Active Living Research News
Call for Abstracts is Open
Abstracts for workshops, concurrent, and poster presentations for the ALR2015 conference are now being accepted. The ALR2015 conference will be held February 22 – 25, 2015 in San Diego, and the conference theme, “The Science of Policy Implementation,” recognizes the importance of implementation as the process of taking scientific findings from the emerging research field of active living and using them in practice to increase population-level physical activity. Abstracts with a research or practice/policy focus, as well as abstracts with an international focus are welcome. Submissions are due August 18th. Check the ALR website for updated conference details.
Sedentary Behavior Impacts Youth Obesity
Spending excessive time engaging in sedentary behaviors, such as watching TV, playing video games, and other screen time activities, contributes to physical inactivity and obesity. A new 1-page issue brief, Sedentary Behaviors and Youth, highlights trends in sedentary behaviors among youth and their impact on obesity as well as explores differences in the prevalence of sedentary behaviors based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status.
How PE Standards Affect Schoolchildren’s Fitness Levels
Emma Sanchez-Vaznaugh studied the impact of California state policy requiring school districts to provide 200 minutes of physical education over 10 school days. The study found that 82% of 5th graders in California attended school districts that were non-compliant with the PE policy, and in districts that did comply with the policy, students were more likely to meet or exceed fitness standards. Learn more about Dr. Sanchez-Vaznaugh and her study findings in her RWJF grantee profile.
How Do You Attract Low-Income and Minority Residents to Open Street Events?
Aaron Hipp and Amy Eyler evaluated Open Streets in St. Louis, MO and developed strategies for attracting minority, inner-city residents to the events occurring over a three time period. Results from the study found that engaging local nonprofit organizations, such as schools and community groups, with small grants to host activity hubs during the Open Street events was important in attracting diverse groups to the event as well as encouraging participates to be active. Read the RWJF grantee profile for more information on Drs. Hipp and Eyler and the study results.
How Structural Changes Around Schools Affect Children’s Mobility and Safety
David Ragland and colleagues assessed the long-term impact on safety around California schools that had implemented Safe Routes to School-funded infrastructure and the impact of the improvements on levels of walking and bicycling activity around the schools. Results found that safety of pedestrians increased within 250 feet of an infrastructure improvement, such as a sidewalk, and that living within 250 feet of an infrastructure improvement increased the probability that a child walked to school. Learn more about Dr. Ragland and the study findings in his RWJF grantee profile.
Moving Kids Towards Success! School Policies that Support Active, Attentive Students
Children who are physically active and fit tend to perform better in the classroom, but many schools allow little to no time for students to be active, due to a lack of resources, personnel, or time in the day. Policies that support daily PE and regular activity breaks during the school day can help increase physical activity, elevate physical fitness levels, and improve academic performance and classroom behavior among students. Watch this recorded webinar to hear Darla Castelli, Abigail Gamble, and Emma Sanchez-Vaznaugh provide evidence about the importance of physical activity in the school setting, and offer ideas and strategies to get kids moving during the school day.
Objectively Measuring Activity of Rural, Suburban and Urban Youth
Justin Moore and colleagues compared accelerometer-measured physical activity levels in a sample of fourth- to eight-grade youth living across the rural-urban continuum in North Carolina. Results from the study show rural girls were 4.6 times and 2.8 times more likely to accumulate ≥60 minutes MVPA/day compared to suburban and urban girls, respectively. Rural residence appears to be unsupportive of MVPA for boys.
Professional Development Initiatives for Promoting Physical Activity During Out-of-School Time
The National Institute on Out-of-School Time, with RTI International, has produced a profile of six promising professional development initiatives that are hosted by organizations promoting the healthy development of children and youth during the out-of-school time hours. These profiles can inform providers, funders, school administrators and policy-makers about promising approaches to increasing physical activity in out-of-school time programs.
Announcements and Other Resources
Overweight and Obesity among African American and Latino Youths
Two new fact sheets released by Leadership for Healthy Communities use the most recently available data to show that while obesity rates may be leveling off in some sectors of the American populace, rates among African American and Latino youths remain significantly high. Read about obesity among African American and Latino youths.
Street Scale and Shared Use Resources
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership has compiled a list of resources, including fact sheets, articles, and blog posts, related to street scale and shared use policies. This list also includes links to additional resources provided by national organizations participating on the SRTS National Partnership Street Scale and Shared Use Task Forces.
Built Environment + Public Health Clearinghouse
The Built Environment and Public Health Clearinghouse is a resource for training at the university and professional levels and as a source for relevant news on the critical intersection between health and place. The university training offers a full academic semester or individual modules instruction for planning and public health, architecture and public health and health impact assessment, and an interactive map highlighting institutions, faculty and degree programs. The professional training directs individuals to primers, tools and other online resources for self-directed learning, including a multidisciplinary glossary of public health and community design terms.
Measuring Distances to Parks
A new article by Mohammad Javad Koohsari and colleagues examines how the concept of space syntax, a method for interpreting pedestrian movement and the street network, can be applied to research on parks and open space.
Conferences & Workshops
Registration is open for the 2014 HIA of the Americas Workshop taking place September 15-16th in Oakland, CA. The two-day workshop, hosted by the Society of Practitioners of HIA, will focus on building a community of HIA practitioners through networking and sharing ideas and tools to elevate the practice of HIA, as well as to promote excellence in the field by discussing best practices, tackling challenging HIA-related issues, and disseminating resources and work products developed by the HIA of the Americas working groups.
The Local Government Commission has released a formal Call for Session Proposals for the 2015 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference. Submissions are due July 11th. The conference is being held January 29-31, 2015 in Baltimore, MD.
The U.S. Play Coalition seeks presentation proposals for their 2015 Conference on the Value of Play: Advancing Play. Submissions are due September 17, 2014. The conference is an opportunity to share how you are implementing innovative strategies to engage your community in play. The conference takes place February 15-18, 2015 in Clemson, SC.
Save the date for the 8th biennial Childhood Obesity Conference, being held June 29 – July 2, 2015 in San Diego, CA. The conference theme is “Collective Impact: Developing a Shared Vision to Achieve Greater Success.” The Call for Session Proposals is set to open in early July.