November 30, 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.

Based on cyclists' actual routes, the study finds people riding bicycles will go out of their way to use safer infrastructure, such as bike paths and bike boulevards.

As part of TomorrowNOW - Manitoba’s green plan, the Province is moving forward with a three-year, four point Action Plan to support active transportation (AT), focusing on improved provincial coordination in the following areas………

Easter Seals Project ACTION and the CDC Healthy Aging Research Network have developed this new guide to assess signage and walkway availability and conditions in communities. Using the checklist, residents can help their community leaders create safe and well-marked walkways for people of all ages and abilities.

The Province is committed to advancing sustainable transportation in Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia Moves pilot program is one way the Province is seeking to support community-led sustainable transportation initiatives across the province.

This primer (from the American Public Health Association and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership) is intended to give an introduction and orientation to as to why and how health should be considered in transportation planning and decision-making — in particular through active transportation — and the role that public health practitioners can play.

American Journal of Public Health: December 2012, Vol. 102, No. 12, pp. 2336-2343
doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300762
We recruited 690 city residents injured while cycling in Toronto or Vancouver, Canada. A case-crossover design compared route infrastructure at each injury site to that of a randomly selected control site from the same trip.

In strongly-worded advice, which places significant pressure on the government to increase the extent of safe walking and cycling routes, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) urges local authorities, health bodies, workplaces and schools to do all they can to assist people in active travel.

Active Healthy Kids Canada does not recommend active video games as a strategy to help kids be more physically active. To find out why the evidence points Active Healthy Kids Canada to take this stand, read the details of the full Position on Active Video Games.

Preventive Medicine Available online 28 Nov 2012 In Press, Accepted Manuscript
► Like obesity, characteristics of activity in children vary by sleep duration ► Associations of sleep with activity vary from the school week to the weekend ► Sleep regularity is important for maintaining healthy levels of activity ► Children who maintain adequate sleep across the week have more consistent activity ► This evidence should bolster the promotion of sleep hygiene for children's health.

This one-year project aims to promote a healthy lifestyle,  with a focus on smoking prevention,  responsible alcohol consumption,  healthy diet and physical activity among young people and their families in Poland and Ukraine. Through a train the trainers approach,  local institutions and NGOs in the eight UEFA EURO 2012 host cities will be empowered to activate their communities and promote good health.

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Available online 29 Nov 2012
Available evidence suggests that pedometers are valid for use in clinical and research settings in people with physical disabilities. Further research examining the validity of pedometers in less heterogeneous populations of people with disabilities is warranted to determine validity for specific disability populations and to determine optimal pedometer placement.

Annals of Epidemiology Available online 21 Nov 2012 In Press, Corrected Proof
Findings provide insight about the unique associations between the timing and type of physical activity and depressive symptoms, suggesting that physical activity within team sport contexts should be encouraged so that young adults may experience less depressive symptoms.

Gait & Posture Available online 28 November 2012 In Press, Corrected Proof
► FOF and activity restriction are independently associated with deterioration in normal and dual task gait. ► Reductions in gait speed and stride length and increases in DSP and step width reflect a more cautious walking pattern. ► Gait changes are most pronounced in those who restrict activities as a result of FOF. ► Some gait changes may be at least partly attributed to stabilizing strategies.

Gait & Posture Volume 37, Issue 1, January 2013, Pages 88–92
We compared the stride characteristics during walking barefoot and wearing socks. ► Young adults did not show significant difference between two walking conditions. ► Older adults were slower with shorter stride length when wearing socks. ► Safety precautions about walking in socks should be considered for older adults.

The keynote and workshop presentations from the day can now be downloaded. The 12th BHFNC annual conference, Innovate to Activate, allowed delegates to explore creative solutions to promoting physical activity and reduce sedentary behavior.

November 23, 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.

This paper published by the Dietitians of Canada provides information to inform decision makers about the dietitian’s role in Aboriginal communities for the purpose of enhancing nutrition services currently offered and increased health and well-being in Aboriginal people.

BIKESAFE is intended to provide practitioners with the latest information available for improving the safety and mobility of those who bicycle. The information on the site falls into two categories, Resources and Tools.

