August 31, 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.

The Round Up will return September 14th. 

The impact of snow and the Freeze-Thaw effect is included in this discussion.

Major population shifts in the United States point to changes in American attitudes and behaviors regarding walking. These shifts are likely to result in a substantial increase in both recreational and utilitarian walking. Three demographic changes, in particular, are likely to promote this “walking revolution:” (1) the aging of the baby boomers, (2) the different transportation priorities of young people, and (3) the decline of the suburbs.

Arch Intern Med. Published online August 27, 2012
In this cohort of healthy middle-aged adults, fitness was significantly associated with a lower risk of developing chronic disease outcomes during 26 years of follow-up. These findings suggest that higher midlife fitness may be associated with the compression of morbidity in older age. 

Link to all of the presentations in the Physical Activity Stream 

American Journal of Public Health: August 2012, Vol. 102, No. 8, pp. 1508-1515
doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300631
Mobility, especially walking and driving, is central to healthy aging. The built environment also affects both types of mobility, but in different ways. New sources of information, such as longitudinal studies and computer simulations, are required to provide the evidence base to develop more effective, integrated public health strategies to enhance mobility in older populations.

Journal of Aging Studies Available online 20 August 2012 In Press, Corrected Proof
► We examine older adults' lived experiences of aquatic activity using interviews. ► Participation was both enabling and constraining. Relationship networks altered. ► Perceptions of the aged body contribute to feelings of frailty in the pool. ► Exposure of participants' bodies created angst and fear of ridicule by ‘others.’ ► Participants internalised social values of the aging body, limiting involvement.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)  has recently launched an ´Exercise is Medicine® Credential´ that will improve the accountability and quality of exercise instruction offered by fitness industry professionals and to help physicians identify such qualified professionals in the prescription of exercise to patients

Dental Clinics of North America Available online 30 August 2012 In Press, Corrected Proof
Because the current nutrition and activity behaviors of most Americans is far from optimal, much can be gained as dentists develop a better understanding of the difficulties of sustained behavior change and become proficient in counseling approaches that lead to improved oral health for patients.

Launched in May 2012, this is an international peer-reviewed journal founded by Shanghai University of Sport. JSHS publishes original research, scholarly reviews, opinion papers, and research highlights / commentaries in exercise / sport science, physical education and sport coaching, health promotion, and traditional Chinese medicine. JSHS is the first and only academic journal of its type in Mainland China, issued in English at home and abroad. 

A couple of fun (modifiable) posters from the British Heart Foundation.

This Circadian Alert is designed to provide you with easy-to-use knowledge and reference sources to design and establish a healthy exercise program in your extended hours operation.
Encouraging an exercise routine will maximize the health and quality of life of your employees while reducing the operational and medical costs created by unfit and overweight employees.


August 24, 2012

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc
Resource Coordinator, 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.

AT related National Traffic Safety Fact Sheets
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released updated fact sheets on traffic safety related to children, older adults, pedestrians, bicyclists, rural settings, and others. The information is based on 2010 data.
A new report from the National Cooperative Highway Research Program investigates the policies and practices that are creating safer, more inviting environments for people on foot. It includes case studies, challenges to implementation and keys to success.

Low-Stress Bicycling and Network Connectivity
A new report from the Mineta Transportation Institute demonstrates the need for communities to take a network approach when planning for bicycling.

The Walkable and Livable Communities Institute and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently published a comprehensive workbook for communities to deliver their own workshops on walkability and host a walking audit. An included Toolbox explains key concepts and provides resources for next steps.  (Download is free but you must submit basic contact information).

Back to School & Back to the Future!
As the new school year approaches there's no better time to re-think the way your children travel to school. Travel behaviour is one of the hardest habits to change especially for families, so we've outlined a few small steps to help your family become the most active and healthy school commuters possible.

HASTe is a hub for groups taking action on reducing school transportation emissions in British Columbia, Canada. It's a resource and networking center, to help students, teachers and schools improve the health of individuals, communities and the environment. 

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol 43, Iss 3, Sept Pages 320–328
Providing access to school facilities, providing unfixed equipment, and identifying ways to promote encouragement for physical activity have the potential to inform strategies to increase physical activity levels during recess periods.

