September 30, 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 innovative e-learning resource incorporates culturally relevant messages based on the guidelines, for use by First Nations, Inuit and Métis recreation and health workers. To access the interactive e-learning course, community of learning, and resource database, you’ll need to sign up for an account on their Community Pages. 

Every September, about 140,000 Danish school children jump in the saddle during the national Bike to School campaign which has been running annually since 2002. The organizers asked COWI to do an independent evaluation of the last three years’ Bike to School campaigns, and we now have the results. 

Health & Place Available online 18 Sept 2013 In Press

·         We found parent fears associated with children’s independent travel were constructed through complex individual, social and environmental relations.

·         Parents continually negotiated between a desire to allow children independence and the need to limit risk.

·         There was a clear understanding of wider cultural influences on parent constructions of fear.

·         Cultural influences were balanced with personal experience, child attributes and personalities in forming constructions of fear.

·         The presence of others, supportive environmental conditions and a focus on positive outcomes may alleviate somewhat parental fear. 

Children and young people need an environment that is safe and supportive, where they are encouraged to be the best they can be and can enjoy what they are doing….. Parents, coaches and instructors have a major influence on the nature and quality of the environment where children and young people participate. They can significantly influence the decisions children and young people make, including the choice to keep participating or to give up. 

Physical activity is very important during the early stages of a child’s life, and there are many psychosocial benefits of families participating together; research suggests that the behavior of fathers is particularly important in the development of childhood obesity…….. The aim of the 12 month intervention and evaluation based research project was to explore the impact of a six session physical activity intervention on fathers’/male carers’ engagement with their preschool children. 

Evaluation and Program Planning Available online 18 Sept 2013
The purpose was to evaluate the reach, dose, and fidelity of Guys Only Activity for Life (G.O.A.L.), a 7-week pilot intervention conducted from February to March 2011 to increase 6th and 7th grade boys’ moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). 

January 31, 2014 at the Hilton Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada, directly following the Canadian Sport for Life National Summit!  

Journal of the Neurological Sciences Vol 333, Suppl 1, 15 Oct 2013
Moderate aerobic physical activity showed benefit in stabilizing the cognitive status in patients with dementia. 

Am J Prev Med 2013;45(4):501–507
mHealth technologies are increasingly being employed to assess and intervene on PA in clinical, epidemiologic, and intervention research. The wide variations in technologies used and outcomes measured limit comparability across studies, and hamper identification of the most promising technologies. Further, the pace of technologic advancement currently outstrips that of scientific inquiry. New adaptive, sequential research designs that take advantage of ongoing technology development are needed. 

Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport Available online 18 September 2013
The results support the hypothesis of familial aggregation in PA. Further, fathers and mothers had a similar influence on their offspring’s PA levels irrespective of their sex, and equal sibling correlations point towards shared PA habits.

The Physical Activity Exchange conducts applied research focused on physical activity, sedentary behavior, fitness and health in laboratory and various real world settings. We strive to use the best available science to conduct intervention, observational, and evaluation research with populations ranging from pre-school children through to older adults. 

Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.

The Canadian Best Practices Portal is back online! After a short hiatus to meet Treasury Board's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, we're now bigger, better and fully accessible!

The site consolidates multiple sources of trusted and credible information in one place, making it a one-stop shop for busy health professionals and decision-makers. The Portal also contains an extensive, curated database of 339 chronic disease prevention and health promotion best practice interventions,
This approach (integrating the Theory of Planned Behavior into the Public Sector Scorecard) provides the missing link between outputs and outcomes for behavior change as it provides a pathway to understand how change might or indeed does occur. 

A very good design manual with interactive features and case studies (from the USA) 

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol 45, Iss 4, Oct 2013, Pgs 386–392
Living in a smart growth community may increase local physical activity in children as compared to residence in conventionally designed communities.

September 23, 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 video compares a city to a human circulatory system 

From Liveable Ottawa this advocacy video presents economic rationale for active transportation 

The Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System is intended to provide practitioners with the latest information available for improving the safety and mobility of those who walk. The online tools provide the user with a list of possible engineering, education, or enforcement treatments to improve pedestrian safety and/or mobility based on user input about a specific location. 

