April 26, 2013

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

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.

Note: This week’s Round Up contains links to many resources highlighted at the recent 2013 International Physical Literacy Conference.

This report contains fifteen successful and inspirational physical activity initiatives from each Canadian province and territory as well as two international case studies. This diverse collection offer insight into consistent promising practices and recurring challenges that may be emulated or pre-empted for the benefit of successful programs in communities.

The report was commissioned by the FPT Physical Activity and Recreation Committee (PARC), and was produced by Johnston Research Inc.

Healthy Schools is Manitoba's provincial school health initiative designed to promote the physical, emotional, and social health of schools communities….. A Healthy School in motion values the benefits of physical activity and ensures that it is a visible priority in the daily life of the school.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol 44, Iss 5, May 2013, Pgs 439–444
The findings provide further support that meeting the national (USA) physical activity guidelines produces health benefits for youth.

The tools are meant to improve our population’s level of physical literacy. Directed at individuals aged seven and up, the PLAY Tools determine gaps in physical literacy development, and provide calls-to-action to help improve these areas.

What is Physical Literacy Injury Prevention? Integrating the development of physical literacy and injury risk reduction strategies into schools, recreation, and club sport programs to improve the resilience of children and reduce their risk of injury.

Passport for Life is an online platform which helps teachers broaden their understanding of physical literacy and implement its assessment.  Teachers collect student data related to their level of physical literacy and use this data to provide individualized attention to help students set goals and work towards continued improvement as well as guide lesson planning to meet the needs of the class.

May 19 – 22, 2014 Toronto, Canada

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. A retrospective study - Each study participant completed a confidential survey that contained questions about childhood maltreatment and family dysfunction, as well as items detailing their current health status and behaviors. This information was combined with the results of their physical examination to form the baseline data for the study.

CPHA is pleased to launch a new platform to facilitate the exchange of real-life experiences, tools and resources about initiatives implemented by communities and their health and social service organizations to improve health and address health equity through the social determinants of health (SDH).

As part of the recent federal budget, the Federal government has announced that it will wind down its funding support of the Health Council of Canada. According to the Federal government, with the end of the Accord in 2014, the Health Council will have completed its primary mandate. The Health Council will operate as usual and continue to report on the progress of health care renewal with a focus on health innovation up until March 31, 2014.

A video adapted from Sudbury District Health Unit that explains the most important things influencing health.

Wellness Alberta is a new campaign that brings together thousands of individuals including business, health and recreational leaders and non-governmental organizations who support a meaningful investment in the prevention of disease and injuries.

Ontario Health Promotion E-Bulletin, 19 April 2013 - OHPE Bulletin 794, Vol 2013, No. 794
This article highlights the history and the work of the Minding Our Bodies multi-year project.

Top 10 Barriers to physical activity.

“Sports skills are life skills” is the focus of the campaign. Instead of only highlighting the positive impact sport has on one’s physical health, humorous scenarios depict the interpersonal and social skills taught via sport and utilized in everyday life. (There are two more in the right hand column as well).

This website has been set up to enable all those interested in the concept of Physical Literacy to share papers and references…… Papers by Margaret Whitehead show the development of the concept over the past few years…

For the very first time you will be able to track injuries sustained in sport and physical activity, track symptoms to report to your healthcare team, share "near misses" and learn about preventing injury in your activities and community.

The Play Safe Initiative (PSI) is a collaborative approach to reducing injury risk in sport and physical activity through research, education and innovation.

Sheldon Kennedy gave a great presentation about this at the past International Physical Literacy conference.  It’s Canada's only interactive, online certification program to protect our youth and enhance an organization's mandate for safe, fun and respectful environments for all. 

The funding, which comes from Sport Canada, is part of ongoing support for not-for-profit endeavours to encourage parents, children, and young people to stay active.

April 19, 2013

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.

As cities around the country are making significant investments in pedestrian, bicycling and transit infrastructure, cycling, especially is on the rise. Many other cities, large and small, are eyeing this success and are recognizing the potential of cycling as a viable mode of transportation for their communities…….

Mobilians suffer from poor mental and physical health in large part because the city's built environment is not conducive to being active... 'If the city were serious about improving the lives of its residents …. it would put resources into improving the ability of residents to move about without the use of a car,' Dr. Perkins said..."

In a bit of news that's bound to add some perspective to your local battles, Saudi Arabia this week lifted the ban on public biking for women, sort of…..  Saudi Arabia's Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice overturned a previous ban on cycling and motorbiking for women. The ruling stipulates that women must wear a full-body abaya, be accompanied by a male relative, and stay within certain areas. They are allowed to bike for recreational purposes only, not as a primary mode of transportation

UWalk is focused on empowering people to be active through walking. Walk to decrease tension, improve your mood, keep you energized and can boost your self-confidence.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the Department of Health and Human Services announced the opening of a docket to obtain information from the public on walking as an effective way to be sufficiently active for health. The information obtained will be used to frame an anticipated Surgeon General's call to action on this issue. 

Many data tables here addressing fitness (grip strength, curl ups, back fitness, sit and reach, aerobic fitness and more). During CHMS cycle 2, physical measurements were collected in 18 sites across Canada from 6,395 people representing the Canadian population aged 3 to 79. Collection started in August 2009 and continued until November 2011.

