September 27, 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. 

Bicycle use is up 26 per cent over the last three years in Metro Vancouver while bus trips are up 17 per cent, according to figures released by TransLink. The figures, which were included in the 2013 Base Plan are good news, according to Vancouver Coun. Geoff Meggs, who notes car use  only increased by four per cent over the same period – far less that the population increase of six per cent.

Between 2008 and 2011, the Department for Transport, Cycling England and the Department of Health invested over £43M (approximately $68M CDN) to create the twelve Cycling City and Towns. The aim of the program was to explore whether and how increased investment in cycling, as part of a whole-town strategy, could lead to a significant and sustained increase in the number of cyclists and frequency of cycling. This report is an evaluation of the outcomes and impacts of the program

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol 43, Iss 4, Oct 2012, Pages 369–377
Demonstrating that an intervention “works” is only the first step toward promoting enhanced health at the population level. For wide-scale implementation, teacher-level self-efficacy and ongoing technical support to train teachers were important. At the school level, policies and guidelines provided a necessary, supportive environment for implementation. 

Diabetes Care September 17, 2012
doi: 10.2337/dc12-0777
To assess whether neighbourhood walkability influences the likelihood of developing diabetes, Booth and her colleagues collected information from a health registry on nearly all adults living in Ontario, focusing on the 1.2 million who did not have diabetes.  For five years, from 2005 to 2010, they tracked how many people went on to develop diabetes. They also mapped out where the people lived, and categorized them according to the walkability of their community. 

Implementation Science 2012, 7:91
This review was undertaken in order to identify what factors serve as barriers and facilitators to the successful implementation of fall-prevention programs. The authors examined qualitative research undertaken between 1980 and 2012 and identified a number of issues that need to be considered to assure the success of such programs.

Some speaking/presentation notes from Grey Matters 2012, the Alberta seniors services conference held Sept. 13 and 14, are now available on the Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council’s website. More notes will be added as they are provided.

“Our research shows a direct link between the type of personality a person has and a healthy lifestyle,”…... “The main policy response to the obesity epidemic has been the provision of better information, but information alone is insufficient to change people’s eating habits.... Understanding the psychological underpinning of a person’s eating patterns and exercise habits are central to understanding obesity.” 

The Welsh Health Survey has been running for eight years. During this time there has been a slight increase in levels of obesity and little change in physical activity.

This article collection is a cross-journal collaboration covering recent advances in sports medicine that have both broad interest and high clinical relevance to athletes, physicians, general practitioners, sports and exercise medicine specialists as well as sport nutritionists, and may also have wider implications. 

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol 43, Iss 4, Oct 2012, Pages 378–384
Attractive community and natural features were associated with a lower BMI in this population of adult NYC residents. Street cleanliness and safety-hazard indicators were not linked to BMI as hypothesized. Several neighborhood characteristics were observed to interact with each other. Although investments in the built environment have the potential to reduce obesity and related health disparities, well-intentioned efforts may not have the anticipated health benefits if interactions across population subgroups and settings are not well understood.

WOW!! Which street would you rather walk along?  "Photographer David Yoon narrows existing streets of Los Angeles to see the effects on the city."


September 21, 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 have created comic books on health and social issues for youth.  

Transportation commissioners and directors from America's largest cities have announced the release of the second edition of the Urban Bikeway Design Guide, a toolkit for designing safer streets for bicyclists published by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO).

The purpose of this project was to learn about physical activity participation, physical activity opportunities, sedentary behaviour and caregiver role modeling in after-school programs across Alberta. The Alberta Centre for Active Living surveyed after-school program managers across Alberta and conducted two focus groups. Key findings from these assessments are included in this brief report.

Source: American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 2012, 43: 263-271.
They found increased pedometer steps were associated with the presence of a written policy related to physical activity, amount/quality of staff training, use of a physical activity curriculum, and offering activities that appeal to both genders. Higher servings of FV and whole grains per week were associated with the presence of a written policy regarding the nutritional quality of snacks. 

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice, 2012, Sep;18(5):412-5.
The results of this pilot show that children adapted quite quickly to standing more, and the reports of teachers indicated that they perceived that student ‘focus’ and attention in class was greater.  Although this is a qualitative judgment, the opinions of teachers in this regard for this age group is quite likely to be valid, and indicates that academic focus may not be compromised. 

