Issue 29, June 2015

Issue 29, June 2015

Active Living Research News

ALR Conference

ALR2016 Call for Abstracts is open

We are traveling cross country for ALR2016 to the Hilton in Clearwater Beach, Florida on January 31 – February 3, 2016. The 2016 conference theme, “Equity in Active Living”, explores opportunities to ensure that all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, economic background, level of education, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical and/or cognitive ability, have access to safe and enjoyable places to be physically active. The Call for Abstracts is now open. Submissions are due August 28th. Keep up-to-date on the latest ALR2016 news by signing up for conference email alerts.

ALR Resources

Safe Routes to School Programs Work

Most school children in the U.S. get to school by bus or car, with only a small percentage walking or biking. Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs are designed to improve safety and increase the number of children walking and biking to and from school through educational efforts, encouragement programs, and road improvements at or near schools. A new ALR research review highlights evidence on walking and biking rates, safety, and economic issues associated with SRTS.

Youth Summertime Weight Gain Impacts Health

For many children, summer vacation is a three-month hiatus from the daily responsibilities and scheduled demands they experience during the nine-month school year. A new ALR research brief summarizes what is known about youth summer weight gain and how physical activity and diet during the summer may contribute. As policy-makers, practitioners, and researchers continue to work toward reversing the childhood obesity epidemic and ensuring our children grow up at a healthy weight, learning more about what occurs during summer vacation may be critical to informing their efforts.

Using Systematic Observation in Schools

A recent ALR-sponsored webinar highlighted the importance of using direct observation to assess school-based physical education and physical activity, and discussed common research topics associated with using this methodology. Experts provided advanced information for using two observation systems, SOFIT and SOPLAY, used widely in schools. The webinar recording and slides are available for free download.

ALR Summer Research Webinar Series

Over the next few months, we are holding a webinar series for topics of most interest to researchers. Topics will include: design and methods for studying natural experiments in parks and transit and how to study policy implementation. Stay tuned for more information on future webinars.

Girls of Color and School Sports Opportunities

A report, Finishing Last: Girls of Color and School Sports Opportunities, presents new data that shows at both the national and state levels, heavily minority schools typically provide fewer sports opportunities—defined as spots on teams—compared to heavily white schools. Even within heavily minority schools these limited opportunities are divided less fairly.  Compared to their share of the student body, girls of color receive far fewer spots on teams than white girls, white boys, and boys of color. The report shows how this lack of access to competitive sports has long-term consequences for girls’ health, academic success, and economic security. The report was partially supported by ALR.

Grantee Highlights

Evaluating Park Renovations on Park Use and Physical Activity

A study by Deborah Cohen and colleagues reports that park improvements can have a significant impact on increasing park use and local physical activity. The study measured park users and their activity levels before and after two parks were renovated and then compared findings with other parks that were either unrenovated or undergoing renovation. The improved parks saw more than a doubling in the number of visitors and a substantial increase in energy expended in the parks.

Association of Proximity and Density of Parks and Physical Activity

Gina Lovasi and colleagues conducted a systematic review on the relationship of parks and objectively measured physical activity in population-based studies in the United States (US) and identified limitations in current built environment and physical activity measurement and reporting. Strategies for further research, employing standardized reporting and innovative study designs to better understand the relationship of parks and physical activity, are recommended.

Community-wide Effort Helps Increase Physical Activity and Reduce Obesity

Sara Benjamin Neelon and team evaluated Mebane on the Move, a community-based effort to promote activity and decrease obesity among resides in Mebane, NC. Researchers measured child physical activity and BMI before and after the intervention. Results showed positive effects on physical activity level and weight status of children in Mebane.

SaludABLEOmaha: Improving Readiness to Address Obesity through Healthy Lifestyle

This case study describes SaludABLEOmaha, an initiative to increase readiness of residents in a Midwestern Latino community to address obesity and adopt healthy lifestyles. The project team, including Terry T-K Huang, found that community mobilization approaches such as youth activism integrated with social marketing and social media tactics can improve community responsiveness to obesity prevention and diminish health disparities.

Announcements and Other Resources

Healthy Eating Research Funding Opportunity

Healthy Eating Research has released a 2015 Call for Proposals aimed at providing advocates and decision-makers with evidence related to food and nutrition strategies to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic. The call for proposals contains two types of awards (Round 9 and New Connections grants). Brief concept papers are due July 1st (New Connections) and June 24th or August 12th (Round 9).

Evidence for Action Funding Opportunity

Evidence for Action, a new program launched by RWJF, has released their first Call for Proposals seeking proposals that guide action, open up new areas for inquiry, and facilitate future research. They are especially interested in research that will help develop the data and evidence necessary to improve health and equity in communities across the country. Proposals are due on a rolling basis.


National Walking Summit

America Walks and the Every Body Walk! Collaborative are hosting the 2nd National Walking Summit on October 28-30, 2015 in Washington, DC. Confirmed keynote speakers include Dr. Robert D. Bullard, known as the father of the environmental justice movement, and Mr. Ron Sims, who has served in top appointed and elected posts at the national, state and local levels to advance transportation and housing equality.

Call for Session Proposals for New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

The 15th annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference is accepting abstracts for conference presentations. Submission deadline is June 30th. The conference will be held February 11-13, 2016 in Portland, Oregon. The theme for the event is “Practical Tools and Innovative Strategies for Creating Great Communities.”

Newsletter Date: 
Tuesday, June 2, 2015