Bicycling creates healthier communities, supports local business, and leads to less pollution and congestion. But people are reluctant to bike when they worry they won’t find a good place to lock their bicycles. Bicycle parking ordinances provide an easy way to ensure plentiful bicycle parking and make it clear that bicycles are welcome.

For people with a chronic illness, adopting a healthier lifestyle, such as smoking cessation, increased physical activity, eliminating heavy alcohol consumption and improving diet, can extend longevity, reduce the recurrence of an event and enhance quality of life.

British Journal of Nutrition / FirstView Article, pp 1-7
Input from a 24-hour dietary recall survey (participants write down everything they eat and drink) was assessed for 4,731people 60 years and older participating in the US Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Individuals who had limited mobility and low physical activity were categorized as “frail” and were five times more likely to report that they often do not have enough to eat compared to older adults who were not frail.

The authors conclude that physical activity reduces the risk of cognitive impairment, mainly vascular dementia, in older people living independently.

Older age is a transitional period when people experience changes not only in physical health, but also in social roles that can influence opportunities for social participation… social ties may encourage individuals to engage in health-promoting behaviors such as physical activity…..

These guidelines from the Parkinson Society Canada describe aerobic, strengthening, flexibility, and balance exercises, and provide tips and a chart for mapping progress

Today millions of Americans live in what we call "sprawl" – communities where cars are the primary mode of transportation, and it can be difficult for residents to walk, bike, or take public transportation to meet their daily needs.

This Guide provides a broad overview of development strategies for healthier communities. The guide links health risks (poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, etc.) to particular aspects of the built environment, highlighting policies to consider and specific “action steps” for public health professionals.

The study shows trip lengths and automobile travel are substantially reduced by compact, transportation-efficient land uses. The key is to create an environment so folks can complete many activities without using a car…….

The Make a Place for People project is based on the idea that community participation is key to the creation of vibrant and healthy public spaces.  With support from the Ontario government, 8-80 Cities is facilitating a community-led visioning process in order to inject new life into currently underperforming public spaces…. The document includes useful engagement and park assessment tools that could be used in and by any community.

The New York City DOT has been called upon to share the secret behind successful street design suitable for the 21st Century. The current report presents an assembly of goals and strategies that they have relied upon to create streets with wonderful public spaces while maintaining efficient traffic flow.

Project for Public Spaces, experts in transforming public spaces, has released a draft handbook of best practices in placemaking. Highlighted in the report are international case studies as well as 10 ways to improve your city through public space….. 

This evaluation was commissioned to evaluate the Paths to Health Workplace Pedometer
Loan Pack, an initiative designed to increase walking levels among employees. Pedometer loan packs containing 10 pedometers and supporting materials were distributed to 18 workplaces across Scotland…..Staff members at each site volunteered to coordinate the scheme and issued employees with a pedometer, educational materials and a step-count record card containing instructions for setting step-count targets over a 12- week walking program.

November 16, 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.

Identifies the issues affecting Aboriginal populations with regards to satisfying their recreation needs. Focuses on program planning to meet the needs of Aboriginal populations and the methods of engaging these populations. Supported by health, population and demographic statistics it underlines the growing issue of recreation satisfaction for the Aboriginal community.

Health & Place Vol 18, Iss 6, Nov 2012, Pages 1323–1334
►Promotion of active travel as a physical activity necessitates an understanding of the influence of built environments. ► Walkability audits used to collect data on pedestrian environments are costly and time-consuming. ► A model-based approach is proposed to select sites for walkability audits. ► A case study based demonstrates that the proposed approach can help to better target scarce resources.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol 43, Iss 6, Dec 2012, Pages 621–628
Active transportation was associated with more-favorable cardiovascular risk factor profiles, providing additional justification for infrastructure and policies that permit and encourage active transportation.

Transport experts from the Netherlands and Scotland are meeting in Edinburgh to discuss ways of improving cycling safety.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol 43, Iss 6, Dec 2012, Pages e45–e57
Drawing on a literature review and insights from the SLOTH (sleep, leisure, occupation, transportation, and home-based activities) time-budget model, this paper argues that financial incentives may have a larger role in promoting walking and cycling than is acknowledged generally.

This Australian report explores how a national approach might help to encourage and support walking and riding as part of the transport system in Australia’s cities and towns.