Since last August, East Palo Alto police officers have led exercise activities, from bicycle rides and walking groups to volleyball and Zumba, in two designated "hotspot" neighborhoods with the highest levels of crime. "We wanted to get people out of their homes and into their neighborhoods, to engage them in healthy activities," said East Palo Alto Captain Federico Rocha. "Not only could this positively impact their health, but by getting out, they'd also be taking back their neighborhoods."

Canadian Journal on Aging Vol 32 Iss 01 March 2013, pp 1-12
Among a group of 549 adults in Canada, social participation and time spent walking were analyzed. The people who did not walk outside their homes had more depressive symptoms. There was no significant association with social participation. The authors noted that the “study highlights the central role played by life habits, such as walking, in older adults’ mental health status.”

European Journal of Preventive Cardiology April 10, 2013
doi: 10.1177/2047487313485512
The authors concluded that “the lifelong exposure to especially obesity will increase. As a consequence, more elderly of the future will develop overweight-related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”

JAMA Intern Med. 2013;():1-8.
An intensive and long-term exercise program had beneficial effects on the physical functioning of patients with Alzheimer’s disease without increasing the total costs of health and social services or causing any significant adverse effects.

Geriatrics & Gerontology International Vol 13, Iss 2, pgs 322–328, April 2013
DOI: 10.1111/j.1447-0594.2012.00899.x
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of resistance training in activities of daily living performance in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients…. We observed significant differences between the groups in moving around the house, climbing stairs, standing up from the floor and putting on socks tests.

PLoS ONE 8(3):e59649.
It seems that both enriching mental activity and physical exercise may be very important factors,” said Scientia Professor Perminder S. Sachdev, MD, PhD, who is co-Director of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing, University of New South Wales. “Some people may still go on to develop dementia eventually. It’s a matter of how long they can keep it at bay. For this reason it’s important for people to know that they can improve the quality of their life for some time through exercise and good health care.”

To use the cane for navigation, you or a loved one first programs the route into a piece of software on your computer. The cane then displays arrows on the handle to guide you in the right direction as you walk….. There are various sensors built-in including a step counter that records the number of times the cane is tapped against the ground as you walk. And there's a temperature and humidity sensor….. The heart rate sensor works out how your ticker is doing when you press your thumb over a sensor on the handle.…..

Developed to assist researchers wanting to derive physical activity and sedentary behaviour variables from Actical accelerometer data in a way that is consistent with the Canadian Health Measures Survey.

Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics Available online 10 April 2013
The PAR-Q results were not influenced by low educational status; age, or cognitive state. In conclusion, although the usefulness and easy applicability of the PAR-Q's questions, the responses to the questionnaire led to a high number of false positive and false negative cases, suggesting that it would not be adequate as a pre-participation screening tool in elder samples.

Brisk walking reduced coronary heart disease by 9.3% compared to 4.5% for runners; walking significantly reduced the risk for first-time hypertension by 7.2% compared to 4.2% for runners. Both walking and running reduce the risk of first-time diabetes and high cholesterol.

Read this article from The Conversation about the important role of physical activity in assisting cancer treatments, as well as reducing the risk of developing many cancers.

Does your neighbourhood have easy, equal access or opportunity for most residents to walk and be physically active? If not, there are many ways you can be involved to help make this happen.

Applied Geography Volume 41, July 2013, Pages 1–14
This research uses street connectivity, defined as the number of (3-way or more) intersections per area unit, as a proxy measure for walkability in a neighborhood, and then examines its association with physical inactivity and obesity in the U.S. while controlling for various individual- and county-level socio-demographic variables.

Public Health Available online 12 April 2013
Neighbourhood green space was related to better cardiovascular and mental health in a New Zealand Health Survey, independent of individual risk factors. Although physical activity was higher in greener neighbourhoods, it did not fully explain the green space and health relationship.

This report, describes a one-year study designed to capture the perspectives of girls on what they get from girls’ groups and to compare what they say with known promising practices in sex/gender specific health promotion, as identified by the literature.

doi: 10.1097/GME.0b013e3182844110
Symptom of menopause experienced by women in midlife include difficulty sleeping and night sweats (nocturnal hot flashes). Daytime exercise is recommended to help women sleep….

Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2013, In Press
The notion of presenteeism, defined as a reduced ability to work productively, is a concept of interest in workplace health promotion and incurs far greater costs than those for absenteeism. Presenteeism may be of particular interest to physical activity researchers and program implementers given known links between physical activity and health, and health and presenteeism.

April 12, 2013

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 new UK briefing document from Walking for Health is designed to make the case for walking schemes and highlight the health benefits they can provide, especially to the least active
As one of the large industry partners for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Active Schools initiative, Nike has pledged $50 million dollars to help get the effort off the ground.