American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 43, Issue 3, Supplement 2, Pages A1-A4, S85-S152 (September 2012)

To promote healthier eating among Canadians, Health Canada has developed its Eat Well Campaign, with an initial focus on the busy back-to-school time period. The campaign, which is rooted in the principles underlying Canada’s Food Guide, profiles year-round awareness and information to encourage changes in our approach to healthy eating, including the way we shop, prepare foods and select foods when eating out.

This Toolbox gives you free access to a wide variety of resources, tools, and tips on promoting healthy eating through your organization’s networks and communities. 


The year is intended to raise awareness of the contribution that older people make to society. It seeks to encourage policymakers and relevant stakeholders at all levels to take action with the aim of creating better opportunities for active ageing and strengthening solidarity between generations.

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci (2012) online: August 28, 2012
doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbs069
“My team was able to demonstrate that sedentary and frail senior citizens can benefit from major improvements not only in terms of physical function but also brain function, such as memory, and quality of life,” stated Louis Bherer, PhD, Laboratory Director and Researcher at the University of Montreal.

2012 Volume 10 Issue 3
The Journal has published a special issue themed “Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity Between Generations in Europe: Celebrating the European Year 2012.” The articles suggest policy frameworks and profile current programs. 

BMJ Open 2012; Volume 2, Issue 5
Published by BMJ Open, this paper investigates barriers to decision makers’ usage of research evidence from systematic reviews. Important barriers include a lack of familiarity with the material and a negative perception of its utility. 

"The report….. draw(s) a connection between "walkable urban places" and economic success. It vindicates smart growth policies which have made so-called WalkUPs the preferred choice for many residents, shoppers and businesses. "What was perceived as a niche market is becoming the market," (author Christopher) Leinberger says."

September 14, 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.

Canadian Journal of Diabetes Vol 36, Iss 5, Suppl, Oct 2012, Pages S4–S5
From the 15th Annual Canadian Diabetes Association/Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism Professional Conference and Annual Meetings

This discussion paper by Rodney Tolley explores the benefits to retailers, residents and councils of improving walking and cycling conditions, based on international case studies.

This downloadable PDF is a collection of innovative, multidisciplinary tactics that have successfully improved and encouraged walking in communities around the country.

This study indicates that many people value walking or cycling for enjoyment and exercise and so will choose these modes even if they take longer than driving.

A presentation by Todd Litman (Victoria Transport Policy Institute) at the VeloCity Conference in Vancouver, June 2012.

Academic Pediatrics Available online 12 September 2012
At a national level, the frequency of outdoor play for preschoolers cared for in home-based child care settings is suboptimal. Further study and efforts to increase outdoor playtime for children in home-based child care settings are needed. 

Canadian Journal of Diabetes Vol 36, Iss 5, Suppl, Oct 2012, Pages S20
The implementation of Healthy Buddies© lesson plans in an elementary school setting is an effective method for attenuating central weight gain and improving diet quality, self-efficacy and knowledge of healthy living in younger students

Using outdoor facilities is an excellent way to include a wider range of activities in your physical activity programming and introduce students or campers to places they can go to be physically active when not at school or at camp. 

February 26 - 28, 2013, San Diego, CA.  
The theme of the 2013 conference, Achieving Change Across Sectors: Integrating Research, Policy and Practice, recognizes the importance of engaging people from multiple disciplines and occupations to increase physical activity for everyone and reverse the obesity epidemic. For the first time, the conference agenda will be organized into two tracks – research and practice.

November 4th – 7th, 2012.  Hamilton ON 

This recently updated report investigates various ways that transportation planning decisions affect public health, and how planning practices can better incorporate public health objectives. 

A recent blog from Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute addresses common points of confusion when working with transportation statistics.

Age and Ageing, 41(5):635-641 (September 2012)
When a person falls and calls an ambulance for help, what happens afterwards? In England, 157 people ages 60 years and older called an ambulance for assistance after a fall, but were not hospitalized…. Using fall diaries, people who took advantage of the community fall prevention services reported an average of 5.3 fewer falls than the group in usual care over the next 12 months.

Disability and Health Journal Available online 12 September 2012
FEPA shows promise for improving health-related outcomes in those with arthritis, and has potential for sustainability in community settings.

