February 22, 2013

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.

Cycling in Cities is a research program investigating factors that encourage or discourage bicycling, transportation infrastructure associated with increased or decreased risks of cycling injuries, and air pollution and cycling. The research program is based at the University of British Columbia School of Population & Public Health.

North American cyclists are eight to 30 times more likely to be seriously injured while cycling than their European counterparts

Ontario’s chief coroner’s review of 95 pedestrian deaths reminds us of the need to create more walkable cities.

After some controversy and hesitation to change, the Prospect Park West redesign proved to be greatly successful for the community. Previous to its redesign, the Prospect Park West consisted of three one-way travel lanes with a parking lane on each side of the road. In response to local concerns about speeding and to improve community safety, the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) removed one lane and accommodated a new two-way bikeway. The new design not only improved street mobility and street safety, but also contributed to a more active community.

March 21st – 23rd.  Held at the Grande Prairie Regional College and the Eastlink Centre, this is a fantastic opportunity to connect to athletes, coaches and leaders in the adapted physical activity community.

Take PART offers children and youth (8-21) with physical disabilities recreation and sports opportunities across Nova Scotia. Weekly recreation sessions expose participants to a variety of adapted recreational, sport and leisure activities.

35% of U.S. adults have gone online to figure out a medical condition; of these, half followed up with a visit to a medical professional.

Half of smartphone owners use their devices to get health information and one-fifth of smartphone owners have health apps.
Annals of Internal Medicine 5 February 2013;158 (3):162-168
Higher midlife fitness levels seem to be associated with lower hazards of developing all-cause dementia later in life. The magnitude and direction of the association were similar with or without previous stroke, suggesting that higher fitness levels earlier in life may lower risk for dementia later in life, independent of cerebrovascular disease.

Visits to a health practitioner are usually accompanied by some measurement, such as stepping on a scale for body weight or wearing a cuff for a blood pressure check. Levels of physical activity or servings of fruits and vegetables are widely publicized as indicators of a healthy lifestyle. Given that these health indicators are well known, do people pay attention when it’s their own health?

Health Evidence Review Quality Rating 9 (strong). 

The Air Miles Reward Program, via its AIR MILES for Social Change activities, will partner with the YMCA at 15 locations in Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick to enable families to earn AIR MILES reward miles in a variety of ways that encourage physical activity, such as registering their children for day camps, using participating fitness facilities or buying YMCA memberships.

It contains 35 proven programs, traffic calming treatments, and community projects that are used around the country to create great places.

Preventing Chronic Disease  Vol 10 Feb 7th 2013
Coordinators were asked whether their collaborative had used any of the following approaches to promote active living or physical activity in the community: environmental change (eg, trail building), policy change (eg, complete streets), program development (bike/walk-to-work event), educational programs (eg, bike safety), social media (eg, Facebook), or social marketing (eg, advertisements).

We asked whether the collaborative had identified any of the following areas as a core strategy: parks, open spaces, and recreation facilities; transit and parking; children’s play areas; public plazas (ie, community destinations, such as gardens and farmers’ markets); streetscaping (eg, traffic calming); street improvements (eg, street connectivity); infill and redevelopment (eg, mixed use development); and Safe Routes to School.

Health & Place Online 15 February 2013 Accepted Manuscript
In this prospective study of non-sedentary older women, neighborhood walkability did not explain change in BMI or obesity during follow-up. Our results are consistent with a longitudinal study in older men (mean age 70 years) reporting no direct association of built environment with 5-year change in BMI…. Neighborhood walkability may have a greater impact on maintaining normal BMI in older populations. Our results contribute to the small number of longitudinal studies evaluating built environment and obesity

It may seem odd that design could be related to health, but it’s true: pleasing predictability encourages participation. If the basics are well provided, people will flock to the system and use it to the fullest.

Healthy public parks can do wonders to support mental health, reduce stress levels, and foster community engagement. However, the opposite is also true for parks that are deserted, overcrowded, or riddled with inappropriate behaviour. This article explores various factors that contribute to both safe and dangerous park environments, and offers examples on how park spaces can be improved.

