Blueprint Partners Progress Newsletter: Summer 2002

Newsletter, Vol. 1, Issue 2, Summer 2002


Save the Date! Blueprint Conference in October
Note to Blueprint Partners
Images of Aging Photos Now on the Blueprint Website
New Initiative Promotes Active Living
AARP Survey Outlines Exercise Attitudes and Behaviors
ASA Develops Model Health Promotion Campaign
Local Initiatives on Aging and Physical Activity
New Research Abstracts
In the News
National Health, Aging and Physical Activity Observances for Summer/Fall

National Blueprint Partners Conference
When: Oct. 3-4, 2002
Where: AARP Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
Why: In 2000-01, partners developed the National Blueprint document to outline barriers and strategies for promoting physical activity. At the October conference, partners will work with conference chair Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, Ph.D., to identify specific action plans to advance Blueprint activities. Lodging and travel expenses will be covered for one representative from each Blueprint partner organization to attend. Show your support for the initiative by attending the conference this October.

Mark your calendar now for October 3-4!

Note to Blueprint Partners

You have invested time and effort on projects and programs relating to physical activity, aging or health. Others can benefit from your hard work. Send us information about your efforts. We will post press releases and links to program information, new publications, brochures, fliers, public information, aging tips and other resources. This information is valuable and can be used to advance the Blueprint. Send resource information to Information can also be mailed to 126 Freer Hall, 906 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801.

Images of Aging Photos Now on the Blueprint Website

Photo contest images of active older adults are now available on the website, under the role models section. Blueprint partners can download the images and use them for publications, slide presentations, websites, and other purposes.

New Initiative Promotes Active Living

AARP and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have launched Active for Life, a joint campaign aimed at reducing premature death and disease through physical activity. The program seeks to increase the number of people age 50+ who engage in at least 30 minutes of activity a minimum of five days a week.

Richmond, VA and Madison, WI have been selected as pilot test cities with major advertising, media, advocacy and community-based interventions over the next year. The two-city campaign is supported by a $4.3 million grant to AARP from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and matched by $2.5 million from AARP.

The program has engaged Richmond and Madison community organizations representing city health departments; recreation, parks and fitness centers; faith-based groups; non-profit organizations and representatives from local businesses. With local AARP support, these community partners are developing and implementing multi-media campaigns, developing and distributing community resource directories, and building physical activity websites.

The Be Active for Life Handbook, a self-directed consumer guide with tools and strategies to help people become more physically active, will be distributed. Volunteers in each community will audit their city’s walk ability and bike ability and advocate for needed changes. For more information about the program, visit

AARP Survey Outlines Exercise Attitudes and Behaviors

Exercise is the “best thing” that Americans age 50-79 can do for their health, say 63 percent of respondents in a new survey of 2,000 people from AARP. Most believe a person their age should exercise at least three times weekly, preferably from 20 to 30 minutes each time.

The overriding motivation to exercise was to lose weight, especially for women (27%), but also to stay fit, healthy and flexible (18%), for non-specific health problems (10%) and because of heart problems (6%). Non-exercisers claim they have many reasons for not exercising, including health problems, lack of motivation, travel, time constraints, poor location or surroundings, and inexperience. The most common health problems that pose as a barrier to exercise are arthritis (58%), chronic pain (46%), injury (41%), physical disability (36%) and heart problems (30%).

Half of the older adults surveyed would be “very” or “somewhat interested” to learn about at-home exercise programs. Nearly half would welcome opportunities to attend exercise classes for people of the same age group and to obtain a free exercise assessment and instructions from a physical activity professional. Older adults would like to learn how to exercise safely, keep motivated and set realistic goals.

For more information about the survey, contact AARP.

ASA Develops a Model Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Campaign

The American Society on Aging is partnering with the Roybal Center on Applied Gerontology at California State University in Los Angeles to launch a five-year initiative, “Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health.” Training modules in health promotion, funded by the Centers for Disease Control, have been created for service providers in aging.

