May, 18, 2012

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

The Round-Up is going on vacation and will return May 31st.

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.

A new brochure (.pdf) from the California Department of Transportation helps explain the department's Complete Streets approach and its benefits.

A Princeton survey reveals that 83% of Americans favor maintained or increased federal funding for sidewalks, bike lanes, and bike paths.

This methodology and user guide will be of key interest to professionals at both national and local levels: transport planners, traffic engineers, and special interest groups working on transport, walking, cycling or the environment, as well as health economists, physical activity experts and health promotion experts.

From its inception, the NTPP was designed as a demonstration program to gather statistical information on transportation mode share shifts before and after the implementation of nonmotorized transportation infrastructure and educational or promotional programs. The program was intended to "demonstrate the extent to which bicycling and walking can carry a significant part of the transportation load, and represent a major portion of the transportation solution, within selected communities."

This report focuses on active transportation as a means to improve health and quality of life in Toronto. It reviews the literature on the health impacts of walking and cycling for transportation in urban areas, and also discusses the economic, social, environmental, and transportation system benefits. It presents data on walking and cycling mode shares in the City of Toronto and quantifies the health benefits of active transportation in Toronto. It also analyzes collision data and quantifies the costs of pedestrian and cyclist collisions and injuries in Toronto. Finally, it draws on secondary sources and interviews with municipal staff in other jurisdictions to identify strategies for increasing the safety and use of active transportation across Toronto.

Take a look at new guidance from the UK on local measures to promote walking and cycling as a form of transport or recreation.

Childhood obesity rates are soaring, youth participation in sports and other active pursuits is plummeting, and a generation is coming of age with little understanding of the joy and freedom of unsupervised play. There's a simple solution—but all across the nation our schools earn a failing grade when it comes to letting kids ride their bikes.

This document provides a top 10 list of important program characteristics to engage girls and young women in active after school programs.

Childhood Obesity February 2012 | Volume 8, Number 1
Growing concern over childhood obesity has prompted a focus on underlying epidemics of physical inactivity and poor nutrition.

This document from the National Center for Safe Routes to School, will help communities identify the schools with the greatest need for walking infrastructure improvements and the greatest potential for improvement. The methodology may be helpful for Complete Streets implementation, especially in locating high priority gaps or deficiencies in the walking network.

The document is large - a 48 MB PDF – so please give it time to download to your computer. 
This guide shares perspective on community engagement in planning and visioning, and describes how people can work with local government to shape their communities. You will read the personal stories of experts in the field and delve into case studies from places as different as the state of Hawaii, the city of Olympia, WA, and the quaint village of Hamburg, NY.

Walk & Talk from Every Body Walk!

Active Living for All Ages: "Creating Neighborhoods Around Transit” shows how transit-oriented development (TOD) facilitates the independence and mobility of older adults. (6 Minute video).

The Built Environment Health Promotion Strategy is one of many health promotion initiatives being developed by the Population and Public Health portfolio. The Strategy addresses the Be Healthy, Stay Healthy strategic priority outlined in Alberta Health Service’s Becoming the Best: Alberta’s 5-Year Health Action Plan 2010:2015.

Built for kids highlights how built environments are important to the well-being of children.
It provides information to help increase their participation in planning built environments so they respond to their particular wants and needs. It includes a child-friendly indicator framework, as well as case studies, that highlight how children and young people have contributed to the development of the built environment in their community.

In Australia, there is a lack of practical tools that can be used by local government authorities and others to develop and encourage the child-friendliness of their communities. This report seeks to address this gap with a particular focus on child friendly communities and the physical environment.

Designed to help citizens participate in the transpiration planning process, the new guide from the TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program, will help ensure transportation projects best fit the surrounding community. Understanding professional responsibility, the flexibility in design options, and collaborative partnerships are among the topics addressed.

This link takes you to a page with a fact sheet and links to many other resources as well.

The purpose of this handbook is to provide assistance to communities who may be at different stages of complete streets policy and/or facility implementation. This includes the following:
• “Just Getting Started”
• “Moving Forward”
 • “Building Upon Successes”

The Built Environment Health Promotion Strategy is one of many health promotion initiatives being developed by the Population and Public Health portfolio within Alberta Health Services (AHS). A Steering Committee comprised of directors and managers with interest in the built environment are providing oversight and direction for strategy development. It was agreed that a synthesis of existing evidence on population level, health promotion through the built environment was needed to inform strategy development.

An urban trail is a public path that provides a well-maintained corridor through an urban environment. Urban trails allow people to get from one place to another on foot, by bicycle, on roller skates or skateboards, with strollers or in wheelchairs, without feeling any threat from nearby motor vehicles

This UNESCO advocacy brief gives an overview on up-to-date facts and figures and offers strategies to overcome inequalities in physical education.

Coaching Association of Canada, ISSN 1496-1539 April 2012, Vol. 12, No. 2
The dearth of women in coaching in Canada has been the focus of study and discussion over the past 20 years. Despite increasing numbers of female participants at all levels of sport, the percentage of female coaches tends to hover around 30% with even fewer women coaching at the highest competitive levels….

