Issue 13, July 2012

Issue 13, July 2012

Active Living Research News

Save the Date

2013 Annual Active Living Research Conference

Our 2013 conference will be held February 26 to 28 in San Diego, Calif. The conference theme, “Achieving Change Across Sectors: Integrating Research, Policy and Practice,” will recognize the importance of engaging people from multiple disciplines and occupations to increase physical activity for everyone and reverse the obesity epidemic.  Look out for the Call for Abstracts, to be released on July 23—less than two weeks away—with a submission deadline of August 31.

For the first time, the agenda will be organized into two tracks – research and practice.  The goal of developing two tracks is to encourage a broader audience to attend the conference and provide more opportunities for exchange on how to use evidence to increase physical activity in many different settings.

Move! A Blog About Active Living

Highlights from ALR 2012

Check out our blog post on memorable moments from last year’s conference. Highlights include a lively keynote address by Shavon Arline-Bradley from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) about health disparities, and recognition of Clark County Public Health, winners of the fifth annual Translating Research to Policy Award, for their use of a Health Impact Assessment to evaluate and suggest improvements to a proposed county Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.

Does Physical Activity Help African-American Girls Prevent Weight Gain?

A recent study found that physical activity might not help prevent obesity equally among girls from all racial and ethnic groups. In particular, the study found that it was less helpful for African-American girls than for White girls. In a blog post, Dr. Sallis emphasized the importance of encouraging physical activity for all girls, and cautioned against making premature conclusions about the effectiveness of physical activity based on a single study.

Infographic Illustrates Importance of Community Design

Our latest infographic shows that the design of communities can help families be physically active. It illustrates how communities with parks, well-maintained sidewalks, and nice scenery, among other things, encourage walking, biking, and other healthy activities.

ALR Resources

New Fact Sheets

Our most recent fact sheets are Do All Children Have Places to be Active?, which addresses environmental disparities among children at highest risk for obesity, and Supporting Physical Activity Outside of School Time, which highlights research on programs and policies that can get children moving before and after school. 

Webinar on After-School Programs

Join us for a webinar, Increasing Physical Activity in After-School Programs, on August 8 at 10:30-12:00 PT. After-school programs have the potential to help children accumulate up to 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day, which would satisfy half of the national recommendation for daily physical activity.  This free webinar will provide recommendations for how programs and policies can better support physical activity in after-school settings and provide examples from national and local efforts.

Grantee Publications

Health Has Always Shaped Our Cities

Building American Public Health: Urban Planning, Architecture, and the Quest for Better Public Health in the United States, a new book by Russell Lopez, tells the history of using the built environment to protect and promote health from the 19th to the 21st centuries. The book demonstrates that the built environment in the US was predominantly shaped by the dominant health threats of the past and our attempts to mitigate their impacts.

Impact of Physical Education (PE) Policies in Mississippi and Tennessee

John Amis examined efforts in Mississippi and Tennessee—states with some of the highest childhood obesity rates in the country—to develop and implement legislation designed to improve the quality of PE in high school and increase overall levels of physical activity at school. In a study of eight high schools, Amis found that seven of the schools did not increase the quantity or quality of PE over the three years of the study. One school initially avoided implementation, but embraced the new policy once the Principal realized its importance.  Key barriers preventing state physical education policies from being implemented effectively included: a value system that prioritizes performances in standardized academic tests; a varsity sport system that negatively influences opportunities for PE; limited resources; and the overloading of school administrators with new policies.  The authors concluded that to be effective, obesity-related policies must be tied to mainstream educational initiatives that both incentivize those responsible for their implementation and hold them accountable. See Dr. Amis’ blog about his study.

