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.

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