December 14, 2012

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

Note: where possible, we provide the DOI 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 2012. 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!

This study by the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium indicates that shoppers who arrive by walking, cycling or public transport tend to spend less per trip but make more trips per month and so spend more in total than automobile shoppers.

The latest Travel Actively report from the Active Travel Consortium, More people more active, shows that over the last four years two million people have been encouraged to be more active by walking and cycling for everyday journeys.

This Australian checklist is designed to help suburbs improve cycling conditions. It enables planners to make sure new sub-divisions meet current planning and engineering requirements.

If you missed a breakout session, or are interested in what Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2012 was all about, you can now view PDFs of many sessions.

In Jeff Speck's excellent new book, Walkable City, he suggests that there are ten keys to creating walkability. Most of them also have something to do with redressing the deleterious effects caused by our allowing cars to dominate urban spaces for decades.

This is the final version of the draft guidance from May 2012. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has produced new guidance urging people to travel on foot or bike rather than by car for short journeys.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, bicycles played a few key roles in recovery and morale boosting.  On the Lower East Side of New York, volunteers generated electricity with their bikes, offering free cell phone charging….. bicycles were an important source of transportation when roads and trains were blocked and out of commission to cars. 

A move to make urban centres more pedestrian friendly leads to economic benefits.
David Israelson - Special to The Globe and Mail

Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport In Press, Corrected Proof
Studies on independent mobility suggested that children who have the freedom to play outdoors and travel actively without adult supervision accumulate more physical activity than those who do not. Further investigation of children's active travel to leisure-related destinations, measurement of diverse sedentary behavior beyond simply screen-based activities, and consistent thresholds for objectively measured sedentary behavior in children will clarify the inconsistent evidence base on associations of active travel with sedentary behavior and weight status.

Sustrans has released a report calling for the (UK) Government to introduce more stringent measures in schools to encourage children to cycle more. Currently, just 2% of children cycle regularly, despite the recommendations from health experts that the easiest way to increase activity in children is to include walking and cycling in their daily routine.

His knowledge and skills are so deep that I would say that Marco has “mastered” his neighborhood, both geographically and socially. That feels very good for an eight-year-old kid.

The Welsh Government is placing a duty on local authorities to assess the sufficiency of play and recreational opportunities for children in their areas. It sets out criteria for assessing play opportunities in each local authority area including audits of open spaces, play and recreation provision, traffic, transport and community initiatives. The assessments will be used to develop local authority action plans to improve play opportunities for all children across Wales. The deadline for the completion of assessments is 1 March 2013.

The National Center for Safe Routes to School is pleased to announce the release of an online audio/video training program that provides strategies and tips for planning a Walking School Bus program.

Journal of Sport and Health Science In Press, Uncorrected Proof
The beneficial effects of increased PA and decreased sedentary behavior are extremely important in youth with diabetes because of the markedly increased long-term risk of cardiovascular disease in this population compared to persons without diabetes. This review aims to comprehensively summarize the epidemiologic, observational research published and listed in PubMed between 1970 and 2012….

Diabetologia Nov 2012, Volume 55, Issue 11, pp 2895-2905
Sedentary time is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality; the strength of the association is most consistent for diabetes.

This paper outlines the broad roles of municipal recreation (II), the roles that it can and does play in supporting sport (III), the key shifts in sport in terms of policy and focus (IV), the nature of the partnership and common challenges (V), and key areas in which collaborative approaches may take place (VI).

Discusses the importance of interpretive signage in parks and provides examples of signs for different purposes. Tips on wording, photos and installation are provided.

APAQ Volume 30, Issue 1, pgs 40-58 Jan 2013
The participants with relatively minor degrees of disability and with the least visible disabilities were the ones who most often reported negative experiences regarding PE. This suggests the experiences were not generated solely by the actual physical or sensory limitations, but equally by how well the participants’ challenges were understood by their teachers and to what degree adaptations were implemented.

In February 2009, the Ministry of Health launched the NSW Get Healthy Information and Coaching Service®, as part of New South Wales’ response to the Australian Better Health Initiative. The GHS is a telephone based service supporting NSW adults make sustained improvements in healthy eating, physical activity and achieving or maintaining a healthy weight.

Produced by the Canadian Obesity Network this is a set of practical tools to guide primary care practitioners in obesity counseling and management.

An active lifestyle helps preserve gray matter in the brains of older adults and could reduce the burden of dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD), according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation In Press, Accepted Manuscript
The multifaceted fall prevention program with exercise intervention improved functional performance at 3-months for community-dwelling elders with risk of fall, but did not reduce falls over 1-year follow-up. Fall incidence might have been decreased simultaneously in both groups by heightened awareness engendered during assessments, education, referrals, and recommendations.

In an age-friendly community, there are walking trails with hard-pack surfaces, suitable for a walker or a baby stroller. There might be lights for nighttime safety, and benches for a quick rest. The benches would have armrests to aid the user in getting up or down.

