October 28, 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. 

The National Complete Streets Coalition had a whirlwind week at the first-ever National Walking Summit in Washington, DC. More than 300 participants came together to discuss ways to support walking through policy, design, advocacy, funding, organizing and engagement in communities large and small. 

PLoS ONE 8(8): e69912.
Active travel may have positive effects on health outcomes, but there is little robust evidence to date of the effectiveness of active transport interventions for reducing obesity. Future evaluations of such interventions should include an assessment of their impacts on obesity and other health outcomes. 

In the 2010-2011 CFLRI Physical Activity Monitor, Canadian parents were asked to report on whether their child had access to supervised programs after school. Parents were also asked to specify how many days their child attends an after school program, where it is offered and its primary purpose. 

The 2010-2011 CFLRI Physical Activity Monitor asked parents about the availability of programs and places in their local community their child can be active. 

Research suggests that physical activity improves physical condition, and it reduces maladaptive behaviour in individuals with ASD. Sowa and Meulenbroek conducted a meta-analysis to explore the effects of physical exercise on ASD.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a range of neurodevelopmental disorders that include autism, Asperger syndrome, Rett’s disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder– Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). Initial studies have shown that physical activity can improve behaviour (reduced aggression, increased endurance, and / or strength, and increased time engaged in self-stimulatory behaviour) and is recognized as one of the potential therapies that can improve some symptoms of ASD.

Health & Place Vol 24, Nov 2013, Pages 203–209

Compared with neighborhood environment factors, the family environment was more frequently associated with children's MVPA. Parental MVPA was positively associated with children's MVPA, but only among children whose parents reported a high presence of sporting venues. Having more restrictive physical activity rules was negatively associated with children's weekday MVPA in neighborhoods with high perceived stranger danger.

The 2010-2011 CFLRI Physical Activity Monitor looks at parental involvement in children’s physical activity and sport. Questions on the survey asked parents about the amount of time that they spend playing active games with their child and transporting their children to their physical activities or sports. 

In this webinar, Dr. Maureen Dobbins, Scientific Director of Health Evidence, will present the key messages and implications for practice from the following Cochrane Review: School-based physical activity programs for promoting physical activity and fitness in children and adolescents aged 6 to 18. For those who are not able to attend at this scheduled time, a recording of the presentation will be available on our website ( following the webinar. 

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol 45, Iss 5, Nov 2013, Pgs 649–657

From a population health perspective, promoting PA may serve as a valuable mental health promotion strategy in reducing the risk of developing depression. 

Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases Available online 11 Oct 2013 In Press

Overall, aerobic ET programs consistent with public health recommendations may promote up to modest weight loss (~ 2 kg), however the weight loss on an individual level is highly heterogeneous. Clinicians should educate their patients on reasonable expectations of weight loss based on their physical activity program and emphasize that numerous health benefits occur from PA programs in the absence of weight loss. 

Many of us struggle to be physically active on a regular basis. One approach to this problem is to structure exercise right into our lifestyle. When we think about exercise as an integrated part of daily life, it stops being an add-on. Instead, it complements what we do every day.  This SilverTimes article highlights hamstring curls and partial squats. 

Psychology of Sport and Exercise Available online 10 Oct 2013 In Press
doi: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2013.09.011

*We review literature on sport and physical activity in combat veterans.
*Sport and physical activity impacts the subjective and psychological well-being of combat veterans.
*We critically discuss the use of sport and physical activity to promote well-being in veterans.
*Suggestions are offered for future research in this area.

Studies have shown that sedentary older adults who engage in regular aerobic exercise can improve their scores on cognitive function tests by 15 to 20 per cent. There is also evidence that exercise can actually stimulate growth in the brain.”  Read more about Exercise and the Aging Brain in Let’s Talk About Aging, a report released by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health earlier this year. 

A short video excerpt from Winnipeg Shaw TV.   Kathryn Njegovan has lived with an MS diagnosis for 13 years, and it wasn't until this last year that she felt her health actually progressing... despite her MS also progressing. She attributes the change in direction to Candace Swick, an Older Adult Rehab Therapist. 

Journal of Aging Studies Vol 27, Iss 4, Decr 2013, Pages 398–409

* Resourcefulness, social, built and natural environments enable physical activity.
*Positive self-perceptions of aging facilitate preventive health behaviors.
*Local community centers supports physical activity and social connections.
*Accessible built environments support walking and promote social interactions. 

Physical Activity is a component of the new is an initiative of the NSW Government which focuses on kilojoules. 

Perceived barriers to sport can influence an individual’s decision to participate in sport or not. The 2011-2012 CFLRI Sport Monitor explores the barriers perceived by those who do not participate in sport. For the purposes of this bulletin, these barriers are divided into three categories: time or financial barriers; personal barriers; and, barriers related to the social or physical environment. 

Psychology of Sport and Exercise Available online 17 October 2013
Influences on four levels provided evidence for the complexity of PF and health (outcome level). Initial behaviors predicted current PF and health status, as well as their course. Thus, preventive measures should ensure that healthy behaviors are adopted early in adulthood. 

Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases Available online 11 Oct 2013 In Press
Compared to normal weight-fit individuals, unfit individuals had twice the risk of mortality regardless of BMI. Overweight and obese-fit individuals had similar mortality risks as normal weight-fit individuals. Furthermore, the obesity paradox may not influence fit individuals. Researchers, clinicians, and public health officials should focus on physical activity and fitness-based interventions rather than weight-loss driven approaches to reduce mortality risk. 

Brought to you by McGill University’s Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health. Like the Prize, which rewards groundbreaking research and discovery that encourages healthy living, we are here to bring you the latest news about innovative practices and ideas from around the world that we hope will inspire and empower you to lead a more active, healthier life. 

American Journal of Preventive Medicine Vol 45, Iss 5, Nov 2013, Pgs 590–597
An RCT intervention from October 2007 to April 2012 was used, with partial blinding of observers to the condition. All data were analyzed in 2012….. Providing park directors and PABs with training on outreach and marketing, feedback on park users, and modest funds increased the amount of physical activity observed in parks. 

In the 2011-2012 CFLRI Sport Monitor, Canadians were asked about their perceptions of short- and long-term outcomes as they relate to participation in sport. In particular, the survey asks about their views on the possible beneficial and harmful aspects of participation in sport. 

To understand the core processes and benchmarks that can transform cities into superior places to live and work, McKinsey developed and analyzed a comprehensive database of urban economic, social, and environmental performance indicators. The research included interviewing 30 mayors and other leaders in city governments on four continents and synthesizing the findings from more than 80 case studies that sought to understand what city leaders did to improve processes and services from urban planning to financial management and social housing. Smart Growth is identified as a key component. 

Landscape and Urban Planning Vol 121, Jan 2014, Pages 34–44

*Uses participatory GIS methods to measure physical activities and benefits of urban parks.
*Examines relationship between park activities and benefits with park type, size, and location.
*Park type and size are significantly related to the type and amount of physical activities and community benefits received from urban parks.
*Participatory GIS research methods have limitations but appear useful for examining spatial relationships to inform urban parks planning.

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