Issue 21, November 2013

Issue 21, November 2013

Active Living Research News

ALR Conference

Registration Now Open for ALR 2014

We look forward to seeing you at our 11th annual Active Living Research Conference, March 9-12 in San Diego at the Paradise Point Hotel. The theme “Niche to Norm” recognizes the evolution of active living from an emerging research field to a nation-wide movement of implementing evidence-based strategies to create active communities. Be sure to register before January 6 to receive the early bird discount.

Special Pre-Conference Symposium

ALR is holding a special International Symposium to bring experts together to share lessons on international obesity prevention research on urban Latino populations in the US, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil. Attendance at the International Symposium is optional and the number of participants will be limited. Registration for the symposium is complimentary and available on a first come, first served basis.

ALR Resources

Estimate Costs of Ped/Bike Infrastructure

The Pedestrian and Bicycling Information Center released a report "Costs for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Infrastructure Improvements: A Resource for Researchers, Engineers, Planners, and the General Public." The report, written by Charles Zegeer, estimates infrastructure costs of pedestrian and bicycle treatments from states and cities across the country, and the accompanying database will help inform decisions about which infrastructure enhancements are best suited for implementation.

A Great Place to Start Your Literature Review

Our online literature database can help you find papers on the relationships between environments and policies and physical activity and obesity. The searchable database, containing nearly 700 studies which have been carefully vetted for relevance and methodological rigor, provides detailed information on study characteristics and results. Also, we welcome feedback on the database and suggestions for additional papers.

Grantee Publications

Does the Existence fo Ped/Bike Plans Prevent Injuries?

Kelly Evenson examined the relationship between pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and the existence of recently published pedestrian and bicycling plans. The study looked at data from 1997 to 2009 among 553 North Carolina municipalities and found nonfatal and fatal injury rates among pedestrians were lower in places when a plan had been published within a year or in the year before. However, bicyclist nonfatal and fatal injury rates did not significantly change with publication of bicyclist or combined bike/ped plans.

Safe Routes to Schools

Noreen McDonald published two studies from her work related to Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS).

One project evaluated the impact of Eugene, Oregon’s SRTS program on walking and biking. Using data collected between 2007 and 2011 at 14 schools, findings indicated education and encouragement programs were associated with a five percentage point increase in biking, and augmenting education programs with additional SRTS improvements such as sidewalks, crosswalks, covered bike parking, and Boltage (a brand of radio frequency identification device used in tracking students who arrive to school by foot or bike) was associated with increases in walking and biking of five to 20 percentage points.

Another study examined all SRTS projects awarded from 2005 to 2012 to determine whether funding benefited schools in minority, lower-income, or other underserved (e.g. rural) areas. Compared with schools that did not receive SRTS awards, SRTS funded schools had larger enrollments, 36.5% more Latino students, and were 44% more likely to be located in dense urban neighborhoods. Residents of neighborhoods with SRTS funded schools were 48.2% more likely to be Latino and 49% more likely to be foreign-born. In addition, 20% of funded schools were located in rural areas, another indication of geographic equity in the distribution of SRTS funds.

What Leads to a Successful Joint Use Agreement?

A case study by Jason Bocarro of a joint use agreement in Wake Forest County, N.C. offers some answers. Interviews with the school principal, school athletic director, town parks and recreation director, parks and recreation facility managers, and the town manager yielded four key themes explaining the success of this joint use agreement: 1) deliberate formation and continued maintenance of relationships, 2) shared vision, 3) agreements set up to be mutually beneficial, and 4) resources to address community demands.

Announcements and Other Resources

Building Healthy Places

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) published a resource, Ten Principles for Building Healthy Places, highlighting practical steps for land use professionals and others to create healthy and vibrant places. Debbie Lou, ALR’s program analyst, shares her experience from the workshop convened in Washington, DC last August to develop the ten principles.

Choosing the Right Tool to Measure Sedentary Behavior

Measuring sedentary behaviors (e.g. TV viewing; riding in a car; playing video games) is a notoriously tricky task, but the Method Selection Guide and the accompanying Hitchhiker's Guide can assist users in choosing instruments to measure sedentary behaviors among children and adolescents. These resources are provided by the Australasian Child & Adolescent Obesity Research Network.

Guidance for Putting Health in All Policies

Health in All Policies: A Guide for State and Local Governments can help improve public health and safety with advice on incorporating health considerations into decision-making across education, transportation, planning, food and other policy areas. It offers tips for engaging stakeholders, building relationships and making joint decisions across sectors. The guide is a creation of the Public Health Institute, the California Department of Public Health, and the American Public Health Association.

Documentary Tells Powerful Untold Story of Walking

The Every Body Walk! Campaign released The Walking Revolution, a documentary film exploring the significant health and environmental benefits of walking, what makes communities walkable, and how walking and walkability support economically and socially vibrant communities. The film illustrates inspiring, personal experiences that help expand the way people think about the culture of walking and physical activity.

Funding Opportunities

The Notah Begay III Foundation (NB3F) is soliciting proposals for capacity building grants to support community health assessments (new or ongoing) or community planning and capacity building efforts to address childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes in Native American communities. Proposals are due December 16.

For a summary of other funding opportunities related to obesity prevention, see this table compiled by the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR). Grant proposal deadlines vary.


Registration is open for the 13th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference, scheduled for February 13-15 in Denver. Learn from hundreds of speakers who cross disciplines to share insights, valuable tools and strategies for making smart growth a success in your community. The program will be infused with sessions and case studies focusing on important social equity and environmental justice issues. Early bird registration ends November 24.

Sponsored by Active Healthy Kids Canada, the 2014 Global Summit on the Physical Activity of Children will convene leading researchers, practitioners, and advocates to address the growing childhood physical inactivity crisis. The 2014 summit, which will take place May 19-22 in Toronto, Canada, will feature two debates— one on the potential or pitfalls of active video games, and another on the importance of increasing physical activity versus decreasing television watching and other sedentary behaviors. Registration will continue through January 15.

Newsletter Date: 
Thursday, November 14, 2013