Issue 31, October 2015

Issue 31, October 2015

Active Living Research News

ALR Conference

Early Bird Registration Deadline and Keynote Speaker Announced

The keynote speaker for the ALR2016 conference will be Julian Agyeman, PhD, FRSA, Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. Dr. Agyeman is the originator of the concept of ‘just sustainabilities’, the full integration of social justice and sustainability. Learn more about Dr. Agyeman in this exclusive interview. The ALR2016 conference will be held 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 have access to safe and enjoyable places to be physically active. Register before November 6th to receive the early bird discount!

ALR Resources

SRTS Programs Work

The new Safe Routes to School Programs Work infographic features evidence on the barriers of walking and biking to school and the positive impacts of SRTS programs on physical activity levels and safety. Findings presented in this infographic come from a related ALR research review. The infographic can be downloaded for free for print or electronic dissemination.

Promoting Active Living in Rural Communities

A new ALR research brief summarizes current research on elements of the rural built environment that may be related to obesity or physical activity. It also provides policy implications and a list of important rural-specific built environment measures that have been developed and tested for assessing active living supports, barriers and perceptions.

Perceptions Affect Physical Activity

The design and maintenance of neighborhoods, streets, and parks, and people's perceptions of those places based on qualities such as aesthetic appeal and perceived safety, can affect physical activity in youth and adults. An ALR research review highlights evidence on the relationship of rates of physical activity to the perceived aesthetics, safety and comfort of public places, such as streets and parks. It also provides research that improving appearances can make a place more appealing - both in general, and specifically as a place for physical activity for adults and youth.

Co-benefits of Designing Streets for Walking and Biking

A new report, produced by the American Planning Association’s Planning and Community Health Center and funded by ALR, highlights a literature review that focuses on the benefits that may arise from investment in different types of street-scale features. The review considers not only potential impacts related to physical activity but also a variety of co-benefits including social cohesion, crime prevention and public safety, multimodal traffic safety, mental health, and economic effects. The review links these co-benefits to various types of street-scale features that encourage walking and biking, such as sidewalks, bicycle lanes, traffic calming, crossing aids, aesthetics and placemaking, public space, street trees, green infrastructure, and street furniture.

These Tools Were Made for Walking

Reduced risk of heart disease and obesity, lower blood pressure and enhanced mental well-being – just a few of the many health benefits of walking announced by the Surgeon General along with a call to action for improved environmental conditions that will make walking safer and more convenient across the nation. A new tool designed by UCSD & ALR researchers helps improve communities so more people will lace up their walking shoes and hit the pavement…without tripping hazards. MAPS-Mini is a 15-item checklist for practitioners and community members used to score community features relevant for physical activity, such as street design, sidewalks, intersections and crossings. Findings from the tool are published in the September issue of Preventing Chronic Disease.

ALR Webinar Series for Researchers

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 play spaces (Nov 13th), design and methods for studying natural experiments in transit and physical activity (Dec 10th); and how to study policy implementation (registration coming soon – save the date: Dec 17th).

Announcements and Other Resources

PE Teacher Training is Key

Students are more likely to receive at least 150 minutes of physical education per week when PE teachers are required to take continuing education. A recent research brief from Bridging the Gap highlights the key role played by physical education professionals in delivering physical activity opportunities for kids. 

TFAH, RWJF Release State of Obesity Report

U.S. adult obesity rates remained mostly steady―but high―this past year, increasing in Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Utah and remaining stable elsewhere, according to The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, a report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report also found persistent regional disparities, with higher rates in the South and Midwest, and racial and ethnic disparities, with elevated rates for Black and Latino populations.


Call for Abstracts for America College of Sports Medicine

ACSM's 63rd Annual Meeting is accepting abstracts for conference presentations. The conference will be held May 31 – June 4 in Boston, MA. Submission deadline is November 2, 2015. With 12 topical categories, including Exercise is Medicine, the meeting offers attendees outstanding programming covering the science, practice, public health, and policy aspects of sports medicine, exercise science, and physical activity.

Call for Abstracts for International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health

The 6th ISPAH International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health is accepting abstracts for conference presentations. Submission deadline is February 29, 2016. The conference will be held November 15-19, 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand. The theme for the event is “Active People, Active Place, Active Policy”.

Newsletter Date: 
Thursday, October 15, 2015