PowerPoints and materials from this international conference Breakout Sessions are now available on the individual session pages of this website.

February 15, 2013

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.

On January 23, 2013 the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association and Leisure Information Network Re-Launched the Northern Links Website, supporting recreation practitioners in First Nations, Inuit and M├ętis communities in making positive changes through recreation.

As a result of this investigation, an identification and discussion of the contextual factors, design variables, and tools for planning and implementing shared bicycle/bus lanes is presented. The report provides recommendations for further needed research.

Updated from original 2007 version. From the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.

In Copenhagen’s new bicycle strategy you can read about the new initiatives and plans, which lay down guidelines for the long term and overriding priorities within the bicycle area.

This review of research, newly published material and emerging practice has identified areas where additional advice and guidance on pedestrian facilities can be incorporated into the Austroads Guides. (You’ll need to register to download the free .pdf)

American Journal of Public Health: March 2013, Vol. 103, No. 3, pp. e85-e92
doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300917
The authors reported: a greater likelihood of cycling for those exposed to the public bicycle share program after the second season of implementation after we controlled for weather, built environment, and individual variables. They conclude: the implementation of a public bicycle share program can lead to greater likelihood of cycling among persons living in areas where bicycles are made available.

It is widely recognized that there is a need to increase levels of active and sustainable travel in British urban areas. The Understanding Walking and Cycling (UWAC) project, funded by the EPSRC, has examined the factors influencing everyday travel decisions and proposes a series of policy measures to increase levels of walking and cycling for short trips in urban areas.

In addition to the economic impact of the pedestrian bridge, Camoin Associates also considered the fiscal impacts on government revenues. The new business activity and wages resulting from visitor spending generates additional revenue for local and state government in the form of sales, hotel and income tax. The following is a summary of the major findings of the report……

Children who walk or cycle to school rather than being driven by their parents have an increased power of concentration, and the effect of this ‘exercise’ lasts all morning.
Muuvit is a simple and easy to use tool from Finland designed to engage children in healthy behaviours and regular physical activity. It provides a way to make learning fun and encourages children to learn and grow both individually and as a team. Muuvit is available internationally and allows for classrooms to be connected all over the world.

This Section consists of factsheets of monographs describing various disabilities and health conditions as well as considerations for each related to exercise and physical activity.  Including conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Exercise.

Two physicians who had just become geriatricians walked through a neighborhood in Baltimore asking passerby if they could describe what a geriatrician does. They found that “virtually no one” knew what a geriatrician was. The authors pointed out that if people do not know what a geriatrician does; they cannot support the growth of geriatrics or seek care from this specialist.

Journal of Applied Gerontology February 2013 vol. 32 no. 1 96-119
doi: 10.1177/0733464811399896
In short, the study finds: To market fall prevention, don’t mention falls. 

PLOS Medicine
The authors conclude that “More leisure time physical activity was associated with longer life expectancy across a range of activity levels and BMI groups.”

The U.S. Trust for Public Land is financing the implementation of weather-durable exercise equipment in 80 parks around the nation in order to create healthy outdoor playgrounds.

Their mission is to elevate physical activity as a public health priority in Ontario through engagement, education, advocacy and strategic alliances.

Lee’s Summit, Missouri is a city of just over 91,000 people located 20 miles from downtown Kansas City. During the last decade, Lee’s Summit experienced rapid growth, with the city’s population swelling by nearly 20 percent from 2005 to 2010. Notable among Lee’s Summit accomplishments is the City’s Complete Streets policy, the first in the region. The policy helps ensure pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, disabled citizens and motorists are all considered in future transportation projects and accommodated fairly

Mission is a first-generation suburb of just under 10,000 people, located 8 miles south of downtown Kansas City, Missouri. At just 2.7 square miles, Mission feels like a small town despite being minutes away from the center city. Some might see Mission’s small size as an obstacle to economic vitality. But the community in Mission saw smart growth strategies as a way to raise the profile of the city far beyond its small size.

A document from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) discussing the importance of walking and cycling - includes resources.