Preventive Medicine, Available online 13 September 2013


·         We examined the impact of 3 motivational strategies on physical activity during PE.

·         This cluster randomized trial involved 288 students (mean age 13.6 years).

·         Promoting choice can increase activity and decrease sedentary behavior in PE. 

Am J Prev Med 2013;45(4):386-392
Researchers compared physical activity of children in a neighborhood designed to be more compact and walkable and those in more conventionally designed communities. Children in the smart growth neighborhood got 46 percent more exercise – or 10 extra minutes – than those in the conventional neighborhoods.

Journal of Pediatrics Published online Sept 16th
doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-1488
Across the quadrennial surveys, significant increases were identified in number of days with at least 60 minutes of PA, daily consumption of fruits and vegetables, eating breakfast on weekdays and weekends, and BMI. Television viewing and consumption of sweets and sweetened beverages decreased across this same period. These same patterns were seen in all racial/ethnic groups.   

Preventive Medicine Available online 6 September 2013 In Press
(This study assessed) the impact of a 3 year (2006–2009) community-based intervention for obesity and chronic disease prevention in four diverse “Healthy Alberta Communities” (HAC).
(Nykiforuk, Plotnikoff, Raine – authors)

Encouraging older adults to become and stay active has developed into an important public health priority. While the physical and emotional benefits of exercise are increasingly well known, just 40 percent of older adults are engaged in regular leisure-time physical activity. 

Helping the community of Airdrie live an active lifestyle.  “To increase and sustain a physically active Airdrie by encouraging and promoting activities that support a healthy lifestyle” 

This review from the University of Canberra makes ten recommendations for any future Australian program for promoting physical literacy. 

From the creator of 23 and ½ Hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health Dr. Evans reviews some of the science around how our typical days have shifted and our health impacted with technology and culture. It is also a call to action about how to "Tweak your Week." 

·         Distance: how far can you walk in 20 minutes?

·         Destinations: is everything you need on a daily basis within that distance?

·         Density: are there enough people in the area to support the businesses and facilities you need for daily needs? 

The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) is the leading organization promoting walkable, mixed-use neighborhood development, sustainable communities and healthier living conditions. 

CNU’s street design manual was created in partnership with the Institute of Transportation Engineers. This recommended practice is being used by planners, city leaders, engineers and advocates to create walkable streets that are safe and inviting for all users. 

Metro planners are looking at how people use the system's park-and-ride lots. While they help people at the region's edges access transit, many commuters in closer-in areas drive very short distances to Metro stations because good pedestrian and bike connections don't exist.

September 16, 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.

A Health Evidence Review gave this research a Review Quality Rating of 7 (moderate).

The report includes a look at the health benefits of cycling.

The province will play a leadership role in striving to achieve our cycling vision, but we are asking municipalities, the public, road users, businesses and non-governmental organizations to partner with us to create a more cycling-friendly future for Ontario.

This slide show documents the boom in cycling in both European and North American cities. It shows that cycling can thrive even in cities with no history or culture of daily, utilitarian cycling, but only if government policies provide safe, convenient, and pleasant cycling conditions

“…it is hard to dispute the fact that bicycling is good for you -- it’s good for your health, and easy on your pocketbook. It is also getting harder and harder to dispute the fact that bicycling is good for the community at large. The economics of bicycling tell us a few key things: bicycles are cheaper to own than cars, bicyclists tend to spend more money in their local communities, property values rise with increased bicycling infrastructure, and more bicycling leads to more health savings…”

This analysis indicates that many active transport benefits tend to be overlooked or undervalued in conventional transport economic evaluation….. It discusses active transport demands and ways to increase walking and cycling activity.

The Planning Checklists for Cycling and Practice Note can be used to help build healthy new suburbs where everyone can ride their bikes as part of their everyday life, developed as part of the 3 year Healthy New Suburbs in Urban Growth Zones VicHealth funded project.

Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2013 Aug;25(3):337-46. Epub 2013 Jul 12
There were no differences in weekend steps or screen time. Being driven to and from school is associated with less weekday pedometer-determined physical activity in 9- to 13-year-old elementary-school children. Encouraging children, especially girls, to walk to and from school (even for part of the way for those living further distances) could protect the health and well-being of those children who are insufficiently active.

