Blueprint Partners Progress Newsletter: Spring 2002


Newsletter, Vol. I, Spring 2002


Images of Aging Photo Contest
Sedentary Seniors
New Government Report Shows Latest Stats on Leisure-Time Physical Activity
National Health, Aging and Physical Activity Observances
Promote Your Organization on the Blueprint Partners Website
Help Spread the Word
Research Abstracts from the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
Upcoming Meetings for Blueprint Partners
Local Initiatives on Aging and Physical Activity
In the News

Images of Aging Photo Contest

We’re looking for photos of older adults age 55 or older actively involved in swimming, biking, walking, running, weight training, dancing, gardening or other physical activity. Photos will be judged on composition and quality. The deadline to enter the contest is Aug. 1, 2002.

The first place winner will receive $200 in Human Kinetics publications. The second place prize is a publication of choice. All entries are winners since they will be available to National Blueprint Partner organizations for use on websites and in publications, slide presentations, and other media.

Too Many Older Americans Are Sedentary

Scientific evidence clearly shows that regular physical activity reduces the risk of dying prematurely and developing diabetes, high blood pressure and colon cancer. In addition, it reduces the feelings of depression and anxiety, helps control weight, helps maintain healthy bones and muscles, and promotes psychological well-being. Still, many older Americans live sedentary lives. Consider that:

  • 38 percent of the population age 55 and older is sedentary.
  • 33 percent of men and 50 percent of women age 75 and older engage in no physical activity.
  • 47 percent of white women age 75 and older and an alarming 61 percent of black women age 75 and older are inactive.
  • 88 percent of Americans over age 65 have at least one chronic health condition that, in many cases, may be improved or managed with physical activity.

New U.S. Report of Leisure-Time Physical Activity Among Adults

Seven in 10 American adults are not regularly active during their leisure time, and 4 out of 10 are not active at all, according to a recently released government report. Men were more likely than women to engage in some physical activity, and nearly twice as many young adults were physically active compared with older adults.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report from surveys of over 68,000 households in 1997-98 also found that adults with incomes at least four times the poverty level were twice as likely to be active as adults with incomes below the poverty level. Adults who live in the suburbs are more likely to be physically active than adults in urban or rural areas.

Lack of physical activity contributes to an estimated 300,000 preventable deaths annually in the U.S. from diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

National Health, Aging and Physical Activity Observances: Spring 2002


Cancer Control Month
Sponsor: American Cancer Society

National Occupational Therapy Month
Sponsor: The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.


National Arthritis Month
Sponsor: National Arthritis Foundation

Mental Health Month
Sponsors: National Mental Health Association and National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare

National Osteoporosis Prevention Month
Sponsor: National Osteoporosis Foundation

Older Americans Month
Sponsor: Administration on Aging

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
Sponsor: President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

National Running and Fitness Week: May 12-18
Sponsor: American Running Association and American Medical Athletic Association

National Women’s Health Week: May 12-18
Sponsor: Office on Women’s Health

National Employee Health and Fitness Day: May 15
Sponsor: National Association for Health and Fitness

National Senior Health and Fitness Day: May 29
Sponsor: Mature Market Resource Center


National Men’s Health Week: June 10-16
Sponsor: National Men’s Health Foundation

Information from the National Blueprint Partners website can be used in promoting these national observances.

Promote Your Organization on the Blueprint Partners Website

The Blueprint Partner organizations have joined together for a common goal to outline strategies that lead to increasing physical activity among older adults. Each organization has publications, programs and resources that could be compiled and used to advance the Blueprint mission. The Blueprint Partners Support website is designed to become a clearinghouse for information on aging and physical activity. Information from every participating partner is important to the success of this site.

Here are ways your organization can promote its resources and contribute to the website:

  • Submit details about upcoming conferences and other events.
  • Send press releases about your organization for the media section.
  • Let us know about new publications, websites, programs, etc. on aging and physical activity to add to the website.
  • Take a few minutes to write a message for the Blueprint bulletin board.
  • Submit items for the next online newsletter.
  • Everyone loves a human-interest story. Send us information about older adults who may be considered role models for their love of a sport and commitment to physical activity.

Send information to Information can also be mailed to 126 Freer Hall, 906 S. Goodwin, Urbana, IL 61801.

