Issue 11, February 2012

Issue 11, February 2012

Active Living Research News

New Publications

Recess Can Increase Physical Activity
Our new research brief, Increasing Physical Activity Through Recess, summarizes the growing body of research examining recess. It shows that providing recess during the school day is an effective and efficient way to increase physical activity and improve academic performance among children.

Papers from 2011 ALR Conference
Free access to the January 2012 issue of Health & Place is now available. This issue (Vol.18, No.1) includes papers selected from abstracts submitted for presentation at Active Living Research's eighth annual conference in February 2011.

Preventing Injury in Physically Active Children
Getting children to be more active is important, but so is keeping them safe while doing so. Keshia Pollack‘s study offers behavioral, environmental and policy approaches proven to make exercise and other physical activity safer for children. For example, enforcing traffic laws and creating traffic-calming features such as speed humps and traffic circles can make it safer for children to walk and bike to school, activities that help children be more active overall.  

Grantee Highlight

Congratulations to Leah E. Robinson on her tenure and promotion to the rank of associate professor at Auburn University in Alabama.  Dr. Robinson is a recipient of an ALR-RWJF New Connections grant to study the role of state and school mandated physical activity policies on students’ school-day physical activity behaviors. Read more about Leah here.

Policy and Practice Stories

Our grantees have informed policymaker action on a range of issues by providing non-partisan research and analysis. Below are several examples.

Shared Use of School Playgrounds in Arizona
Legislation under consideration in Arizona could increase access to playgrounds throughout the state. State legislators recently proposed a bill that would limit liability for schools that open their playgrounds to the public during non-school hours. Local leaders have cited ALR-funded research which finds that such arrangements, called joint-use agreements, can increase community access to playgrounds. 

Streets for People, Not Cars
Open Streets initiatives, which originated as “ciclovias” in Bogota, Colombia, temporarily close down streets normally reserved for cars, creating a safe place for people to walk, bike, dance, play and socialize. St. Louis, Mo., hosted two Open Streets events in 2011, which with leadership from the Mayor’s office and generous sponsorships had more than 1,800 participants. An evaluation by ALR-funded researcher Aaron Hipp has helped inform a city campaign to increase participation among African-American families in 2012.

Physical Education Legislation in Puerto Rico
There are two legislative motions under consideration in Puerto Rico regarding physical activity in school. The motions would require allocating at least 5 percent of the school budget to each school’s physical education program; monitoring and assessing schools’ physical education policies at least every other year; and requiring annual or biannual program reports to measure progress and changes of physical education programs. Research from our grantee Alex Vigo has informed the creation of the motions.

Announcements and Resources

Help the American Public Health Association (APHA) Physical Activity Special Interest Group achieve permanent section status. This group provides a credible and visible home within the APHA for physical activity practitioners, researchers, advocates and partners. If you have an interest in physical activity and public health, please consider joining APHA and affiliating with this special interest group. If you are already an APHA member primarily affiliated with another section, you may add this group as your secondary or tertiary affiliation for only $30. To join APHA or to update your membership status, go here.

The Epidemiology and Population Health Summer Institute (EPIC) at Columbia University invites investigators and scholars from the health and social sciences, public health practitioners, clinicians and industry professionals interested in population health to register for one or more of their focused courses. Courses are one week long from June 4-29, 2012 in New York City. Registration is open until May 1, 2012.

The 2012 Physical Activity and Public Health Courses will be held September 11-19, 2012 at The Lodge at the Mountain Village in Park City, Utah. The PAPH courses include an 8-day Postgraduate Course on Research Directions and Strategies and a 6-day Practitioner's Course on Community Interventions. The long-term goal of the courses is to improve the public's health by increasing the number of public health researchers and practitioners who have expertise in the relationship between physical activity and health in populations.

The Convergence Partnership released a statement urging support for public transportation, walking, and biking infrastructure to improve the health of all Americans. The Convergence Partnership is a collaborative of funders dedicated to the vision of healthy people in healthy places. The partnership includes Ascension Health, The California Endowment, Kaiser Permanente, Kresge Foundation, Nemours, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention serve as technical advisors. The Convergence Partnership also organizes a network of more than 150 state, regional, and local foundations that provide resources and leadership in urban and rural communities to advance the health of all Americans.

Preventing Childhood Obesity in Early Care and Education is the new set of evidence-based national standards for best practices in nutrition, physical activity and screen time in early care and education programs. It is a joint publication by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association and the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education.

Beyond Urban Centers is a new research report from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, which demonstrates that active transportation is a part of life even far beyond urban centers. This report is a great advocacy tool for rural areas, and includes a dynamic, interactive online tool which allows you to click on a particular location and reveal bicycle infrastructure in that area, local stories of active transportation, county health data, congressional districts and bicycle and pedestrian fatalities.

Newsletter Date: 
Wednesday, February 1, 2012