January 24, 2014

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 traffic has worsened in the fast-growing region, Austin, Texas, has spent several decades trying build its way out of it with more roadways. Reports NPR, even an 85 mph tollway had no impact on rush hour gridlock. Facing a doubling of its population over the next 25 years, the city is seeing that the answer is giving Austinites the choice to make fewer, and shorter, trips by car and more trips by walking, bicycling, and taking transit….

A large swath of the country is still digging out from the most recent round of winter snow storms, deploying plows, snow blowers, shovels, sand, salt and even cheese to keep people moving. Many of these strategies focus on keeping roads clear for drivers. What about for people who walk, bicycle or rely on transit?

Of $2.4 billion in capital spending annually, the bill dedicates up to $144 million to a competitive multimodal fund available for bicycle and pedestrian facilities, $495 million to transit, and $1.65 billion to roads, bridges and highways. The bill also makes it easier to use state funds for pedestrian safety and streetscaping projects

Requires (USA) federally funded transportation projects to accommodate all road users and gives states and metro regions two years to write their own Complete Streets policies. “To ensure the safety of all users of the transportation system, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, children, older individuals, and individuals with disabilities, as they travel on and across federally funded streets and highways.”

The impending bankruptcy of Montreal-based bike-sharing company Bixi has one Vancouver city councilor questioning the City of Vancouver's plans for a multi-million-dollar bike-sharing program.

Volume 54, Issue 2, Supplement, Pages A1-A26, S1-S94 (February 2014)
There are a number of articles in this special supplement that involve physical activity.  The link takes you to the table of contents.

Am J of Preventive Medicine Vol 46, Iss 2, Feb 2014, Pgs 136–142
Although children’s use of neighborhood parks was generally low, it increased substantially when parks were closer to children’s homes and had greater vegetation density.

Pediatrics; originally published online January 13, 2014
DOI: 10.1542/peds.2013-2383
These findings provide evidence of the effectiveness of Comprehensive School Health to affect children’s physical activity during and outside of school. Results of this study justify broader implementation of effective CSH interventions for physical activity promotion and obesity prevention in the long term.

Preventive Medicine, Available online 16 January 2014
We conducted a systematic search in fourteen databases until September 2012 for randomised controlled trials on PA and NE, conducted in the school setting, and delivered to children and adolescents. Additionally, we performed a cross-reference check in related papers. The title and abstract review and the quality assessment were performed by two independent researchers.

The 60 Minute Kids' Club offers three challenges throughout the year! The 60 Minute Kids' Club is a fun and engaging program designed to get children in Kindergarten to Grade 6 excited about making the right healthy choices. It also supports meeting federal guidelines for 60 minutes of daily physical activity, and provides a common platform for tracking your DPA.

The National Recreation and Park Association has provided five communities across America with grants applicable for “park prescriptions”, as outlined in the National Recreation and Park Association report. The initiative is geared towards integrating healthcare communities and public lands in order to encourage the development of healthier & happier people……

The Football Fans in Training (FFIT) project, funded by the NIHR Public Health Research Program, was a free, 12-week scheme run at Scottish Professional Football League clubs. It was one of the world’s first trials on a health program being delivered through professional sports clubs.

This Feb 5th, 2014 CHNET-WORKS! Fireside Chat will provide a brief overview of the association between nutritional status and falls, with a specific focus on dehydration.

Am J of Preventive Medicine Vol 46, Iss 2, Feb 2014, Pgs 195–207
The second phase of Active Living Research (ALR-2, 2007–2012) focused on advancing the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)’s goal of reversing the childhood obesity epidemic. The mission was to stimulate and support research to identify environmental factors and policies that influence physical activity for children and families to inform effective childhood obesity prevention strategies, with an emphasis on the lower-income and racial/ethnic communities with highest childhood obesity prevalence. The present report describes ALR activities undertaken to accomplish three goals.

Am J of Preventive Medicine Vol 46, Iss 2, Feb 2014, Pgs 208–215
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Active Living Research (ALR) program commissioned an evaluation of its initiative to assess 10 years (2001–2011) of progress in establishing a new interdisciplinary field to develop and translate research focused on policy and environmental factors affecting physical activity in children and families.

Am J of Preventive Medicine Vol 46, Iss 2, Feb 2014, Pgs 122–135
There was a linear relationship between greater amounts of sedentary time and mortality risk after controlling for multiple potential confounders.

The Active Pregnancy resource encourages physical activity during pregnancy and provides guidelines to ensure pregnant women are exercising safely.  The resource provides information on stretching, aerobic conditioning, and muscle conditioning, in addition to providing sample exercises for posture and the upper and lower body.

January 17, 2014

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

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.