Health & Place Vol 18, Iss 6, Nov 2012, Pages 1224–1230
► Outdoor play is an important aspect of young children's physical activity. ► We examined environmental predictors of outdoor play in Head Start preschool children. ► We analyzed data from FACES 2006, a representative sample of US children in Head Start. ► Aspects of the home environment were associated with outdoor play. ► Outdoor time at school was not related to outdoor time at home.

A collaborative that was formed in 2010 with the objective to enhance the delivery of quality after school programs across Canada.  CAASP goals include increased access for all Canadian children to after-school programs that provide an opportunity to engage in physical activity, healthy living and sound nutrition practices. 

CAASP presently includes the Active Living Alliance of Canadian with a Disability (ALACD), Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC), Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS), Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA), National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) and Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE). CASSP is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

A research project taking place in Southern Alberta schools. We are exploring the best ways for schools to help students feel safe, valued and connected.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol 43, Iss 6, Dec 2012, Pages 643–649
This evaluation of the impact of policies on school-based physical activity indicates that such policies can affect health outcomes, specifically by increasing levels of physical activity. This study highlights the value of policy reform and calls attention to the need for independent evaluation of such policies.

To support Member States’ efforts, the WHO Regional Office for Europe has developed a blueprint for making physical activity appealing to young people. It is intended to be a resource for physical-activity promoters, with a focus on supportive urban environments and settings where children and young people live, study and play. This report outlines the blueprint, its development and suggested next steps.

January 24-26th, 2013 | Kananaskis, Alberta

Newly released guidelines.

Research in Developmental Disabilities Vol 34, Iss 1, Jan–Feb 2013, Pages 579–587
► A reverse-integrated basketball activity benefited young people with a disability. ► Quality of life and perceived self competence improved after six-month training. ► Low functional ability did not constrain the favorable effects of the program. ► Separate competitive and recreational sport activity did not have beneficial results.

Health & Place Vol 18, Iss 6, Nov 2012, Pages 1261–1269
A classroom-based survey of racially/ethnically diverse adolescents (n=2724) in 20 secondary schools in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota was used to assess eating frequency at five types of fast food restaurants. Black, Hispanic, and Native American adolescents lived near more fast food restaurants than white and Asian adolescents and also ate at fast food restaurants more often. After controlling for individual-level socio-demographics, adolescent males living near high numbers fast food restaurants ate more frequently from these venues compared to their peers.

Health & Place Vol 18, Iss 6, Nov 2012, Pages 1292–1299
We found no difference in availability or cheapest price across neighbourhoods. However, the poorest neighbourhoods had less variety of healthy products and poorer quality fruit and vegetables than more affluent neighbourhoods. Dietary inequalities may be exacerbated by differences in the variety and quality of healthy foods sold locally; these factors may influence whether or not consumers purchase healthy foods.

Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics Available online 5 Nov In Press, Corrected Proof
The study discusses the possibility that enhancing the moderate daily physical activity could be helpful for lowering the rate of neurocognitive degradations in healthy elderly individuals.

New statistics from the Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research.

Health & Place Vol 18, Iss 6, Nov 2012, Pages 1314–1322
► Obesity disparities by race–ethnicity are remarkable and greater in women than in men. ► Neighborhood socioeconomic status is a negative contextual correlate of obesity risk. ► Neighborhood walkability and access to parks are negatively associated with obesity risk. ► Population density is positively linked to obesity risk for women but negatively for men. ► The built environment does not explain obesity disparities by race–ethnicity.

UAlberta researcher Tanya Berry found that reality TV shows depicting exercise as an ordeal can fuel negative attitudes about physical activity.

Being physically active every day is enjoyable and safe for most people. Health benefits of physical activity include improved fitness, strength and feeling better. This booklet shows how you and your family can plan to be physically active every day using the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. Don't forget to reduce sedentary time too!

Health Educ Behav October 4, 2012
Doi: 1090198112459515
Find Thirty every day® has demonstrated some beneficial effects in both awareness, intention raising and actual behavior change and can be taken as a best practice example of a social marketing campaign both nationally and internationally. Effects in low SES groups are particularly important as these are key target groups for interventions.

