Archive for Environment

Physical inactivity is the biggest public health problem

Doing something is better than doing nothing, and doing more is better than doing less, at least up to a point. We need numerous changes to promote more physical activity for all, including public policies, changes in the health care system, promoting activity in educational settings and worksites, and social and physical environmental changes. We need more communities where people feel comfortable walking.

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LightLane – you will love this new invention!

lightlaneBike lanes are an effective means of improving safety for cyclists. If there is no bike lane, why not bring your on?

Designers Alex Tee and Evan Gant from Massachusetts are hoping their LightLane bicycle add-on will make bicycling safer at night. One key is that the lane establishes a well-defined boundary beyond the envelope of the bicycle, providing a greater margin of safety between the car and the cycist.

This system projects a crisply defined virtual bike lane onto pavement, using a laser, providing the driver with a familiar boundary to avoid.

However, due to the high cost of installation, bike lanes are not widely available. Instead of forcing cyclists to adapt their behavior to the existing infrastructure, the bike lane should adapt to the cyclist.

Watch this video (no audio):

Visit Lightlane’s website.

Thanks to Stine Lorentzen for the tip.

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Active commuting and cardiovascular disease risk

Men and women who walk or ride a bike to work appear more fit, and men are less likely to be overweight or obese and have healthier triglyceride levels, blood pressure and insulin levels, according to this new and imporant report.

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Advancing Policies to Support Healthy Eating and Active Living

Here you can find a useful Guide for Local and State Leaders Working to Create Healthy  Communities and Prevent Childhood Obesity. Today, many US communities are unhealthy. Too frequently, families lack access to full-service grocery stores that stock affordable healthy foods, and children don’t have safe places to play or even walk.  The toolkit is published by a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Policy Action Can Help
Fortunately, many of the action strategies outlined in this toolkit are inexpensive and even provide a return on the investment in the long run. With nearly one-third of American youth either obese or overweight, the stakes are too high to do nothing about the direction of our children’s health.

Download the toolkit (102 pages) here. And visit leadershipforhealthycommunities.org for links to many relevant web resources.

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Legislation Includes Provisions For Healthy Lifestyle Infrastructure

Sweeping healthcare legislation in US Congress includes money for walking paths, streetlights, jungle gyms, and even farmers’ markets.

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Weight of the Nation

A highly interesting conference was held in Washington DC in July 2009 to provide a forum to highlight progress in the prevention and control of obesity through policy and environmental strategies.

Program Objectives:
1. Highlight strategies that overcome barriers to the primary prevention of obesity for youth and adults in communities,
medical care, schools, and workplaces.
2. Provide economic analysis of obesity prevention and control efforts.
3. Share promising, emerging, and best practices for setting specific policy and environmental initiatives
impacting obesity.
4. Highlight the use of law-based efforts to prevent and control obesity.

Program highlights:
Report on Cost Burden of Obesity
Improving Health Outcomes: Integrating Obesity Prevention in Health Reform
Nexus between Transportation and Obesity Prevention
Nexus between Food Systems and Obesity Prevention
Collaboration Fosters Healthy Places and Healthy People
Innovative Policy Initiatives at the Local Level
Focusing State Health Departments on Obesity Prevention
Improving Access To Healthy Places and Healthy Foods – Impact of Federal Legislation on Obesity Prevention and Control

Find the program including speaker names here.

From August 14’th a webcast from this event will be available here.

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Transport Knowledge and Planning Practice – Linking Academia and Practice in a 3-day Seminar

The University of Amsterdam is organizing an international seminar on the gap between academically developed transportation models and daily urban planning practice. In a three-day set up October 14-16th 2009, we will bring together leading scholars and practitioners (both model developers and urban planners) that have dealt with, or are dealing, with bridging this gap.

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Pedestrians, cyclists among main road traffic crash victims

The first global WHO assessment of road safety finds that almost half of the estimated 1.27 million people who die in road traffic crashes every year are pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists.

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Kids and the Media: What We Know, What We Don’t Know, and What We Need to Find Out (Quickly!)

The media may influence virtually every health concern that parents and pediatricians have about children and adolescents — aggressive behavior, drug use, early sexual activity, obesity, eating disorders, school achievement, language development, suicide.

Considerable research has been done in the past 50 years that documents the media’s ability to teach children and adolescents attitudes and beliefs that may influence their behavior. Media can also be powerfully pro-social.

Clinicians need to understand the potential of media to influence young people and ask 2 key questions at health visits: How much entertainment screen time does the child or teen spend per day? Is there a TV set or Internet connection in the child’s or teen’s bedroom? Public policy suggestions for mediating harmful effects of media are also presente

Read more See also Health Scout.

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Stair Design and Obesity: The Need for a Change

Some simple changes in the design and location of staircases could help to make buildings more “physical activity friendly” and contribute to the fight against obesity, according to a new article in the Southern Medical Journal.

Changing stair design to encourage their use requires a set of interventions on both architectural and legislative levels to create physical environments that support active living.

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