Active Living Research News
Call for Abstracts Now Open for ALR 2014 Conference
We are now accepting abstracts for presentations and workshops at our 11th annual Active Living Research Conference, scheduled for March 9-12 in San Diego, Calif., at the Paradise Point Hotel. The theme of the 2014 conference, “Niche to Norm,” recognizes the importance of advancing active living from an emerging research field with limited results and impact to well-accepted findings that regularly guide decision-making across sectors to create more active communities.
We encourage abstracts related to both research and practice or policy, which highlight how to use evidence to increase physical activity in many settings. Research and practice/policy presentations will be integrated and organized by topic area. Abstracts are due September 4, 2013.
Upcoming Web Forums
Zoning for the Public’s Health
ALR and Public Health Law Research are holding a web forum on the power of mixed-use zoning to improve community safety and walkability. Presenters will share the latest public health law evidence, describe a new method for evaluating zoning laws, examine case studies from the East and West Coasts, and highlight some of the challenges involved in such policy work. This web forum is scheduled for August 15 at 10:00 a.m. PST.
Is Your School Ready for Recess?
In partnership with the Public Health Institute’s Dialogue4Health program, we will be holding a two-part Web Forum on ways to increase physical activity during school recess. Presenters will discuss the Ready for Recess program, which can help prevent and alleviate childhood obesity by increasing physical activity among students during recess through practice and environmental changes.
Part one is intended for school administrators, public health practitioners (e.g. school wellness coordinators), and parents who want to learn how to influence policies and practices that support the overall health and well-being of students. Topics will include the academic and health benefits of frequent and efficient recess, what administrators can do to support staff to implement activities at recess, and how parents and public health practitioners can advocate for quality for recess. Part one will be held on September 10 at 10:00-11:00 a.m. PST.
Part two is intended for teachers and other school staff who are directly involved with leading recess activities who want to learn about easy and fun activities they can implement to get students more active. Topics will include how support and participation can motivate children to be more active, and how to be creative with equipment and space to promote physical activity. Part two will be held on September 17 at 10:00-11:00 a.m. PST.
Safety Is a Public Health Issue
Using narratives of single, low-income Black mothers in Newark, N.J., Janice Johnson Dias examined mothers' concerns regarding crime and violence and how this affected their decisions about allowing their daughters to play outdoors. Mothers were most concerned about drug and gang related violence and the lack of safe places to play, which prevented mothers from letting their daughters play outside. Dias argues that safety and violence need to be addressed as public health issues that impact children’s physical activity. The study recommends that obesity-prevention efforts in high crime areas focus on improving safety by strengthening community organizations and community empowerment, and encouraging individuals to develop stronger ties to their neighbors and community.
Do Neighborhood Safety and Walkability Affect Park Use?
Robin Moore’s study looked at how neighborhood social factors (e.g. safety and poverty) and urban form (e.g. pedestrian infrastructure and street network pattern) are related to park use among youth and adults. Findings showed that children and adults were more likely to use parks that are larger and that have playgrounds, basketball courts, pool and water features, shelters, and picnic areas. Parks in neighborhoods with more sidewalks and road intersections also tended to be used more. Children and adults were less likely to use parks in areas characterized by higher crime, poverty, and racial diversity.
The Gender Gap in Walking and Biking to School
Research conducted by Noreen McDonald examined trends in active transportation to school using National Household Travel data from between 1977 and 2009. In 1990, boys were significantly more likely to walk to school than girls, and were two to three times more likely than girls to bike to school. McDonald concludes that policy interventions can help reduce this gender gap by making it safer for both boys and girls to walk and bike to school. Interventions include the Walking School Bus, where adults supervise children’s active commute to school, and bicycle programs that encourage and ensure girls’ participation.
Announcements and Other Resources
Take the Stairs
New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg recently issued an executive order and proposed two bills to promote stairway use and the application of active design strategies (e.g. placing stairs near entrances) in all new construction and major renovations in the city. The mayor cited evidence showing the positive health impacts of physical activity as the basis for these policies. Mr. Bloomberg also announced the creation of a new nonprofit organization, the Center for Active Design, which will promote and advise on strategies related to active living and healthy eating. Read the story here.
Active Living Research funded an evaluation of NYC’s Active Design Guidelines and produced a video highlighting the partnerships behind the Guidelines’ creation.
For a summary of various funding opportunities related to obesity prevention, see this table compiled by the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR). Grant proposal deadlines vary.
Walking and Biking to School for Healthier Children
The 2013 Safe Routes to Schools National Conference is fast approaching! The conference will be held August 13-15 in Sacramento, Calif., and is focused on making it safer, more convenient, and fun for children to walk and bike to school. The registration deadline is July 23, but registration will be accepted afterwards for a $50 late fee if space is available.
Can Walking Save the World?
Join national and local leaders to engage in inspiring conversations and sessions that will build capacity, develop strategies, increase momentum, and showcase best practices to increase investments in walking and walkability at the 2013 Walking Summit October 1-3 in Washington D.C. Register by August 12 to qualify for the early bird fee.
Promoting Play to Create Healthier, Happier Lives
The US Play Coalition 2014 Conference on the Value of Play will be held February 16-19, 2014 in Clemson, S.C. Submit a session proposal by September 18. Early bird registration ends November 8. In addition to keynote speakers and educational sessions, research and action grant funding will be awarded through a competitive application process. To be eligible for grant competition, individuals must first be accepted as presenters at the conference.
Registration Open for 2013 National Health Equity Conference
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies will be holding its PLACE MATTERS National Health Equity Conference on Wednesday, October 2, 2013, in Washington, D.C. The conference goal is to build the capacity of leaders around the country who are working to eliminate racial and ethnic health inequities and advance a health equity agenda.
Watch Out for Potholes
Check out this fun and practical interactive site where you can add your biking wisdom in ten words or less. It’s not restricted to New York City— cyclists anywhere in the US can contribute helpful tips, warnings, and descriptions based on first-hand experience of bicycling routes.