporting their children to their physical activities or sports….

International Journal of Pediatric Obesity Volume 6, Number S2 (October 2011)
The general objective of the PERISCOPE (Pilot European Regional Interventions for Smart Childhood Obesity Prevention in Early Age) is to prevent child obesity between the ages of 3 and 6 years.  All articles in this special journal supplement are about the project – many discuss physical activity.

This bulleting explores more sedentary pursuits (for example: watching TV, reading, or doing homework) participated in after school.

American Journal of Kidney Diseases In Press, Corrected Proof
In the absence of guidelines specific to the CKD population, recent guidelines developed for older individuals and patients with chronic disease should be applied to the CKD population. In sum, exercise appears to be safe in this patient population if begun at moderate intensity and increased gradually. The evidence suggests that the risk of remaining inactive is higher. Patients should be advised to increase their physical activity when possible and be referred to physical therapy or cardiac rehabilitation programs when appropriate.

This article offers plenty of ideas about: boosting the use of community trails by making them easier to access and more user-friendly; and promoting your community’s trails, so more people know about their locations and features.

From the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), this literature review by Swedish researchers provides an overview of English-language research studies published from 2006 to 2010 on online health information-seeking behaviour by health consumers and professionals.

Public Health In Press, Corrected Proof
This study identified and reviewed grey literature relating to factors facilitating and inhibiting effective interventions in three areas: the promotion of mental health and well-being, the improvement of food and nutrition, and interventions seeking to increase engagement in physical activity

Mental Health and Physical Activity In Press, Accepted Manuscript
GPs are enthusiastic in promoting physical activity for managing depression. ► GPs promote physical activity despite awareness of evidence and guidelines. ► GPs believe physical activity has biochemical, social and psychological benefits. ► GPs are aware of the need for patient autonomy and a reduced reliance on medication.

The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media exists to improve health globally by accelerating effective application of social media tools throughout Mayo Clinic and spurring broader and deeper engagement in social media by hospitals, medical professionals and patients.

Maturitas In Press, Corrected Proof
There is a rich variety in methods used for data collection and analysis as well as in reported variables. Different aspects of physical activity can be described, but the variety makes it challenging to compare across studies. There is an urgent need for developing consensus on activity monitoring protocols and which variables to report.

Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. November 2011, 14(11): 681-688
The finding suggests that AVGs are effective technologies that may facilitate light- to moderate-intensity physical activity promotion.

Updated by PHAC.  Tip sheets for all four age groups (children, youth, adults and older adults).

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2011.00779.x
General practitioners should be aware that physical activity recommendations are received favorably by most patients and there is potential to improve public health by giving physical activity advice to sedentary and/or overweight patients when appropriate.

SBRN is the only organization for researchers and health professionals which focuses specifically on the health impact of sedentary behaviour. SBRN's mission is to connect sedentary behaviour researchers and health professionals working in all fields of study, and to disseminate this research to the academic community and to the public at large. 

Whatever you think of the Manhattan pedestrian mall known as Times Square (love it or hate it), you have Jan Gehl to thank….. no one has done more in the last decade to retrofit cities for cyclists and pedestrian ….

This is the third in a series of columns that respond to recent claims by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) that smart growth policies are ineffective and harmful.

The ultimate goal of most transportation is “access,” people’s ability to reach desired goods, services and activities. Transportation decisions often involve tradeoffs between different forms of access. How transport is measured can have a major impact on these tradeoffs.

Shared space is a design approach that seeks to change the way streets operate by reducing the dominance of motor vehicles, primarily through lower speeds and encouraging drivers to behave more accommodatingly towards pedestrians.

Am J Epidemiol. 2011 Nov 1;174(9):1017-27. Epub 2011 Oct 7.
Analyses simultaneously considering PA and television watching suggested that both contributed independently to depression risk.