Journal of the American Medical Directors Association In Press, Corrected Proof
Among the oldest old, not only continuing but also becoming physically active is associated with reduced health service use. Initiating PA among the very old should be encouraged.

Performed by residents of the Waverly Retirement Residence London, Ontario.

This report outlines the evidence that exists showing how more physical activity can have beneficial effects on society. It contains chapters on physical health, mental health, education and employment, antisocial behaviour and crime and social cohesion.

International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Vol 9 Iss 52 2012
This Health Evidence report gives this paper a review quality rating of 7 (moderate).

This briefing summarizes NICE's recommendations for local authorities and partner organizations on how to encourage people to be physically active. It is particularly relevant to health and wellbeing boards.

Of interest to note is this related page: Public health guidances in development
"This program builds on the Small Communities Transit Fund launched in 2010, making $1 million in federal Gas Tax funding available to cost-share active transportation projects with eligible municipalities over the next two years," said the Honourable Ron Lemieux, Local Government Minister.

This new report by Reconnecting America describes why and how to create more complete communities where everybody, including non-drivers, has convenient access to services and activities. It defines and discusses various accessibility indicators and defines “Opportunity Areas,” based on whether a neighborhood achieves walkability and density thresholds needed for a complete, multi-modal community.

This study indicates that during the 2007-2012 period houses located in more accessible and multi-modal neighborhoods exhibited greater price stability than those located in lower-density, automobile-dependent suburbs.

This report discusses reasons to implement complete streets and how it relates to other planning innovations. Complete streets can provide many direct and indirect benefits including improved accessibility for non-drivers, user savings and affordability, energy conservation and emission reductions, improved community livability, improved public fitness and health, and support for strategic development objectives such as urban redevelopment and reduced sprawl.

Aging population, rising fuel prices, increasing urbanization, improving travel options, increasing health and environmental concerns, and changing consumer preferences are reducing demand for automobile travel and increasing demand for alternatives. Automobile travel will not disappear but at the margin (compared with current travel patterns) many people would prefer to drive less and rely more on walking, cycling, public transport and telework, provided they are convenient, comfortable and affordable. This paper discusses ways that transport policies and planning practices can respond to these changing demands.

The Healthy Built Environments Program has completed a major scholarly literature review examining the role of the built environment in supporting human health as part of everyday living. The principal aim of the Review is to establish an evidence base that supports the development, prioritisation and implementation of healthy built environment policies and practices. The Review identifies current gaps in the evidence to inform future research directions. It includes an annotated bibliography of key research articles and a glossary of terms…….

Active employees are productive employees. The tools and resources found here are designed to encourage physical activity in the workplace. This is an Australian resource that references the Centre’s Workplace Audit Tool.

November 30, 2012

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

Note: where possible, we provide the DOI 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.

Based on cyclists' actual routes, the study finds people riding bicycles will go out of their way to use safer infrastructure, such as bike paths and bike boulevards.

As part of TomorrowNOW - Manitoba’s green plan, the Province is moving forward with a three-year, four point Action Plan to support active transportation (AT), focusing on improved provincial coordination in the following areas………

Easter Seals Project ACTION and the CDC Healthy Aging Research Network have developed this new guide to assess signage and walkway availability and conditions in communities. Using the checklist, residents can help their community leaders create safe and well-marked walkways for people of all ages and abilities.

The Province is committed to advancing sustainable transportation in Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia Moves pilot program is one way the Province is seeking to support community-led sustainable transportation initiatives across the province.

This primer (from the American Public Health Association and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership) is intended to give an introduction and orientation to as to why and how health should be considered in transportation planning and decision-making — in particular through active transportation — and the role that public health practitioners can play.

American Journal of Public Health: December 2012, Vol. 102, No. 12, pp. 2336-2343
doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300762
We recruited 690 city residents injured while cycling in Toronto or Vancouver, Canada. A case-crossover design compared route infrastructure at each injury site to that of a randomly selected control site from the same trip.

In strongly-worded advice, which places significant pressure on the government to increase the extent of safe walking and cycling routes, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) urges local authorities, health bodies, workplaces and schools to do all they can to assist people in active travel.

Active Healthy Kids Canada does not recommend active video games as a strategy to help kids be more physically active. To find out why the evidence points Active Healthy Kids Canada to take this stand, read the details of the full Position on Active Video Games.

Preventive Medicine Available online 28 Nov 2012 In Press, Accepted Manuscript
► Like obesity, characteristics of activity in children vary by sleep duration ► Associations of sleep with activity vary from the school week to the weekend ► Sleep regularity is important for maintaining healthy levels of activity ► Children who maintain adequate sleep across the week have more consistent activity ► This evidence should bolster the promotion of sleep hygiene for children's health.

This one-year project aims to promote a healthy lifestyle,  with a focus on smoking prevention,  responsible alcohol consumption,  healthy diet and physical activity among young people and their families in Poland and Ukraine. Through a train the trainers approach,  local institutions and NGOs in the eight UEFA EURO 2012 host cities will be empowered to activate their communities and promote good health.