Physical Activity in People Age 80 Years and Older as a Means of Counteracting Disability, Balanced in Relation to Frailty
Journal on Aging and Physical Activity, 20(3):317-331 (July 2012)
Focus group discussions to talk about physical activity were held with 20 people ages 80-91 who lived in the community. The four themes that emerged included physical activity as a part of all other areas of life; joy; fear of illness and dependence; and perceptions of frailty. The authors suggested that physical activity programs designed for the oldest adults emphasize that activity is part of daily living and that interventions focus on the outcomes rather than the activity itself. They advised that programs aid older adults in getting outdoors and include time for social interaction.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol 43, Iss 3, Sept, Pages 329–336
Evidence suggests that exercise and leisure-time physical activity increases after the retirement transition, but whether and how total physical activity changes is unclear. Imprecise physical activity measures used in primary studies limit conclusions, and this highlights the need for further research.

Hunter-Gatherer Energetics and Human Obesity
PLOS One, 2012:7(7): e40503
This paper challenges us from an anthropological level to think about evolutionary biology and its relationship to energy expenditure. It also points to the fact that if you have a heavier population the total energy expenditure will be higher because it takes more energy to move them. Not surprisingly, hunter gathers are much more physically active than other populations and this undoubtedly contributes to their health in a number of ways.  But in terms of obeseogenesis, it maybe there are evolutionary and biological regulatory mechanisms at play, and that the amount of additional food eaten has a substantial role, given baseline physical activity levels at any level in contributing to obesity. Once again this reinforces the importance of food intake in obesogenesis, but does not negate the health consequences of inactivity at any level of industrialisation.

Canadian Sport Policy 2012
The CSP 2012 sets the direction for all governments, institutions and organizations that are committed to realizing the positive impacts of sport on individuals, communities and society. The policy has been designed to be implemented by complementary action plans developed by governments individually and collectively, and by non-government organizations (NGOs) in the sport and related sectors.

Get Active Toronto (GAT) is an initiative formed between public, voluntary and private sector organizations to address the current epidemic of physical inactivity by achieving increased physical activity levels in Toronto. GAT does this by raising public awareness, creating more opportunities and reducing barriers to enable all residents to be physically active where they live, work, learn and play.

Circulation, online before print (August 13, 2012)
Inflammatory markers are proteins that underlie some disease mechanisms. For example, there is a link between higher levels of inflammation and coronary heart disease. Realizing that research in this area has primarily focused on short-term or cross-sectional studies, a team decided to look at longitudinal data to examine effects over the long term.

Health Promotion Journal of Australia Vol 23 No 2, 2012
This study evaluates the impact of community-based walking groups on increasing and maintaining regular physical activity.

Parks Are Part of Our Healthcare System
With the challenge of the obesity crisis and increased anxiety and depressive disorders more and more attention is being paid to the role parks play in both mental and physical health. It turns out much of the research shows that you don’t necessarily need huge million dollar investments in parks to make them health-promoting.

Effect of intensive counselling on physical activity in pregnant women at high risk for gestational diabetes mellitus. A clinical study in primary care
Primary Care Diabetes Available online 13 August 2012
The optimal time window for increasing PA must be earlier than in the last trimester of pregnancy. Sample size for a study to increase PA by 2.7 MET hours/week on pregnant women at high risk of GDM should be about 550 per group.


August 17, 2012

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc
Resource Coordinator, 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. 
A new CDC Vital Signs report that finds “Sixty-two percent of (US) adults say they walked for at least once for 10 minutes or more in the previous week in 2010, compared to 56 percent in 2005.”

Health & Place Vol 18, Iss 5, Sept 2012, Pages 1079–1087
Connectivity, destinations, population density, and sidewalk, pathway and bus stop availability contribute to walkability. ► Adjusting for neighborhood self-selection, neighborhood walkability was associated with neighborhood-based walking. ► Neighborhood-based transportation walking behavior during a usual week was higher in more vs. less walkable neighborhoods. ► Usual weekly minutes of neighborhood-based recreational walking was higher in more vs. less walkable neighborhoods. ► Creating neighborhood built environments that support physical activity has the potential to improve population health. 