This fact sheet explores some of the risks and benefits associated with unlocking stairwells for physical activity.

May 11, 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.

Active Transportation 101: Bringing AT to your community and developing an AT plan.
Active transportation 101 represents an interesting and exciting step forward for bicycle and pedestrian advocacy in Nova Scotia. For the first time, the wealth of knowledge and experience collected by planners, advocates, and citizens from around the province has been assembled in one place with the intention of encouraging and recruiting passionate new leaders into the AT community.

A transportation and public health fact sheet.  Loaded with stats and reference links where the data came from.

From your local town council to your senators and representatives in Washington, meeting with your elected officials is important to advancing bicycling and walking— and it’s easier than you think!

Bicycling Interventions for Youth
This information was compiled as a resource which provides examples of successful bicycling initiatives for youth that could potentially be implemented in schools, communities and or municipalities around Nova Scotia. Included in this slide show are examples of successful bicycling initiatives for youth, information and tips for implementing effective interventions as well as common barriers to increasing and promoting youth to cycle.

Neuroscience Available online 30 April 2012
► Regular physical exercise enhanced recognition memory and decreased stress. ► Effects were only detect in participants who exercised on the final day of testing. ► An acute, single bout of exercise did not affect memory. ► Exercise-induced changes in cognition were not correlated with mood/anxiety.

Sarah Goodyear in the Atlantic writes a thought provoking article on one of the impacts of children being driven everywhere. 

Active Video Game Play in Children With Cerebral Palsy: Potential for Physical Activity Promotion and Rehabilitation Therapies
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Available online 7 May 2012,
AVG play via a low-cost, commercially available system can offer an enjoyable opportunity for light to moderate physical activity in children with CP. While all games may encourage motor learning to some extent, AVGs can be strategically selected to address specific therapeutic goals (eg, targeted joints, bilateral limb use). Future research is needed to address the challenge of individual variability in movement patterns/play styles. Likewise, further study exploring home use of AVGs for physical activity promotion and rehabilitation therapies, and its functional outcomes, is warranted.

Physical Activity and Psychiatric Problems in Children
The Journal of Pediatrics Available online 9 May 2012
We studied whether physical activity, measured by wrist-worn accelerometers, is associated with mother- and teacher-rated psychiatric problems in 8-year-old children (n = 199). Higher overall physical activity and more time spent in more intense physical activity were associated with lower odds for psychiatric problems in emotional, social, and behavioral domains.

Social Science & Medicine Available online 8 May 2012
► Experimental studies show physical activity in natural environments may be better for mental health than activity elsewhere. ► Such studies tend to be small, brief and not to test effects of activity in natural environments as part of everyday life. ► This study looked for evidence of such effects in a large, real-world population. ► It found evidence that physical activity in natural environments is better for mental health than activity elsewhere. ► Each additional use of a natural environment per week is associated with about a 6% lower risk of poor mental health.

ALCOA Canada Channel – Now on YouTube
On YouTube you can search “ALCOA Canada channel” as well.

Mayo Clinic Proceedings Volume 87, Issue 5, May 2012, Pages 437–442
In this population-based sample, the presence of both physical exercise and computer use as assessed via survey was associated with decreased odds of having MCI, after adjustment for caloric intake and traditional confounders (includes video of interview with author).

The desire to get out and about did not diminish at older ages. Walkable access to local shops, services and green spaces doubled an older person’s chances of achieving recommended levels of ‘healthy walking,’ improved their level and range of activities, and increased feelings of life satisfaction.

Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics Available online 9 May 2012
Physically independent older adults with more preserved exercise capacity have better postural balance and higher levels of PADL in comparison to those older adults who show a poorer condition in terms of exercise capacity.

Gait & Posture Available online 1 May 2012
► We assessed the reliability of gait parameters during treadmill walking in seniors. ► Most routine temporal and spatial gait parameters were highly reliable. ► Changes of less than 10% can be detected with 90% confidence in these parameters. ► Gait variability parameters obtained during treadmill walking were less reliable. ► These data may serve as a basis to interpret exercise intervention effects.

Promoting the Implementation of Proven Safety Countermeasures
Federal Highway Administration website with details on roundabouts, medians and pedestrian crossing islands in urban and suburban areas, pedestrian hybrid beacons, road diets & more.

Gordon Price looks at Vancouver in the context of the phenomenon of car dependency that has prevailed in North American cities since the 1920s – Vancouver has done better than most in containing “Motordom,” but the struggle is far from won…

Pre and Post Natal Exercise
SIRC has compiled the following articles to help you learn more about pre and post natal exercise and have a healthy pregnancy. 
  • Canadian Guidelines
  • Exercise During Pregnancy
  • Pilates and Pregnancy
  • Postpartum Challenge
  • Postnatal Exercise


May 7, 2012

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.