Health & Place Online 4 Feb 2013 Accepted Manuscript
► Physical activity from a prospective behavioural intervention was explored. ► We calculated Walk Score® and neighbourhood walkability for each participant. ► Interactions between intervention and neighbourhood characteristics were examined. ► Participants in the intervention group reported significantly more physical activity.

This guidance from the Mayor of London gives practical advice about how to create spaces for play in new developments in urban areas for young people. This guidance will form part of the over-arching Shaping Neighbourhoods Portfolio. It is currently envisaged that it will have 4 parts:
A. Understanding Place
B. Lifetime Neighbourhoods and Neighbourhood Planning
C. Play and Informal Recreation
D. Accessible London

February 8, 2013

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.
American J of Preventive Medicine Vol 44, Iss 1, Jan 2013, Pages 96–97
A new study out of Washington University in St. Louis is one of the first to use technology to effectively measure the use of built environments -- parks, greenways, trails and other man-made public areas -- as a means to improve public health.

Published by the Transportation Association of Canada - this resource identifies challenges that impede progress toward objectives for greater active transportation activity, safety and enjoyment, and principles to guide practitioners and their communities in responding to these diverse challenges.

"Citing the six cycling fatalities and thousands of injuries that have occurred in Toronto in 2012 alone, Svoboda said that what we usually describe as accidents 'could also be described as a failure by the City to protect its residents and to build a healthy city.' He urged councilors to consider the preventative benefits of cycling and active living in general.

Journal of the Transportation Research Board Volume 2314 / 26 Dec 2012
This issue consists of 16 research papers.

"If you want to walk on the campus of Worcester State University in Massachusetts, it's going to cost you. Whether students at WSU drive or walk to class, each one of them is hit with an annual $72 "parking/pedestrian access fee," the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports.

Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport Vol 16, Iss 1, Jan 2013, Pages 28–35
The objective of this paper is to provide a user's guide for selecting an appropriate method to assess sedentary behaviours among children and adolescents

Social Science & Medicine Online 23 Jan 2013 In Press, Accepted Manuscript
► The present study findings support some predicted interactions posited by the ecological models. ► In low-income neighborhoods, psychosocial factors moderate the association between walkability and adolescents’ physical activity. ► Improving neighborhood walkability may increase physical activity of adolescents that are most difficult to reach.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has just published a new early years physical activity guide. This pack (of seven booklets) is designed to help early years practitioners plan and organise physically active play environments for children under five.

Preventive Medicine online 4 Feb 2013 Accepted Manuscript
► Pedometer wear was associated with higher PA among adolescent girls, but not boys. ► Findings may support sex-specific intervention strategies. ► Pedometer monitoring alone may not be sufficient to promote adolescent PA.

Preventive Medicine Vol 56, Iss 2, Feb 2013, Pages 152–161
Given the small number of studies, moderate-to-high risk of bias, and the heterogeneity of results, caution is warranted regarding the strength of available evidence. However, this review indicates that interventions can increase the proportion of time students spend in MVPA during PE lessons. As most children and adolescents participate in PE, these interventions could lead to substantial public health benefits. 
In this report, 8-80 Cities in partnership with International Valley Health Institute focus on the opportunity of using public access to schoolyards as an inexpensive way of improving community health.

This new report from the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) suggests a bottom up approach is required from local authorities to address public health issues…. The report makes five recommendations to local government on how to face the increase in demand for public health at a financially challenging time…. The authors of this report hope it will help stimulate debate about what effective local government leadership of public health looks like.

Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Vol 113, Iss 2, Feb 2013, Pgs 228–240.e2
We aimed to estimate… the association of compliance with the guidelines of the French Nutrition and Health Program (PNNS) assessed at inclusion and change in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) over 12 years. A secondary objective was to identify the relative contribution of diet and physical activity to long-term change in HRQoL.

Conclusions: Following physical activity guidelines may be associated with better concomitant HRQoL and following dietary guidelines with better future physical HRQoL.

