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.

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