January 23, 2012

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

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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.

They have a great resource section.

Am J Prev Med. 2010 Nov;39(5):457-9.
The purpose of this paper is to describe the approach to develop and test a simple and efficient audit tool to get a quick overview of environmental characteristics along a route or in a neighborhood….. The BiWET is a reliable and time-efficient audit instrument to determine accurately and relatively quickly the physical characteristics of an area or route, which is potentially useful for the study of the relationship between the built environment and physical activity behavior.

More than any other way of getting around—such as being crushed into a train or stuck in a traffic jam—walking appears to offer freedom of choice. The reality is more complicated. Whether stepping aside to avoid a collision or following the person in front through a crowd or navigating busy streets, pedestrians are autonomous yet constrained by others.

The Institute for Road Safety Research in the Netherlands has found that blind spot roadside mirrors (known as Trixi mirrors) do not have a significant impact on the number of collisions between trucks and cyclists at junctions. They state that the solution is 'a structural separation of trucks and cyclists.

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2011 Aug;21(4):496-509.
doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2011.01299.x
According to standard criteria used primarily for the assessment of clinical studies, the strength of this evidence was strong for fitness benefits, moderate for benefits in cardiovascular risk factors, and inconclusive for all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality, cancer risk, and overweight and obesity. While more intervention research is needed to build a solid knowledge base of the health benefits of cycling, the existing evidence reinforces the current efforts to promote cycling as an important contributor for better population health.

J Phys Act Health. 2010 Mar;7 Suppl 1:S120-5.
There is a need for a more consistent approach to the quantification of health benefits from cycling and walking. This project is providing guidance and an illustrative tool for cycling for practical application. Results show that substantial savings can be expected. Such tools illustrate the importance of considering health in transport policy and infrastructure planning, putting "Health in All Policies" into practice.

The author highlights the findings of a recently released report by The Institute of Transportation and Development Policy – ITDP that provides a comprehensive review of the new wave of parking policy innovation that could pay huge dividends for sustainable transport and liveable streets.

If you ever need a reason to smile, check out the Ohio Dept. of Transportation's (ODOT) new Glee-inspired Safe Routes to School video. The All-Ohio Safe Routes to School Show Choir will sing and dance their way into your safety awareness in this high-energy video.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166(1):49-55.
Conclusions: Participation in physical activity is positively related to academic performance in children. Because we found only 2 high-quality studies, future high-quality studies are needed to confirm our findings. These studies should thoroughly examine the dose-response relationship between physical activity and academic performance as well as explanatory mechanisms for this relationship.

American Journal of Public Health: February 2012, Vol. 102, No. 2, pp. 368-374.
doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300220
Conclusions: The attenuated age-related increases in percentage of body fat and enhanced numeracy development among elementary school children receiving PE from specialists provides support for the role of PE in both preventive medicine and academic development.

RWJF has provided a three-year renewal grant of $2,999,725 to the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, a diverse, nationwide coalition of more than 550 organizations. This project will result in thousands of more miles of sidewalks and bike paths, traffic-calming projects and safer street crossings, and will enable many more students to benefit from Safe Routes to School. The project will focus on supporting communities with high rates of childhood obesity..."

This article offers fresh ideas and inspiration for launching different types of events or activities in different types of community spaces, settings or locations.

Current Sports Medicine Reports: Nov/Dec 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 6 - pp 360-370
doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e318237bf74
It is unclear from these results whether sports programs, as currently offered, protect youth from becoming overweight or obese. Additional research may foster understanding about how sport, and youth sport settings, can help promote energy balance and healthy body weight.

Active living is a way of life that incorporates physical activity into daily routines.   Here you can ask questions of local and national experts, explore various topics related to active living, find out what is happening in Minnesota communities around active living, as well as search for other relevant issue areas.

Med J Aust. 2011 Dec 12;195(11-12):723-6.
Wife carrying can be a novel option for increasing physical activity levels, which improve health. Although some key data were unavailable, such as wife's body weight, and injury rates, this study identified several factors associated with better performance in this sport.

This report includes a number of case studies at the end.

This link takes you to a 6 page table listing all 340 policies and the 321 US jurisdictions they can be found in.

In this article, Engineer Charles Marohn explains why he changed his point of view about wider, faster and treeless roads and decided to start thinking about what people need to live better in cities

June 24-29, 2012 – Boston, MA - Applications due Feb 1, 2012
A week long 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.

The majority of the world’s population lives in cities and therefore our cities have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing.  In this context, why shouldn’t we plan and design our cities to make us healthier in every way?

“Please, Have a Seat!” a project that has installed nearly 30 benches for public use in the front yards of homeowners in East Chicago and Gary. The benches serve as a gathering place for residents and they provide places for people to sit and relax while walking. The “microparks” typically include a pressed concrete pad, a decorative bench and a planter.

It feels strange to equate slowing down with moving ahead, but in some ways, slowing down cities, much like the slow-food movement, is about shrugging off some of the 20th century’s ill-conceived “innovations.” A hundred years ago, city streets were a multi-use melting pot of cars, trolleys, horses, buggies, bicycles and pedestrians, all moving together in a low-speed symphony. It was easy to share the road because few things moved fast enough to be really dangerous. It wasn’t until the 1930s and ’40s that we started to see the streets as reserved for things that could go very fast, and pedestrians were expected to stick to the sidewalks.

Research led by a team at University of California at Irvine suggests that suburban communities looking to encourage more walking to destinations should develop a central core featuring a variety of shops and services that are within easy walking distance of each other.

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