Parachute Canada – Traffic Safety PSA’s

Low participation in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, prolonged sitting, and other sedentary behaviours negatively influence human health. Interrupting prolonged periods of inactivity with short bouts of physical activity of 10 minutes or more is one way of meeting daily physical activity recommendations. The aim was to identify publications of organization-based interventions (e.g., school-based, workplace-based or faith-based) which incorporated short, structured physical activity breaks which lasted 20 minutes or less.
This strategy is being launched to coincide with The Lancet publication showing the UK’s relatively poor mortality rates and the Department of Health’s call to action to the health and care system to improve mortality rates across the board. (physical activity is mentioned 15 times)

… will be held in Qu├ębec City, Canada on 9-11 September 2013. The Conference welcomes participants with an interest in population ageing, including policy makers, practitioners from the health social and community service sectors, urban planning and academia.

Calgary 27 – 30 October 3013
Sustainable mobility requires an integrated suite of safe, convenient and accessible travel options, a compact and mixed-use built environment, and a supportive framework of policies and programs. It improves transportation choice, balances supply and demand, limits environmental impacts, creates economic opportunities, and fosters partnerships among government, business and the public.

Adapted PA Quarterly  Volume 30, Issue 2, April pgs 127-146
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of an after school physical activity intervention on adolescents with visual impairments within the context of Social Cognitive Theory.

The survey looks at a number of key health behaviours including nutrition, physical activity, smoking, alcohol, drug use and sexual health. It investigates the patterns of these behaviours across different stages of life including adults, pregnant women and mothers of children under 2, young people aged 11-17 and older people aged 55+.

Prev Chronic Dis 2013;10:120123.
We found no strong evidence that food outlets near homes are associated with dietary intake or BMI. We replicated some associations reported previously but only for areas that are larger than what typically is considered a neighborhood. A likely reason for the null finding is that shopping patterns are weakly related, if at all, to neighborhoods in the United States because of access to motorized transportation.

Canada's senior population is growing. This makes it more important than ever to support the health and well-being of older Canadians. This way, seniors can lead healthy and active lives and stay involved in their communities. Making communities "age-friendly" is believed to be one of the best ways to do this

…. developed to assist communities to start up, implement and evaluate their age-friendly initiative.
The guide and toolbox were developed by the Nova Scotia Centre on Aging, Mount Saint Vincent University and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The notion of successful aging is an attractive one. It speaks to quality of life while aging. Successful agers are people who are more satisfied with life.

BMJ Open 2013;3:
There is a paucity of evidence to support the notion that hosting an Olympic games leads to an increased participation in physical or sporting activities for host countries. We also found little evidence to suggest other health benefits.

Prev Chronic Dis 2013;10:120276
Our findings are consistent with literature showing that boys are more active than girls overall and that no significant variations exist in youth by race/ethnicity (7). Among adults, we found no disparity by sex in MVPA levels overall, but, like other researchers, we found that whites were more likely to be engaged in park MVPA than minorities (8). Our findings suggest that differences in the way users engage in MVPA at parks may be attributable to areas in the park environment, and they have implications for how the design of park settings may help to reinforce or, preferably, mitigate disparities in MVPA among female and minority populations.

The purpose of this (UK) document is to provide physical activity and health professionals, commissioners and policy makers with the key facts to help build an economic argument for the need to decrease levels of physical inactivity within the population. It provides the latest health costs of inactivity, including the economic cost of inactivity

This (UK) document explains the health and social benefits of physical activity. It summarizes evidence that can be used to convince commissioners, policy makers, partners and funding bodies to support physical activity programs. The document offers a one stop shop for research that supports the use of physical activity

Study Highlights: Physically active healthcare providers are significantly more likely to advise their patients to be active and improving physical activity among healthcare providers could help change behaviors among the general population.

The main physical activity statistics in this report are taken from the most recent Health Survey for England (2008). Other sources of physical activity information include the latest Taking Part Survey (2012), National Travel Survey (2011), Active People Survey (2012), PE and Sport Survey (2010) and other health and fitness surveys.

From Smart Growth America…. examines all the Complete Streets policies passed in the last year and highlights some of the best. The analysis also revealed that the Complete Streets movement grew in 2012, continuing a national trend since 2005

This article is based on the findings of a study tour conducted late in the summer of 2012. It discusses a number of innovations in community planning and development in Germany and Scandinavia, identifies some of the underlying principles for the success of these innovations, and shows that communities can be planned, designed, developed and managed so that they can be made increasingly more livable.

Sidewalks are our neighborhood's breadwinner, bringing vitality, safety, and economy….The sidewalk is often overlooked. Before they were installed in cities, they were simply the areas not defined by ruts in the road.

How does a neighbourhood that is intersected by a number of arterial roads tie itself together to create a livable, walkable community? Are arterials just a necessary evil that have to be tolerated, as is, or are there adaptations that can allow for real communities to flourish along them?
While employers generally had a holistic view of health, their understanding of workplace health promotion was limited, with few mentioning the importance of a health promoting work environment or the role of workplace policies in promoting health.

Modern life is unrelentingly busy and studies of Canadian social trends show that the time crunch is, in fact, getting worse. More of us are spending increasingly longer hours on the job, and more time commuting to and from work. If adults are spending more time at work, then one logical solution to the inactivity crisis is to fit short bouts of physical activity into our daily workplace routine. But can that really work?