Small Businesses Can Help Kids Be More Active

Small business can help promote children’s physical activity. A study by Richard Suminski explored reasons why some small businesses support youth physical activity opportunities (YPAO), such as free structured or leisure-time activities like dance, martial arts, sports leagues, parks, playgrounds and school programs. The project looked at businesses in eight urban neighborhoods in Kansas City, Mo. Interviews revealed that the main reason a business agreed to support a YPAO was simply because it was asked to. Other factors included having larger annual operating and advertising budgets, and having owners who were younger, had sports backgrounds and felt businesses should support YPAO. The authors suggest that enabling small businesses to choose which youth activities to support, and providing businesses with public recognition for doing so, could encourage more businesses to help out.

Funding Opportunities

Are you a diverse researcher or evaluator interested in funding, mentoring and training opportunities? If yes, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's New Connections: Increasing Diversity of RWJF Programming is a wonderful opportunity for you. New Connections offers funding opportunities for early- and mid-career researchers from historically underrepresented backgrounds, and provides a community of support, advice, and collaboration. Brief Proposals are due August 29, 2012 by 3pm ET.

Resources & Other Announcements

Making the Most of Physical Education Video

A Spanish-language version of the popular video, Making the Most of PE by Monica Lounsbery and Thom McKenzie, is now available. Designed for school administrators, board members, teachers, parents, and others interested in quality physical education, the video shares key characteristics of quality physical education and barriers to its delivery. The video also highlights the relationship between physical education and academic achievement.

Physical Activity Special Primary Interest Group Gains Official Status

The American Public Health Association officially approved the organization of the Physical Activity Special Primary Interest Group (PA SPIG).  The establishment of the PA SPIG provides a credible and visible home for physical activity practitioners, researchers, advocates and partners in the world’s largest professional public health association, and an elevated forum for addressing the 21st century’s biggest public health challenge – sedentary lifestyle.

Cycling for All

City Cycling, a forthcoming book edited by John Pucher and Ralph Buehler, is now available for pre-order. This book offers a guide to the urban cycling renaissance, with the goal of promoting cycling as sustainable urban transportation available to everyone.  Chapters cover cycling trends and policies in cities in North America, Europe and Australia, cycling safety, cycling infrastructure provisions including bikeways and bike parking, the wide range of bike designs and bike equipment, integration of cycling with public transportation, and promoting cycling for women and children.

Cycling Is Good for Business

Business Cycles: Catering to the Bicycling Market documents evidence showing that cycling has positive economic impacts on a community. This report provides an in-depth analysis of the full range of benefits to the business community that could be attributed to cycling infrastructure (e.g. bike lanes, bike parking stations). It can help guide planning decisions by alleviating fears among business owners that installing cycling infrastructure will interfere with a car-dominated shopping landscape.

New Animated Videos Help Obesity Researchers Navigate NCCOR's Online Tools

The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) released two videos to demonstrate how to use its online tools: the Catalogue of Surveillance Systems and the Measures Registry. The Catalogue provides one-stop access for researchers to review, sort and compare more than 85 surveillance systems relevant to childhood obesity research and the evaluation of policy and environmental interventions. The Registry is a portfolio of more than 800 measures related to diet and physical activity that allows researchers to more efficiently find and select measures that are critical to accelerating obesity prevention research.

A Systems Approach to Preventing Obesity in Early Life

An article published in the June issue of Childhood Obesity proposes a systems approach to preventing childhood obesity that begins in pregnancy, continues through early life, and combines behavior change interventions with the implementation of environmental changes in communities.“A great many forces conspire to produce epidemic obesity, in children and adults alike. Indeed, almost everything that makes modern living 'modern' is obesogenic. It will take an equal, or greater, opposing force to turn this tide.”

Join the Prevent Obesity Network is currently recruiting new Leaders to add to its network of people across the country who are working on childhood obesity. The Leader network is a comprehensive representation of those making changes across issue areas to create healthy environments for kids. provides communication, promotion and technical assistance to registered Leaders.

State Legislation to Prevent Childhood Obesity

A report from the National Council of State Legislatures, State Actions to Promote Healthy Communities and Prevent Childhood Obesity, provides a summary and analysis of legislation across different states to promote access to healthy foods and increasing opportunities for physical activity in schools and communities.

Newsletter Date: 
Wednesday, July 11, 2012