The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry online 6 Feb 2013
In a nursing home setting the objective of this study was to examine the effects of cognitive stimulation (mahjong) and physical exercise (tai chi [TC]) on cognitive performance in persons with dementia.

The fall prevention multimedia package includes a video as well as written resources aimed at engaging seniors, their doctors and other primary care clinicians. The video highlights some of the ways to reduce fall risks, common health conditions related to falls and practical assessment tools. The resources offer safe and easy-to-follow exercises, recommendations for good sleep habits and ways to make a senior’s home safer to reduce falls.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s 2013 Report on the Health of Canadians (PDF) titled Reality Check warns that without immediate action, baby boomers may spend their last years in sickness, disability and immobility.

A new report from the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research – document can be found on this webpage.

There are lots of resources on this webpage!  CDC’s Injury Center created the STEADI Tool Kit for health care providers who see older adults in their practice who are at risk of falling or who may have fallen in the past. The STEADI Tool Kit gives health care providers the information and tools they need to assess and address their older patients’ fall risk.

NHS Scotland has produced a summary document of two projects they previously commissioned to help health professionals understand the key themes that motivate people to become more active.

Volume 15, Supplement 1, Pages S1-S374 (December 2012)
Browse abstracts from the 4th International Congress of Physical Activity and Public Health (ICPAPH), be active 2012, now available in an online supplement of the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport (JSAMS).

Includes videos on physical inactivity and motivating people to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

This set of videos (from PHAC) provides concrete suggestions on how primary care providers can support behaviour change among their patients. They include an overview of motivational interviewing and offer specific guidance using scenarios on how to promote healthy behaviours through the 5 As (Assess, Advise, Agree, Assist, Arrange) and the 5 Rs (Relevance, Risks, Rewards, Roadblocks, Repetition).

Statistics Canada data on Physical activity during leisure-time, moderately active or active and Physical activity during leisure-time, inactive.  To see just that data:
·         Click on the add/remove data tab
·         Under Step 4 deselect all and only check the two PA data sources
·         When done – click apply at the bottom

Journal of Environmental Psychology online 6 Feb 2013 Accepted Manuscript
This paper reviews research into the relationships between attributes of outdoor environments and levels of activity and exercise in populations using those environments. It takes an environmental designer’s view of relevant and effective research and research approaches that can provide evidence for policy and practice.

Health & Place online 4 Feb 2013 Accepted Manuscript
► Physical activity from a prospective behavioural intervention was explored. ► We calculated Walk Score® and neighbourhood walkability for each participant. ► Interactions between intervention and neighbourhood characteristics were examined. ► Participants in the intervention group reported significantly more physical activity.

Health & Place online 24 January 2013
Note: Karen Lee is one of the authors
We examine key urban planning features and policies that shape urban environments, that may compromise physical activity as part of everyday life, including walking and bicycling. We review the empirical research to identify planning and design strategies that support physical activity in other high-density cities in developing and developed countries. Finally, we identify successful strategies to increase physical activity in another growing, high-density (cities).

Walking is the most fundamental, accessible, and inexpensive form of mobility, so why is it so neglected from urban transport policies? ….Walkability is a key determinant of sustainability and liveability in our cities, and this report outlines key recommendations on how governments can achieve walkable cities.

The needs of our communities evolve over time, and our street design should, too. That’s the idea behind ‘rightsizing streets’ – reconfiguring the layout of our streets to better serve the people who use them, whether they’re commuters driving, shoppers walking, or children bicycling.

Health & Place online 23 Jan 2013 In Press, Accepted Manuscript
► Being white and healthy were associated with greater energy expended on walking. ► A high school or greater level of education was associated with greater energy expended on walking. ► Women who engaged in more non-walking METS of physical activity also expended more METS walking. ► Neighborhood walkability was not associated with walking in a sample of postmenopausal women.

Preventive Medicine online 29 Jan 2013 In Press, Accepted Manuscript
► Walking or cycling for transport could contribute to population health improvement. ► We explore why commuters incorporate walking and cycling into car journeys. ► Supportive environments and lack of workplace car parking were important contributors.