J Med Internet Res July 2011 Vol. 13 No. 3
Electronic databases Medline, PsycInfo, CINAHL, and Web of Science were searched to retrieve English language articles published in international academic peer-reviewed journals from January 1, 1997, through December 31, 2009. Included were articles that provided descriptions of interventions designed to improve PA-related cognitive, psychosocial, and behavioral outcomes and that used randomized controlled trial design, included only children (6-12 years old) and adolescents (13-18 years old) in both intervention and control groups, and employed Internet, email, and/or short message services (SMS, also known as text messaging) as one or more major or assistive modes to deliver the intervention.

J Med Internet Res March 2012 Vol. 14 No. 2
The authors conclude: It is critical that members of the target audience be included in formative research to develop behavior change programs that are relevant, appealing, and address their needs and interests.
Arch Intern Med. Published online August 06, 2012
Higher levels of PA were associated with lower mortality risk in individuals with diabetes. Even those undertaking moderate amounts of activity were at appreciably lower risk for early death compared with inactive persons. These findings provide empirical evidence supporting the widely shared view that persons with diabetes should engage in regular PA.
The FallSafe falls prevention resources pack is now available.  It contains the learning from the FallSafeproject, care bundle information and templates, a falls prevention e-learning course and many other resources. The FallSafe project is about quality improvement. It focused on prevention and management of falls in clinical hospital wards in Southern England SHA.

Br J Sports Med 2010;44:80-9.
doi: 10.1136/bmj.e5528
The LiFE programme provides an alternative to traditional exercise to consider for fall prevention. Functional based exercise should be a focus for interventions to protect older, high risk people from falling and to improve and maintain functional capacity. 

Experimental Gerontology Available online 31 July 2012 In Press, Uncorrected Proof
In conclusion elderly who spend more time in physical activity or less time in sedentary behaviors exhibit improved functional fitness and other confounders. The results reinforce the importance of promoting both the reduction of sedentary behaviors and the increase of MVPA in this age group, as it may interfere at older ages in order to preserve functional fitness and performance of daily functioning tasks.

Obesity has been linked to cancer, heart attacks and stroke. So, it's a naturally a concern when new maps show Louisiana is among the 12 states where at least 30 percent of adults are dangerously overweight. Ten of the most obese states are in the South. …Pennington researcher, Peter Katzmarzyk, Ph.D. said "Some people call it the stroke belt, the diabetes belt, the inactivity belt."

This site is designed to provide the updated 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities and additional resources. The 2011 update identifies and updates MET codes that have published evidence to support the values. In addition, new codes have been added to reflect the growing body of knowledge and popular activities.

This booklet contains instructions on how to properly wear a pedometer, pedometer games and challenges, and weekly and monthly logs. These materials can be implemented into your intervention program to help keep participants motivated and as a way to keep track of their physical activity levels.

Health & Place Vol 18, Iss 5, Sept 2012, Pages 1034–1041
Past studies have suggested that a link between health outcomes and green space is due to increased levels of physical activity of individuals living in areas with more green space. We found a positive association between green space and physical activity levels…. These findings suggest that although there is a positive association between physical activity and green space it may not be explained by individuals using green space for recreation.

JPAH Volume 9, Supplement, January 2012
The information provided in this supplement is intended as a reference for navigating the considerations encountered when selecting an approach for self-report assessment or when deciding how to develop a new instrument.

The PARC-PH was developed in order to satisfy the need for a comprehensive center that can provide up to date physical activity assessment and intervention information as well as guidance to interested researchers and community members.

J Med Internet Res January 2012 Vol. 14 No. 1
Overall engagement with the 10,000 Steps website was high, and the results demonstrate the relative effectiveness of interactive components to enhance website engagement. However, only exposure to the interactive individual challenge feature was positively associated with all website engagement indicators. More research is needed to examine the influence of intervention components on website engagement, as well as the relationship between website engagement and physical activity change. 

Changing entrenched patterns of physical inactivity is an enormous, daunting task. Yet in the past decade, a collaborative effort by policymakers, educators and businesses, as well as advocacy groups such as RTC, has begun to turn the tide.

Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies Available online 9 August 2012 In Press, Corrected Proof
The authors conclude that Pilates exercises may be a safe and an effective treatment alternative for the quality of life in patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis. 

What stops women from getting exercise as they get older? And how do women get over these barriers? To better understand this, the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) conducted cross-Canada focus groups with women age 55 to 70

A new 2012 web-site and report.

August 3, 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.

The Round-Up will return August 17th.

Not so long ago, the term “cycling studies” would have been seen as puzzling in the United States—why study what were effectively perceived as toys?.... More than 100 academic studies related to cycling have been published this year alone, including new research on the mathematical optimization of bike infrastructure, (and) the health benefits of mass cycling events. Lees-McRae College in North Carolina even offers a cycling minor.

Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment Volume 17, Issue 7, October 2012, Pages 525–531
Trip-end facilities at work appear to be significant determinants of cycling to work. Compared to individuals without any bicycle facilities at work, commuters with cyclist showers, clothes lockers, and bike parking at work are associated with a 4.86 greater likelihood to commute by bicycle. Individuals with bike parking, but no showers and lockers at the workplace, are associated with 1.78 times greater odds to cycle to work than those without trip-end facilities. 

A major British Medical Association report urges doctors to play a key role in reducing car use. Healthy Transport = Healthy Lives calls on the government to take a long-term view of transport policy to create the conditions that reduce demand for car use, while enabling a shift to more active and sustainable forms of transport.

Walk Appeal promises to be a major new tool for understanding and building walkable places, and it explains several things that were heretofore either contradictory or mysterious. It begins with the assertion that the quarter-mile radius (or 5-minute walk,) which has been held up for a century as the distance Americans will walk before driving, is actually a myth.

Streets and the streetscapes that surround them have several measurable things that can tell us which standard of Walk Appeal the street provides. We'll look at the things that can be measured in this post….

People on the street, lovable things along the way, and the magic of the city are three Walk Appeal factors I have no idea how to measure, but they clearly contribute to making more walkable places…..

Here's where Walk Appeal gets really interesting, and walkability theory turns into real-world survival … or thriving. 

A resource from Alberta Health Services.

This situational analysis (SA) is intended to provide a comprehensive overview of the foundational evidence needed to justify chronic disease prevention initiatives, as they relate to nutrition, physical activity, and weight management, for the province of Alberta. This point-in-time (Snapshot) resource can be used by primary care providers, health program planners, policy decision makers and analysts, and others to guide the primary prevention of chronic diseases through individual behaviour change, the implementation of health-promoting public policy, and the mobilization of communities to create environments where healthy choices become easier choices. 

We are pleased to announce our amalgamation with Safe Kids, Safe Communities and SMARTRISK into a new national organization whose vision is to be the strategic injury prevention organization for families, communities, the health sector, researchers, governments and business. The new organization will be known as….Parachute – Leaders in injury prevention.
….Higher-literacy web visitors tend to scan rather than read word by word, only spending about 25 seconds on each web page. This approach to online reading has earned higher-literacy web visitors the reputation as “scanners and clickers.”

By contrast, limited-literacy web visitors are often described as “plowers” because initially they focus on one word at a time, slowly making their way through the text. However, when the going gets tough and the information looks like it may be difficult to get through, they start to scan. But they don’t become true scanners because they find it difficult to understand text simply by scanning headings and subheadings, so they quickly turn into “skippers and clickers”…… 

Authors' conclusions: Exercise interventions have only slight effects on physical function in frail older adults. The samples used in the included studies may not have been representative of the population so no recommendation was made as to which type of exercise was most effective.

Authors' conclusions: Fall prevention programs were modestly effective. Identifying what were the most effective components of such a program was extremely difficult and unclear from available research. 

September 29th, 2012 is Sports Day in Canada, the full website is now up and running. 

This report deals with prolonged sitting and is a summary of the full evidence review Reducing prolonged sitting in the workplace (An evidence review: full report), available at . Its findings show that prolonged workplace sitting is an emerging public health and occupational health issue with serious implications for the health of our working population. Importantly, prolonged sitting is a risk factor for poor health and early death, even among those who meet, or exceed, national activity guidelines.

Learn about unexpected benefits to standing up at work.