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Available online 29 Nov 2012
Available evidence suggests that pedometers are valid for use in clinical and research settings in people with physical disabilities. Further research examining the validity of pedometers in less heterogeneous populations of people with disabilities is warranted to determine validity for specific disability populations and to determine optimal pedometer placement.

Annals of Epidemiology Available online 21 Nov 2012 In Press, Corrected Proof
Findings provide insight about the unique associations between the timing and type of physical activity and depressive symptoms, suggesting that physical activity within team sport contexts should be encouraged so that young adults may experience less depressive symptoms.

Gait & Posture Available online 28 November 2012 In Press, Corrected Proof
► FOF and activity restriction are independently associated with deterioration in normal and dual task gait. ► Reductions in gait speed and stride length and increases in DSP and step width reflect a more cautious walking pattern. ► Gait changes are most pronounced in those who restrict activities as a result of FOF. ► Some gait changes may be at least partly attributed to stabilizing strategies.

Gait & Posture Volume 37, Issue 1, January 2013, Pages 88–92
We compared the stride characteristics during walking barefoot and wearing socks. ► Young adults did not show significant difference between two walking conditions. ► Older adults were slower with shorter stride length when wearing socks. ► Safety precautions about walking in socks should be considered for older adults.

The keynote and workshop presentations from the day can now be downloaded. The 12th BHFNC annual conference, Innovate to Activate, allowed delegates to explore creative solutions to promoting physical activity and reduce sedentary behavior.

November 23, 2012

By Rosanne Prinsen MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

Note: where possible, we provide the DOI 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 paper published by the Dietitians of Canada provides information to inform decision makers about the dietitian’s role in Aboriginal communities for the purpose of enhancing nutrition services currently offered and increased health and well-being in Aboriginal people.

BIKESAFE is intended to provide practitioners with the latest information available for improving the safety and mobility of those who bicycle. The information on the site falls into two categories, Resources and Tools.

Bicycling creates healthier communities, supports local business, and leads to less pollution and congestion. But people are reluctant to bike when they worry they won’t find a good place to lock their bicycles. Bicycle parking ordinances provide an easy way to ensure plentiful bicycle parking and make it clear that bicycles are welcome.

For people with a chronic illness, adopting a healthier lifestyle, such as smoking cessation, increased physical activity, eliminating heavy alcohol consumption and improving diet, can extend longevity, reduce the recurrence of an event and enhance quality of life.

British Journal of Nutrition / FirstView Article, pp 1-7
Input from a 24-hour dietary recall survey (participants write down everything they eat and drink) was assessed for 4,731people 60 years and older participating in the US Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Individuals who had limited mobility and low physical activity were categorized as “frail” and were five times more likely to report that they often do not have enough to eat compared to older adults who were not frail.

The authors conclude that physical activity reduces the risk of cognitive impairment, mainly vascular dementia, in older people living independently.

Older age is a transitional period when people experience changes not only in physical health, but also in social roles that can influence opportunities for social participation… social ties may encourage individuals to engage in health-promoting behaviors such as physical activity…..

These guidelines from the Parkinson Society Canada describe aerobic, strengthening, flexibility, and balance exercises, and provide tips and a chart for mapping progress

Today millions of Americans live in what we call "sprawl" – communities where cars are the primary mode of transportation, and it can be difficult for residents to walk, bike, or take public transportation to meet their daily needs.

This Guide provides a broad overview of development strategies for healthier communities. The guide links health risks (poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, etc.) to particular aspects of the built environment, highlighting policies to consider and specific “action steps” for public health professionals.

The study shows trip lengths and automobile travel are substantially reduced by compact, transportation-efficient land uses. The key is to create an environment so folks can complete many activities without using a car…….

The Make a Place for People project is based on the idea that community participation is key to the creation of vibrant and healthy public spaces.  With support from the Ontario government, 8-80 Cities is facilitating a community-led visioning process in order to inject new life into currently underperforming public spaces…. The document includes useful engagement and park assessment tools that could be used in and by any community.

The New York City DOT has been called upon to share the secret behind successful street design suitable for the 21st Century. The current report presents an assembly of goals and strategies that they have relied upon to create streets with wonderful public spaces while maintaining efficient traffic flow.

Project for Public Spaces, experts in transforming public spaces, has released a draft handbook of best practices in placemaking. Highlighted in the report are international case studies as well as 10 ways to improve your city through public space….. 

This evaluation was commissioned to evaluate the Paths to Health Workplace Pedometer
Loan Pack, an initiative designed to increase walking levels among employees. Pedometer loan packs containing 10 pedometers and supporting materials were distributed to 18 workplaces across Scotland…..Staff members at each site volunteered to coordinate the scheme and issued employees with a pedometer, educational materials and a step-count record card containing instructions for setting step-count targets over a 12- week walking program.