“We have a huge untapped resource in seniors’ centres,” Sinha said in an interview. “These are not places that are delivering health care per se, but wellness and prevention activities, which are things that we know are important in helping older adults stay well and stay healthy longer.

Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics Online 5 Sept 2012 In Press, Corrected Proof
Among the Active AD patients, those individuals who engaged in walking for more than 2 h/week had a significant improvement in (mini mental) scores. Structured clinical trials which seek to increase the amount of time AD patients were engaged in walking activities and evaluate the nature and scope of beneficial effects in the brain are warranted.

Preventive Medicine Available online 27 July 2012 In Press, Corrected Proof
► Poor English language proficiency is a barrier to obtaining accurate information. ► Relatives can be important in motivating/facilitating older adults to be active. ► Generating group norms may produce positive benefits to changing PA behavior 

The final cycle of the National Population Health Survey, covering the 2010/2011 period is now available. With this last release researchers will have access to nine cycles of Canadian longitudinal health data to examine the dynamics of population health from 1994/1995 to 2010/2011.

“We knew from previous research that central obesity is bad, but what is new in this research is that the distribution of the fat is very important even in people with a normal weight,” said Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, MD, senior author and a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic. “This group has the highest death rate, even higher than those who are considered obese based on BMI. From a public health perspective, this is a significant finding.”

Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine Volume 55, Supplement 1, October 2012, Pages e319
Currently, measurement of physical activity in clinical practice can be done in various ways, including questionnaires, pedometers or accelerometers. However, these tools are underused and physical inactivity is a cardiovascular risk factor rarely evaluated. Furthermore, patients’ understanding of the goals of physical activity could be improved by estimating energy expenditure that must be greater than 1000 kcal/week. The objective was to build a new tool to assess physical activity.

The final cycle of the National Population Health Survey, covering the 2010/2011 period is now available. With this last release researchers will have access to nine cycles of Canadian longitudinal health data to examine the dynamics of population health from 1994/1995 to 2010/2011.

The Department of Health and Natural England working in partnership with local statutory and voluntary organisations took the decision to invest in an expansion of Walking for Health as part of the package of public health initiatives aimed at getting people more active.

 This report presents research the economic costs of Walking for Health. Specifically, the economic costs involved in delivering the program. These include financial (or accounting) costs and opportunity costs, which are the values of the foregone costs that could have been dedicated some other objective.

Related publications:

Public Health Online 31 Aug 2012 In Press, Corrected Proof
Despite its widespread use to assess levels of physical activity and compare data between nations, the IPAQ-long form appears to have problems measuring the levels of physical activity in Brazilian adults. Although more expensive and time consuming, the use of accelerometers accompanied by diaries or log books should be considered, whenever possible, in order to collect direct measurements of the level of physical activity in individuals.

This briefing summarizes NICE's recommendations for local authorities and partner organizations on how to encourage people to be physically active. It is particularly relevant to health and wellbeing boards. Sub headings include: developing an action plan, cost & saving, facts & figures etc.

New fact sheets provide practitioners with an overview of the evidence on sedentary behaviours. These provide the facts and figures on this relatively new area of research in easy to use sections:
·         What is sedentary behavior?
·         Current levels of sedentary behavior
·         Factors influencing sedentary behaviors 

This website provides information for residents on how to improve street designs and maintenance.

This booklet offers a guide on how to create complete communities that support families and high-quality education based on a series of reports published by the Center for Cities & Schools at the University of California, Berkeley….

This literature review examines the effects of traffic calming in urban environments on four determinants of health (collisions, air quality, noise, and active transportation). 

Preventive Medicine Online 3 Sept 2012 In Press, Uncorrected Proof
► We studied a commuting population in Cambridge, UK in 2009. ► Time spent walking or cycling as part of commuting was assessed by questionnaire. ► Total moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was measured by accelerometry. ► We assessed the associations between active commuting and overall MVPA. ► Women reporting 150 min or more weekly active commuting achieved higher daily MVPA.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol 43, Iss 3, Pgs 293-297, Sept 2012
PoC prompts on workplace computers which reminded workers to stand every 30 minutes decreased uninterrupted sitting periods compared to education-only sessions. These results provide some evidence for future health promotion programs particularly given the health risks associated with prolonged sitting. Further research is recommended using a larger sample size over a longer period of time.