Blueprint Partners Progress Newsletter: February 2004

February 2004

In This Issue:

Note to Partners
AOA Deputy Assistant Director’s Speech from the Blueprint Conference
NCOA and National Blueprint Office Partner on Prevention Center for the Elderly
Fifty-Plus Fitness Weekend, March 12-14
AARP Quality of Life Index
New Resources from Blueprint Partners
Mini-Grant Update: Comprehensive Health Education Foundation

Note to Partners

During the 2004 Blueprint Conference in January, many partners expressed an interest in sharing information and exchanging ideas to keep the momentum going following the conference. This newsletter is a means of providing details about what your organization is doing in the area of physical activity and older adults. Please take a few minutes this week to send an e-mail to Lisa Sheppard at the National Blueprint Office ( with a paragraph or two about how you are involved in Blueprint-related work. If you developed a one-page handout for the conference, simply e-mail that document. This information can be shared in future newsletters and will also be posted on your organization’s web page at

Coming soon…the 2004 Blueprint Conference Consensus Document. Look for e-mails in the near future for your opportunity to review and respond to the document.

AOA Deputy Assistant Director Edwin Walker: Speech from the National Blueprint Conference

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention: A Key Element to Promoting Balance in Long-Term Care

NCOA and National Blueprint Office Partner on Prevention Center for the Elderly

The Administration on Aging awarded grants to increase access for older people to programs that have proven to be effective in reducing the risk of disease, injury, and disability. As part of this program, The National Council on the Aging with the assistance of the National Blueprint Office, is creating a National Technical Assistance Center on Prevention for the Elderly to serve as a clearinghouse of information and resources and to support the 12 local community grantees. The center will focus on disease management, nutrition, physical activity, falls prevention, and medication management.

21st Annual Fifty-Plus Fitness Weekend­, March 12-14

Art Linkletter kicks off the fitness weekend at Stanford University with his address, “Old Age is Not for Sissies.”

AARP Quality of Life Index

In the recently released annual index for quality of life of people aged 50 and older, AARP reported that the percentage of those who engage in physical activity increased two percentage points to 25.4 percent. However, that still includes only one-quarter of adults age 50+. Most recent figures show that only 21 percent of the age 65+ group engage in physical activity.

New Resources from Blueprint Partners

CDC released a MMWR report on strength training for older adults. Only 5.6 percent of the study respondents met the national objectives for both physical activity and strength training. Strength Training Among Adults Over Age 65

Partnership for Prevention developed a strategic plan to increase walking and biking among older adults in local communities.

This Partnership for Prevention report provides examples of community programs and guidance on how to evaluate community efforts.

American Society on Aging will release a home-based exercise program this spring in print and online designed to boost the physical functioning of older drivers. Exercises for Keeping the Keys Longer: A Workbook for Older Drivers, focuses on strengthening and stretching the upper and lower body with functional applications for driving.

American College of Sports Medicine offers a free searchable online database of ACSM-certified health/fitness professionals. Searches can be conducted by the level of certification or education a trainer holds, and their geographical location.

ACSM also released two new training guides available online, includingSelecting and Effectively Using a Personal Trainer and Effectively Using a Health/Fitness Facility.

Mini-Grant Update: Comprehensive Health Education Foundation, Seattle, WA

In the summer of 2003, Comprehensive Health Education Foundation (CHEF) and the Healthy Aging Partnership (HAP) launched a pilot program, Sound Steps, designed to encourage sedentary adults age 50+ to walk for fun and fitness. The program was based at six Seattle community centers that operated senior adult fitness programs. In its first year, Sound Steps attracted 500 participants. Six senior adult program staff from Seattle Parks and Recreation and 21 volunteers were trained to implement the program.

To evaluate the effectiveness of the Sound Steps program, the University of Washington Health Promotion Research Center (HPRC), a HAP member organization, collected both qualitative and quantitative information from the participants. A baseline questionnaire completed at registration and walking logs provided quantitative data. In addition, HPRC conducted six focus groups of organized walkers from six of the community centers and interviewed 53 individuals.

Benefits from Sound Steps included:

  • Increased physical activity – Many people reported that having an organized program motivated them to walk more. Among the walkers who turned in their exercise logs, self-identified walkers increased their average walking time from 30 to 39 minutes a day, and the average number of times from 3.75 to 4.19 times per week. Participants who were sedentary prior to entering the program averaged 41 minutes a day, 3.1 times per week.
  • Health improvements — Many participants reported they experienced fewer chest pains on inclines, decreased back pain, more energy, better sleep, and boosted spirits.
  • Community building – People were enthusiastic about having the program in their neighborhoods. Many connected with new walking partners.

The Blueprint Partners Project is an initiative of the Active Aging Partnership. For more information, contact the Blueprint Partnership Office at the University of Illinois Department of Kinesiology.