Bicycling's recent rise to the spotlight isn't just a passing fad, argues writer and bike activist Elly Blue. Instead, she says, growing numbers of people are beginning to recognize the tangible benefits - to themselves and to their cities - of trading in cars for self-powered transportation. And the research is backing up their experiences. Blue's new book, "Bikenomics", draws on a growing body of academic work, along with her own involvement with the country's bicycle movement, to make the economic case for bicycles.

The Bicycle Program Yearbook is a new tool to help measure, track and report progress on The City’s effort to improve conditions for cycling.  The City of Calgary is one of only a few cities world-wide to have published this type of document, also known as a Bicycle Account. Bicycle Accounts are a recommended practice of the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Community Program.

For a long time, public streets were places for walking, biking and playing. With nothing moving faster than 10 miles an hour, streets moved at people pace. Responsible parents would tell their kids to go play in the streets. Then, we went car-crazy......  To celebrate the success of Open Streets we’ve teamed up with Streetfilms to create a video charting The Rise of Open Streets.

See this page for an extensive list of links to FHWA research and resources.

Good walking is good business

Includes an extensive list of links to walking-related articles and studies.

Brochure provides data and statistics on the benefits of walking for your health...

This white paper provides collected best practices on winter bikeway maintenance as seen in US cities and around  the world. The paper covers snow removal from bikeways, different types of de-icing surface applications and their advantages/disadvantages, and best practices for winter maintenance prioritization and scheduling. The paper also includes a brief discussion on innovative winter maintenance techniques either in use or in development.

Hamilton played host to the Association for Commuter Transportation’s annual Sustainable
Transportation Summit in Fall 2012.  The theme was “Achieving the Balance”, which highlights the challenge communities face in maintaining quality of life of their citizens. The four-day summit included over 60 presentations on 22 different themes including health, policy success, social media, the built environment, university results and urban freight.

The Canadian Health Measures Survey uses accelerometry to collect physical activity and sedentary behaviour data. Between cycles 2 and 3, a transition was made from 60-second to 15-second epochs in accelerometry data for children aged 3 to 5. This study examines the impact of epoch length on physical activity and sedentary behaviour outcomes for children in this age range.

The New York Academy of Medicine argues that active recess, involving either free play or organized activities, should be mandatory in elementary school and has published a guide providing tools to implement such a policy. The guide describes the steps to be followed in planning and implementing active recess policies, an effort which involves teachers, parent and community organizations and local elected officials.

Focusing on clear and accessible pathways and transit stops for people with disabilities, a booklet from Easter Seals Project

Leaders Tool Kit for Healthy Living Workshops for Older Adults: an evidence based six-week workshop template for community educators and leaders.  The Tool Kit uses Your Personal Passport to Healthy Living, published by ALCOA in 2012, as the resource for the participants.

Journal of Environmental Psychology Available online 10 Jan 2014, In Press,
DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2013.12.012
·         First study using photographs to study environment-physical activity relationships.
·         We assessed first impressions (choice task) and deliberate evaluations (rating task).
·         Few differences observed between choice and rating task to assess invitingness.
·         Vegetation, benches, and surveillance afford walking for transportation.
·         Few moderating effects by individual factors were observed.

Safe Streets for Seniors is a pedestrian safety initiative for older New Yorkers.
DOT is evaluating pedestrian conditions in these neighborhoods from a senior's perspective and plans to make changes, such as extending pedestrian crossing times at crosswalks to accommodate slower walking speeds, constructing pedestrian safety islands, widening curbs and medians, narrowing roadways, and installing new stop controls and signals. Download a presentation about the program.

Preventive Medicine Available online 9 Jan 2014 In Press, Uncorrected Proof
·         Participant school districts (> 50%) were willing to share school grounds/facilities.
·         Shared-use agreements varied in type and programmatic scope.
·         Agreements were tailored to address school concerns, including liability and costs.
·         Child and adult-oriented programming may increase community usage of shared space.

Prev Chronic Dis 2013;10:130110.
In community partnerships aimed at increasing physical activity among young people, the perspectives of project coordinators are vital to identifying the characteristics of strong, moderate, and weak partnerships. These perspectives will be useful for future community program development and will influence potential health outcomes.

January 10, 2014

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

|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.

Researchers have discovered a “wonder drug” for many of today’s most common medical problems, says Dr. Bob Sallis….. “The drug is called walking,” Sallis announced. “Its generic name is physical activity.” Recommended dosage is 30 minutes a day, five days a week, but children should double that to 60 minutes a day, seven days a week. Side effects may include weight loss, improved mood, improved sleep and bowel habits, stronger muscles and bones as well as looking and feeling better. 