This latest evidence briefing from the BHF National Centre summarizes what is known about active video gaming (known as exergaming) from both laboratory and ‘real life’ research. It also provides recommendations on the use of exergaming as a physical activity intervention.

Although individual healthy behaviours are moderately associated with successful aging, their combined impact is substantial. We did not investigate the mechanisms underlying these associations, but we saw clear evidence of the importance of healthy behaviours for successful aging.

PLoS Med 9(11): e1001335.
The researchers pooled data on 650,000 men and women aged 40 and older in Sweden and the U.S. who reported their activity levels.  The findings show that 75 minutes a week — or just over 10 minutes a day — was associated with 1.8 years of added life expectancy, compared to getting no leisure-time activity. As well, brisk walking for 450 minutes a week, just over an hour a day, was associated with living 4.5 years longer.

Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9(7), 2454-2478;
This paper is a systematic review of how much time is spent in physical activity among adults using public transport. It also explores the potential effect on the population level of physical activity if inactive adults in NSW, Australia, increased their walking through increased use of public transport.

The recently developed UN Member States Global Framework for NCD Prevention and Control includes a target to reduce physical activity by 10% by 2025.

Social Science & Medicine Available online 7 Nov 2012 In Press, Accepted Manuscript
► The built environment determined recreational (RW) and transport walking (TW). ► Following relocation, TW declined, as did access to transport-related destinations. ► Yet for each type of TW destination gained, TW increased 5.8 minutes/week. ► Following relocation, RW increased, as did access to recreational destinations. ► For each type of recreational destination gained, RW increased 17.6 minutes/week.

This comprehensive report describes how livability is understood, provides examples of livable communities in practice and adds clarity to several concepts.

This document is full of photos and diagrams that do a great job of illustrating concepts good and bad.

The purpose of this toolkit is to: 1) explain what is meant by a Complete Streets approach to designing and building a transportation network; 2) share the benefits of Complete Streets; 3) identify the various elements that make streets truly “complete” and describe the needed amenities to accommodate users of Montana’s roadways……

Chapter 3: explores how states are working to providing a variety of viable, accessible and affordable transportation options. Policies reviewed in this section include bicycle and pedestrian safety and travel initiatives.
Chapter 4: This section examines how transportation decisions can successfully achieve diverse public benefits. Including ….. two examples of how transportation activities have been linked with environmental and public health planning and goals.

Instead of scolding people to eat right and exercise, the region wants its planners and policy makers to start designing communities that intrinsically promote healthier living — with more stairs, transit, enticements to walk or cycle, and easier access to healthy food.

Health & Place Available online 7 Nov 2012 In Press, Accepted Manuscript
Of Note: authors include Neville Owen, Larry Frank, James Sallis

The study purpose was to examine the strength, direction and shape of the associations of environmental perceptions with recreational walking and leisure-time moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, using pooled data from four study sites (Baltimore [USA], Seattle [USA], Adelaide [Australia] and Ghent [Belgium]).

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol 43, Iss 6, Dec 2012, Pages 629–635
Exercise training reduces adiposity and risk of cardiovascular disease. However, the combined effects of habitual free-living physical activity and aerobic training on waist circumference, weight, fitness, and blood pressure in postmenopausal women are unknown…..

Preventive Medicine Available online 11 Oct 2012 In Press, Corrected Proof
This interesting study found clear links between participation in vigorous physical activity and subsequent sickness absence at work, after investigating changes over a five-seven year period. These findings promote the importance of physical activity for productivity in the workplace, with important ramifications for governments and companies when considering health promotion strategies.

Prev Chronic Dis 2012; Vol 9, October 2012
Promoting Activity and Changes in Eating (PACE) was a group-randomized worksite intervention to prevent weight gain in the Seattle metropolitan area from 2005 through 2007.  The authors found that dietary and physical activity behaviors of workers may be associated with average levels of perceived stress. Longitudinal studies are needed, however, to support inclusion of stress management or mindfulness techniques in workplace obesity prevention efforts.

Prev Chronic Dis 2012; Vol 9, October 2012
The Take-a-Stand Project reduced time spent sitting by 224% (66 minutes per day), reduced upper back and neck pain by 54%, and improved mood states. Furthermore, the removal of the device largely negated all observed improvements within 2 weeks.