Transportation (2012) 39:409–432
DOI 10.1007/s11116-011-9355-8
Our results are consistent with previous research on the importance of separate cycling facilities and provide additional information about the potentially different role of paths vs. lanes. Our analysis also revealed that cities with safer cycling, lower auto ownership, more students, less sprawl, and higher gasoline prices had more cycling to work. By comparison, annual precipitation, the number of cold and hot days, and public transport supply were not statistically significant predictors of bike commuting in large cities.

Public Roads (FHWA) March/April 2012 Vol. 75 · No. 5

Journal of Pediatric Nursing Volume 27, Issue 3, June 2012, Pages e4
The purpose of this study was compare the effect of dance, with unstructured playtime, on the physical activity level of an underserved, urban population of children. Activity, via pedometer readings (PR), effect on heart rate (HR), and body mass index (BMI), were assessed.

Social Science & Medicine Available online 25 April 2012
► Family income is inversely related to BMI among European, urban children. ► Lower-income children reside near fewer open green spaces and engage in less physical activity. ► Childhood BMI inequalities are partially explained by access to green space and physical activity.

Mental Health and Physical Activity Available online 25 April 2012
► The study included two classes of grade four students. ► Four cognitive processes were measured with and without physical activity. ► Physical activity improved performance on the planning task. ► Planning ability is used for problem solving and behavior regulation

Health Promotion Journal of Australia 2012; 23: 10-15
In this one of a kind Australian study the Tooty Fruity Vegie (TVF) program focused exclusively on preschool children as research evidence supported findings that early childcare facilities are the most effective venue to reach young children and their parents. This study aimed to improve fundamental movement skills (FMS), increase fruit and vegetable intake and decrease unhealthy food options as methods to decrease overweight and obesity prevalence amongst preschool children.

Welcome to the online training course for using the WHO Growth charts. This course was developed by the CDC to train health care providers and others who measure and assess child growth on how to use the World Health Organization (WHO) growth standards to assess growth among infants and children ages birth to 2 years.

European Journal of Oncology Nursing Vol 16, Suppl 1, 26 April 2012, Pg S41

European Journal of Oncology Nursing Vol 16, Suppl 1, 26 April 2012, Pgs S41–S42

The Conversation website presents a commentary on Australia's role in the challenge of reducing chronic disease risk factors.

The Health Quality Council of Alberta recently released a report that explains major chronic diseases and highlights healthy choices that are known to modify the risk of developing these long-lasting conditions.

The key learnings that follow have been compiled on behalf of the ACE Communities Team by Project Director Brenda Herchmer. They are based on the team’s regular observations and reflections, ongoing interactions with community leaders, coaches and others (eg retreats,
reflective evaluation meetings, blogs, teleconferences), as well as the findings and previous reflective conversations covered in the separate Achievement Report

The Canadian Institute of Planners is an active partner in the Healthy Canada by Design CLASP initiative, which is led by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and largely funded by Health Canada via the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.  The CIP Healthy Communities section of the website provides background information on CIP’s healthy communities programs and partnerships. It also provides a gateway to research, processes, policies, and best practices that will help us plan and develop healthier communities.

This guide is designed for planning practitioners to help them in their work towards healthier communities, and to increase the understanding of the supporting role that health practitioners can play in reaching our common goals. It provides a framework for considering the interconnected aspects of a healthy community, and includes practical examples of how others are accomplishing their goals.

Dr. Liza Stathokostas (CCAA Researcher) will be providing monthly updates on current physical activity research, will be sharing chats with researchers in the field of physical activity and aging, and providing links to timely and relevant topics.

The in motion Older Adult Exercise DVD is a great way for older adults to add physical activity to their day - out in the community with a group of friends or exercising on their own at home.

Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 2012, 37(3): 511-519
doi: 10.1139/h2012-023
This study investigated secular changes in aerobic fitness among Canadian adults and children. Participants aged 8–69 years were from 2 nationally representative surveys, conducted in-home in 1981 and in mobile examination centers in 2007–2009.

Implementation Science 2012, 7:39
The purpose of this article is two-fold: first, to describe how one funding agency, the Michael
Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) in British Columbia (BC), Canada, developed a plan to increase its role in KT; and second, to present a conceptual model that health organizations could use when considering KT programs.

The (Australian) Heart Foundation has released a literature review into the impact of density on health, conducted by the Centre for the Built Environment, University of WA. The impact of density on a range of health outcomes and across the life course was considered including: mortality, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, road traffic mortality, respiratory health, and mental health.

Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9(1), 294-314
Physical activity is associated with access to recreational facilities such as sports fields. Because it is not clear whether objectively- or subjectively-assessed access to facilities exerts a stronger influence on physical activity, we investigated the association between the objective and perceived accessibility of sport fields and the levels of self-reported physical activity among adults in Edmonton, Canada.

This brief examines the extent to which local land use laws require structural improvements that facilitate physical activity. It also examines whether such requirements vary based on community income. The data was collected in 2010 from 264 communities across the United States.

This report from the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF) identifies that girls in the UK are not getting enough exercise – and that schools hold the key to encouraging girls to get active. The report, based on research carried out by the Institute of Youth Sport at Loughborough University, shows that half of all girls (51%) are put off physical activity by their experiences of school sport and PE.