The paper provides strong evidence that:
Neighborhood walkability impacts the amount of time people walk.
Those who live in a more walkable neighborhood, where the infrastructure is pedestrian-friendly, walk more than those who live in a neighborhood less conducive for walking.
People will take advantage of pedestrian-friendly environments and walk more – whatever their original predispositions were towards walking.

Health & Place Volume 25, Jan 2014, Pages 43–46
This study explored variation in the association between walkability and walking across life stages, and by neighborhood buffer.
There were few differences in strength of associations across 200 m, 400 m, 800 m, and 1600 m for all adult life stages.
The results suggest that neighborhood walkability supports more walking regardless of adult life stage and is relevant at smaller and larger neighborhood buffers.

This briefing paper addresses the issue of creating environments where people are more likely to walk or cycle for short journeys.

Last month, the New York City Department of Transportation released a brief-but-handy guide that uses before-and-after design renderings to illustrate five basic rules for street safety:

1. Make the street easy to use... reduce the complexity of a given intersection in the eyes of all travelers...
2. Create safety in numbers... more pedestrians and bike riders actually make streets less dangerous…………………………….

The Maricopa Association of Governments (Phoenix's MPO) has a new Designing Transit Accessible Communities Toolkit that focuses on improving transit accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists.

BMJ Open 2013;3:e002482.
The LCBEH project will enable investigation of variations in associations between the built environment, health behaviours and objectively measured health outcomes within and across different life stages for a large study population. It has the potential to explain apparently inconsistent findings evident in the literature in studies of people of different age groups. Comparisons across various age groups are required to build an evidence base for designing healthy neighbourhoods that cater for children through to older adults.

Health & Place Available online 4 Jan 2014 In Press
Repeated cross-sectional studies support a causal relationship of environment with PA.
Favorable environmental factors in 2006 were positively related to PA in 2009.
Changes in environmental factors between 2006 and 2009 led to increased PA in 2009.
Future research should include objective assessment of changes in area factors.

Health & Place Available online 21 Dec 2013In Press
After controlling for observed confounding influences, both original and new compactness measures are negatively related to BMI, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Indices are not significantly related to physical activity, perhaps because physical activity is not defined broadly to include active travel to work, shopping, and other destinations.                                          

Health & Place Volume 25, Jan 2014, Pages 1–9
Built environment has been associated with dietary behaviour and physical activity.
Free geospatial services (Google earth/ Google street view) offer possibilities to assess the built environment.
Our systematic review identified thirteen articles on the topic.
A majority of studies assessed feasibility of virtual audit with free geospatial tools.
Virtual audit offers a reliable method to assess objectively verifiable aspects of the built environment.

There's growing concern that the communities we've built-full of highways, where few people walk, where whole neighborhoods lack food access-may be pushing us towards obesity, heart disease, and asthma. By this thinking, good architecture and urban planning could encourage us to walk more. It could mitigate pollution. It could illuminate the targeted need for amenities like parks and bike lanes in neighborhoods with the worst health outcomes.

Full report referred to in article above.

The resources included in this report offer a broad range of examples of early years programming across the country. Also included are websites, blogs and other online resources that can assist the recreation practitioner in providing quality programming for those in the 0 to 5 age range.

Social Science & Medicine Available online 18 Dec 2013 In Press
DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.12.013
Youth physical activity is associated with several neighborhood features.
Cul-de-sac density and low speed limit streets are associated with girls’ physical activity.
Boys’ physical activity is associated with more wide ranging features.
Larger buffers best explain neighbourhood environment –activity relationships.
The resources included in this report offer a broad range of examples of active aging programming across the country. Also included are websites, blogs and other online resources that can assist the recreation practitioner in providing quality programming for those in the 50+ age range. 

Health Evidence gave this a Review Quality Rating of 8 (strong) 
Public Health Vol 128, Iss 1, Jan 2014, Pages 110–113
…  the objectives of this cross-sectional study were to: (1) determine the sources and types of PA-related information older adult males receive or obtain; and (2) examine if particular PA information sources are associated with meeting current PA public health guidelines among older adult males.

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehab Available online 1 Jan 2014 In Press
DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2013.12.016
This study provides some evidence that tailored counselling alone or with tailored supervised exercise improves long-term PA participation and functional exercise capacity after stroke better than tailored supervised exercise with general advice only. Interventions to improve participation in physical activity should incorporate PA specific tailored counselling based on sound behavioural theory to promote long-term participation in PA.

This is a social experiment to get you and the rest of the world to think about why they move - essentially why you are physically active. It is mindful physical activity at its best!.... So, click on the submit your inspiration page and tell me one reason why you move. Be specific and concise. Submit more than one if you'd like! And I'll post it on this website.

CAAWS publishes its Most Influential Women List annually to celebrate and highlight Canadian leaders who influenced sport and physical activity in Canada and on the international stage.