Healthy Communities- August 29, 2014

Healthy Communities
safe routes to school

Promoting Health in Schools: Fire Up Your Feet!
For those public health partners who are working with or have connections with school partners, please help spread the word about Fire Up Your Feet, which is inspiring active trips to school across the nation. This fall, Fire Up Your Feet is awarding more than $100,000 to K-8 schools across the country to support Safe Routes to School and other health and wellness programs. With awards in several categories, schools have even more chances to win.


Health Equity Resource Tool Kit
The tool kit helps public health practitioners take a systematic approach to program planning by using a health equity focus. It provides a six-step process for planning, implementing, and evaluating strategies to address obesity disparities. The article can be found online:

CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Launches Facebook page
CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control recently launched a Facebook page about breast cancer. It’s a great place for public health partners, health care providers, survivors, and other interested people to talk about breast cancer with CDC experts.

Nutrition and Physical Activity Training for Healthcare Providers (and a cool infographic)
According to a recent report released by the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and the American College of Sports Medicine, less than one quarter of physicians feel they received adequate training to counseling their patients on physical activity and nutrition, as well as managing diabetes and other chronic diseases. Several studies have shown that when counseled by their provider to lose weight, patients are more likely to attempt weight loss and increase their physical activity. Yet, less than 13% of medical visits include counseling for nutrition.
There are several strategies for increasing training in these areas, such as developing a standard nutrition and physical activity curriculum in schools and including more of this content in licensing and certification exams. Some initiatives have already begun to increase training in these areas, but there is still a need to broaden awareness for more changes in medical education.

Active Living Research’s “Mejorar Comunidades Mueve la Gente”
ALR’s Changing Communities Gets People Moving infographic has now been translated into Spanish! This infographic can be downloaded for free in JPG format (517 KB) by clicking on the image or the “Download Original” link. A high resolution PDF version (3.88 MB) of this infographic is also available from ALR upon request.
Communities across the nation are doing more to ensure that streets, sidewalks, schools, and parks support walking, biking, and playing. The infographic highlights several studies which evaluated changes in physical activity after the implementation of built environment and programmatic modifications in different cities. For example, children are more likely to walk or bike to school when there are quality streets and crosswalks, and programs that promote safety; existence of bike lanes is related to higher rates of cycling; and the presence of recreational facilities close to home encourages more physical activity. Free, full text access to the four studies included in this infographic are available:

Reports and Articles

Remarkable Collaboration Nets over $4 Million for Local Health Improvement
By InterCommunity Health Network Coordinated Care Organization
Thanks to the joint efforts of health departments from Benton, Lincoln and Linn Counties, along with InterCommunity Health Network Coordinated Care Organization (IHN-CCO), local communities will reap the benefits of over $4 million in grant funding received to date to support a regional approach for health improvement.
Working under the title of Regional Healthy Communities Steering Committee, this unique partnership has brought together a diverse group of public and private organizations that support the health of local residents across the three counties. In addition to the counties and IHN-CCO, committee membership ranges from community and faith-based groups to providers, educators, tribal organizations, health equity concerns, and neighborhood housing amongst others.

From RWJF: The Walking School Bus: A Safe and Active Way to Get Kids to School
With research indicating that fewer children are walking or biking to school than in decades past—and with the childhood obesity epidemic in full swing—health experts have been brainstorming solutions that would address both issues. In recent years, a simple but effective concept has been gaining traction at the grass-roots level: Why not organize a “Walking School Bus”—a group of kids who walk to school with one or more adults, so that kids can get exercise on their way to and from school?

A Walking School Bus is “just like a regular school bus, but without the walls and seats, and instead of wheels, we use our feet,” explained LeeAnne Fergason, education director for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance in Portland, Ore., which has a thriving Walking School Bus program. Other communities around the country that have well-established…[read more at RWJF]

Street networks tied to obesity, diabetes rates in study
Research published in the Journal of Transport & Health found cities with a more compact street network had reduced rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, while wider streets and more lanes were tied to higher disease levels. “This research is one more in a long line that demonstrates the myriad advantages of fostering walkable places,” said researcher Norman Garrick. The Atlantic online (
Lack of Exercise, Not Diet, Linked to Rise in Obesity, Stanford Research Shows (Stanford Med News Center, July 7, 2014)
An examination of national health survey results suggests that inactivity, rather than higher calorie intake, could be driving the surge in obesity. Examining national health survey results from 1988 through 2010, the researchers found huge increases in both obesity and inactivity, but not in the overall number of calories consumed. “What struck us the most was just how dramatic the change in leisure-time physical activity was,” said Uri Ladabaum, MD, associate professor of gastroenterology and lead author of the study. “Although we cannot draw conclusions about cause and effect from our study, our findings support the notion that exercise and physical activity are important determinants of the trends in obesity.” The study is published in the August issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

Dense Downtowns Propel Greater Levels of Walking
Central business districts and urban growth boundaries can help create denser, more vibrant, more economically efficient – and healthier – communities. Recent research published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine revealed that each one-mile increase in distance from the Urban Development Boundary corresponded to an 11 percent increase in the number of minutes of purposive walking (walking to get from place to place, such as from home to the corner store), whereas each one-mile increase in distance from the urban core corresponded to a five percent decrease in the amount of purposive walking.
The farther away from the downtown core people moved, the less they walked. Study participants were 400 newly arrived Cuban immigrants. All were healthy and at least 70 percent reported being physically active in Cuba, either walking or cycling. But after a few weeks in the U.S., those immigrants living closest to the Urban Development Boundary were already less likely to walk than those living closer to downtown Miami.

RWJF’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities program evaluates 1,264 policy and environmental changes across the U.S.
Three new reports and resources from Active Living By Design, acting as the umbrella organization for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s HKHC Program, share key takeaways and lessons learned from the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities program, a $33.4 million investment of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to reduce childhood obesity by supporting partnerships and initiatives in 49 communities across the country. The communities documented a total of 1,264 policy and environmental changes in those communities between 2008 and 2014, with the goal of “transforming the physical activity and food environments in which children and their families live, learn and play.”


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