Chapter 4 is dedicated to PE and PA. SHPPS is the largest and most comprehensive survey to assess (American) school health policies.

To see the full list of conference sessions go to  (a link near the top of the page also offers a pdf of the full conference program). For a list of conference presentations go to

This award-winning program demonstrates an integrated approach to school travel planning at 30 elementary schools to support the use of active and sustainable transportation modes. Learn about the partnerships, policies and other tools and approaches that led to the success and sustainability of the project, with a focus on  roll-out and sustainability in Hamilton, Ontario.
(This webinar video-recording is now publicly accessible at no charge.)

Alberta Blue Cross has launched a Healthy Communities grant program. “Four $50,000 grants will be awarded each year to support community amenities and facilities that promote active living.”  Deadline September 30th.

Annual Review of Public Health 2013. 34:22.1–22.17
doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031912-114502
Conventional planning tends to consider some public health impacts, such as crash risk and  pollution emissions measured per vehicle-kilometer, but generally ignores health problems resulting from less active transport (reduced walking and cycling activity)……..

Preventive Medicine Available online 30 August 2013 In Press
•We investigate association between green space, mental health and physical activity.
•We focused upon adults in middle-to-older age in Australia.
•Psychological distress was less common among adults in greener areas.
•Physically inactive adults did not appear to benefit from more green space.
•Mental health benefits of green space for older adults depend on active lifestyles.

If you don’t like this commercial, you don’t like anything.

American Journal of Health Behavior, Volume 37, Number 6, November 2013, pp. 841-850(10)
The application of our calibration equations to self-reported data produced closer estimates to actual rates of overweight and obesity. We advocate the use of our correction equation whenever dealing with self-reported height and weight from telephone surveys to avoid potential distortions in estimating obesity prevalence. (Nykiforuk, Plotnikoff, Raine – authors)

A Health Evidence Review gave this research a Review Quality Rating of 8 (strong).

Language can be a barrier to health behavior change, as can recommendations that do not fit into an ethnic culture. One advantage of technology is the ability to synchronize culturally-sensitive images and content with sound tracks in different languages.

Arthritis Care & Research, accepted article
Using data from the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project study's first (1999-2004) and second follow-up (2005-2010), we tested the association between meeting physical activity guidelines and incident knee outcomes among 1522 adults aged ≥45 years…. Over six years, people who engaged in moderate physical activity up to 150 minutes/week (equivalent to two and a half hours a week) did not increase their risk of developing knee osteoarthritis.

Many of us struggle to be physically active on a regular basis. Exercise—particularly starting an exercise program—challenges people to change their behavior, and that’s hard. More than half the attempts to begin exercise programs lapse within a few months.

Health & Place Volume 23, September 2013, Pages 18–25

•The 30 min of physical activity can be achieved by walking to and from transit.
•Daily walking distance varied by individual characteristics and mode of transit.
•Daily walking distance to public transit was influenced by mode of transportation.
•Suburban train users walked the highest number of minutes to and from stations.
•Neighbourhood physical characteristics did not affect walking to public transit

The Grande Prairie Get Active Network (GPGAN) has launched a new website to help the community stay happy and healthy.  The project connects residents to information on clubs, sports teams, recreation, fitness and more.

British Journal of Sport Medicine Published Online First 23 July 2013
This review offers insightful lessons that may assist policymakers, practitioners and communities seeking to mobilize political commitment and leadership for physical activity in their own countries.

Haliburton Communities in Action is a rare, well-documented model for promoting walking and cycling in a small or rural community. It illustrates how infrastructure and policy changes can be important elements of the social marketing mix, in this case to remove key barriers to walking and cycling. (This webinar video-recording is now publicly accessible at no charge.)

The Journal of Emergency Medicine Vol 45, Iss 3, Sept 2013, Pages 481
This study demonstrated that low physical activity and increased sitting time increases cardiovascular disease risk both independently and jointly.

Participants have to sign a user agreement/waiver, and take a one-hour bike skills and maintenance course. About 10 percent of the department’s 300 employees have already taken advantage of the program, which was launched in 2012.