June 8, 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.

Vancouver could become North America’s cycling capital, reveals the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF).

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. It identifies various types of benefits and costs, and describes methods for measuring them.

The German Institute of Urban Affairs has developed one of Europe’s largest databases on cycling literature. As of May 2012, the database contains over 2100 literature sources, of which 1.100 can be downloaded. Most literature is in German with 20% in English and French or at the very least with an English summary.

This report, published by the (UK) Department for Transport, presents an evaluation of the Cycling City and Towns (CCT) program. It investigates the potential for delivering public health benefits through increasing cycling among different population groups….. If all of these individuals moved one category up the physical activity index through cycling, there would be an estimated 300 fewer deaths per year across the CCTs.

At military installations, suburban-style sprawl is out and walkable communities are in, under new Defense Department planning guidelines released Thursday. The guidelines call for 'compact development' that incorporates mass transit and a mix of residential housing close to shops and other businesses…..

This describes the impacts of the Neighborhood Smart Trips program on travel behavior based on comprehensive travel surveys. The results indicate that the program resulted in significant shifts from driving to walking, cycling and public transit travel, resulting in a 15% reduction in per capita vehicle travel (from 11.4 to 9.7 average daily miles) by program participants.

Many people believe that non-motorized modes (walking, cycling, and their variants) have less right to use public roads than motorists, based on assumptions that motor vehicle travel is more important than non-motorized travel and motor vehicle user fees finance roads. This report investigates these assumptions. It finds that non-motorized modes have clear legal rights to use public roads……..

In Japan, they call it shinrin-yoku – literally, “forest bathing.” Here, we might just call it a walk in the park. Either way, people around the world have an intuitive sense of the restorative power of natural environments. The question is: Why? (see Mental Health below for link to journal article).
The 2012 AHKC Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth reports that Canadian children and youth are not playing enough; assigning an “F” grade for Active Play and Leisure.

Obesity Reviews.(2011) 3, 205-216
Health Evidence Review Rating of 9 or strong

Journal of Affective Disorders Available online 30 March 2012 In Press, Corrected Proof
This study aimed to explore whether walking in nature may be beneficial for individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD)… These findings extend earlier work demonstrating the cognitive and affective benefits of interacting with nature to individuals with MDD.

BioMed Central Geriatrics 2012, 12:20
Recognizing that depression among older adults is a public health problem, and that social interaction has the potential to help alleviate depression, a research team looked to seniors centers as places that could promote social support…. Acknowledging that the intervention “failed to meet optimistic targets, but possibly met quite modest ones,” the authors wrote that “for the depressed, more specialized programs to cope with depression may be a more appropriate intervention.”

Contemporary community design practice has focused on strategies intended to make communities safe for families with children. Comparatively little attention has been given to its effects on older adults….. Intersections, strip commercial uses, big-box stores, and arterial thoroughfares pose crash hazards for older motorists, while big-box stores and arterials are problematic for older pedestrians.

Health & Place Volume 18, Issue 4, July 2012, Pages 869–876
We examined the relationships between perceptions of neighbourhood characteristics and satisfaction with participation in everyday activities among 248 older adults with chronic health conditions in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

This special collection summary brings together a selection of Cochrane Reviews assessing the benefits of physical activity and exercise on the health and well-being of older people, such as impacts on physical function, muscle strength, balance and bone health, and cognitive function and sleep. The physical activity and exercise programs included in these reviews range from leisure activities and simple home exercise programs to intensive and supervised clinically based programs.

The report describes the influences of parental, family and neighbourhood factors on children's overweight/obesity and levels of physical activity and sedentary behavior. It found that:
·         22% of children at age six were classified as overweight or obese, and 9% were obese.
·         15% of children exercised for less than the recommended one hour per day, while a third had three or more hours of screen time on a typical weekday.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Volume 42, Issue 6, June 2012, Pages 571–578
Results: Commuting distance was negatively associated with physical activity and CRF and positively associated with BMI, waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and continuous metabolic score in fully adjusted linear regression models

Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism (2012)
doi: 10.1139/h2012-061
The purpose of this study was to provide a contemporary estimate of the health care cost of physical inactivity in Canadian adults. The health care cost was estimated using a prevalence-based approach. The estimated direct, indirect, and total health care costs of physical inactivity in Canada in 2009 were $2.4 billion, $4.3 billion, and $6.8 billion, respectively. These values represented 3.8%, 3.6%, and 3.7% of the overall health care costs.

J Natl Cancer Inst (2012)
doi: 10.1093/jnci/djs207
A review of 45 observational studies and randomized controlled trials conducted among cancer survivors was followed by an analysis of the relationship between physical activity and mortality and/or cancer biomarkers.…. In 27 observational studies, physical activity was associated in reduced risk for death for survivors of breast cancer and colon cancer.

The PAL is staffed by national, CSEP Certified Exercise Physiologists®, who have undergraduate and/or graduate degrees in exercise science and advanced training in clinical exercise prescription.  We look forward to working hard to assist you in increasing your (or your clients) health through physical activity education, prescription, motivation, and continuous positivity.

A research unit based out of the University of British Columbia (UBC).

PHEnex publishes empirical, theoretical, and methodological research, and position papers, as well as reviews and critical essays by Canadian and International authors. Research methodologies may be quantitative, qualitative or mixed method and may use data gathered through historical analysis, surveys, fieldwork, action research, participant observation, content analysis, simulations or experience. Articles most appropriate for PHEnex focus on pedagogical, social, cultural, philosophical, psychological, historical, sociological or management issues in physical education, health, dance, recreation, or leisure studies.

Psychological Science April 30, 2012
doi: 10.1177/0956797611436349
Marketers, take note. An appeal to personality is likely to be more successful than an appeal to a demographic group (age alone, for example)…… A group of 324 people looked at five different versions of an advertisement for a cell phone. The message on each ad was written to appeal to one of the “Big Five” personality traits.  For example, the advertisement tailored to extraverts included the line “With XPhone, you’ll always be where the excitement is.” For neurotics, the same line read, “Stay safe and secure with the XPhone.”

This issue focuses on use of geographic information systems to quantify the relationships between community design and physical activity.

This study found that roads in more compact urban neighborhoods had considerably less traffic congestion despite many times higher densities, than in suburban neighborhoods. This appears to result from more mixed land use which reduces travel distances, more transit and nonmotorized travel, fewer vehicle miles of travel (VMT), and more connected streets which allows for better channeling of traffic and enables walking.

This entertaining animated (16 minute) video explains how past transport and land use policies contribute to sprawl and automobile dependency, the problems that result, and how smart growth policy reforms can create better communities. It is a good introduction to urban planning issues for a general audience.

Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation recently released their Welcome women Welcome change report which highlights the potential for sports clubs to engage the female market. It describes how women currently view sports clubs and outlines the key features social and recreational participants want out of a club. The report also gives recommendations how best to attract and engage female members.

Is your business active, dynamic and fun? Do your employees value transportation options and living an active lifestyle? If so, the Bicycle Friendly Business program wants to recognize you! Businesses use this program for recognition, guidance and benchmarking…..

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