Spread the Word

The collective voice of Blueprint Partner organizations can reach far and wide, bringing the issues of aging and physical activity to the forefront. Here are suggestions for your organization to bring the National Blueprint to the public’s attention.

  • Post information about the Blueprint on your organization’s website and include the URL:
  • Share progress about the Blueprint with members through organization newsletters.
  • Use the national observances, such as Older Americans Month, as an opportunity to highlight the issues.
  • Distribute press releases on your organization’s active involvement in the Blueprint Partners Project.

Two Research Abstracts from the Latest Issue of Journal of Aging and Physical Activity

Mary Ann Kluge. (2002). Understanding the Essence of a Physically Active Lifestyle: A Phenomenological Study of Women 65 and Older. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 10 (1).

This phenomenological study explored the nature and meaning of being physically active from the standpoint of 15 women age 65 and older. The analysis presents a multitextured description of how 15 women maintained a physically active lifestyle for most of their lives. It provides information about why 15 older women value being physically active and how they negotiated a physically active lifestyle throughout their lives. Findings suggest that continuity of a physically active lifestyle was not a luxury these women experienced over the life course. Being physically active was affected by gender socialization, ageist attitudes, and physical challenges. Nonetheless, these long-lived, physically active women hung on to a concept of themselves as physically active; they demonstrated that active is an attitude and moving is a consequence. They have learned to improvise and, now more than ever, have taken control of their lives by being planful about being physically active.

Aphrodite Stathi, Kenneth R. Fox, James McKenna. (2002). Physical Activity and Dimensions of Subjective Well-Being in Older Adults. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 10 (1).

Using a qualitative approach, the dimensions of subjective well-being of active older adults were outlined and ways identified through which they might be influenced by participation in physical activities. One-to-one and group interviews were used to collect the data. Using cross-case analysis, 17 main themes were identified. The following main dimensions emerged: developmental, material, physical, mental, and social well-being. The findings indicated that physical activity influences all dimensions of the subjective well-being of older adults, with the exception of material well-being. Physical activity appears to contribute to the mental health of older adults through maintenance of a busy and active life, mental alertness, positive attitude toward life and avoidance of stress, negative function, and isolation. The complexity of subjective well-being and the multiple roles of physical activity stress the need to extend qualitative research to sedentary older adults and the institutionalized elderly to explore the relationship between well-being and physical activity in later life.

Upcoming Meetings for Blueprint Partners

May 29–June 1, 2002
49th ACSM Annual Meeting
St. Louis, MO
During the conference, Blueprint Partners will participate in a business meeting.

October 3-4, 2002
2nd Annual Blueprint Conference
AARP Building
Washington, D.C.

Local Initiatives on Aging and Physical Activity

Living Well After 50: A Coalition for Active Aging

Location: Tippecanoe County, Indiana
Coalition Steering Committee Partners: Purdue University A.H. Ismail Center for Health, Exercise and Nutrition, the Department of Health and Kinesiology, Area IV Agency on Aging and Community Action Programs, the Senior Center of Tippecanoe, the Purdue Gerontology Program and the Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department.

Twenty-six local organizations participated in a summit meeting this winter to discuss potential partnerships and action plans for the Greater Lafayette community. The mission of the coalition is to identify and bring together community resources to define, create, promote and sustain activities, programs and environments that support lifelong health behaviors among residents 50 years and older.

The newly formed coalition will strive to identify the coalition partners, resources, strategies and activities that are currently available to address the health and fitness of older adults, create specific action plans, and identify extramural funding to support these efforts.

Since the initial meeting, the coalition has created a newsletter and a list serve. A website is in progress and a survey to assess the needs of adults over age 50 in the county is being developed. At the next coalition meeting, representatives from a wider variety of potential delivery channels will be invited and data will be collected on services and programs already available in the community.

For more information, contact Roseann Lyle, e-mail:

Active Options—an innovative fitness program for older adults developed by the Foothills, CO Park and Recreation District.

In The News

A new Nationwide Health Tracking Act was introduced to Congress in March, advocating that $270 million is spent on a national environmental-health tracking system to integrate local, state and federal public health systems. Senators Hillary Clinton of New York and Harry Reid fo Nevada introduced the act to upgrade the current system for monitoring chronic diseases, such as cancer and asthma.

The bill proposes establishing five biomedical monitoring laboratories and five environmental-health centres of excellence.

Source: Nature, 416,(2002)

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.