The information will be disseminated by a network of state and local health departments, State Departments on Aging and Area Agencies on Aging, managed care organizations, senior housing complexes, national aging organizations, health care providers, aging service providers and businesses. Information about the project is available online at

Local Initiatives on Aging and Physical Activity

The WellnessWorks Health and Fitness Partnership
Location: Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
Partners: Milwaukee County Department on Aging and the University of Wisconsin –Milwaukee Department of Human Kinetics in the College of Health Sciences

Through this partnership, Milwaukee County elders, age 50 and older, receive free health and fitness programming offered through three local senior centers. In addition, University of Wisconsin students get direct experience implementing older adult health and fitness programming in a community setting, and research faculty work with students to assess outcomes of health and fitness programming on the physical, emotional and spiritual health of elders.

From 1999 through 2001 over 400 culturally diverse elders, 50 students and seven faculty/staff researchers participated in the project. The retention rate for senior participants is 70 to 80 percent. Outcomes assessment of this group indicates significant increases in participants’ strength and endurance and decreases in levels of depression. Future studies will investigate how improvements in function translate into everyday living.

Major support comes from State of Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services grants totaling over $950,000. Bally Total Fitness, Inc. has donated equipment and the Keiser Corporation has also provided equipment, as well as technical support and educational materials.

For more information, contact:
Cynthia Hasbrook, Professor of Human Kinetics and Program Director
(414) 229-5677

Lifetime Fitness Program
Location: Initially, Seattle/King County, Washington. The program has expanded to California, Michigan, New York, Maine, and Georgia in the U.S., and to Stockholm and Karlstad, Sweden.
Partners: Senior Services of Seattle/King County and Group Health Cooperative, University of Washington Health Promotion Research Center.

In 1993, the Lifetime Fitness Program was implemented at four senior centers to test the program’s effectiveness as a pilot study. Evaluations showed that study subjects improved significantly in physical and social functioning. Due to increased demand for the program, funding was obtained to make the transition from a research to a community-based program.

By January 2002, the program was offered in 33 senior centers and senior residences in the Puget Sound region. The one-hour exercise routines consist of warm-ups, balance exercises, strengthening routines using hand and foot weights, stretching, endurance or cardio-fitness activities, and a cool-down. Most participants attend classes two to three times weekly.

Program materials available for purchase include an instructor’s manual, listserve, and training assistance. A national scientific advisory committee provides feedback and identifies areas for improvement. The fitness instructors are certified and have received a five-hour training on the program curriculum. Seniors enjoy the social environment and instruction in physical activity for improved health and wellness.

For more information, contact Susan Snyder, Project Director, Senior Services of Seattle/King County.

Research Abstracts

Americans may watch more television after they retire, but they also increase in sport and exercise participation, according to a 2002 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The abstract is available at:

Debra J. Rose. (2002). Promoting Functional Independence Among “At Risk” and Physically Frail Older Adults Through Community-Based Fall-Risk-Reduction Programs. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 10 (2).

In recent years, a number of research investigations have been conducted in an effort to determine whether declining balance and mobility among older adults can be reversed or at least slowed. Unfortunately, the results of a number of these studies have not yielded positive outcomes. Three reasons are forwarded to account for these unsuccessful outcomes: the lack of a contemporary theory-based approach to the problem, the failure to use multiple and diverse measures of balance and mobility, and the failure to design multidimensional interventions that target the actual source(s) of the balance or mobility-related impairments. A model fall-risk-reduction program designed to address each of the shortcomings associated with previous research findings is presented. The program is group based and suitable for implementation in community-based and residential care facilities.

In the News

Physical activity continues to have important long-range benefits, even when engaged late in life, according to an eight-year study of 357 adults with an average age of 78. Researchers from Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio tracked the residents of a retirement community, finding that exercise was associated with a lower risk of death, less disability and an overall better outlook on life.

Over time, the residents’ well-being tended to decline. However, higher exercise levels at the start of the study appeared to mitigate this decline. Researchers say their study is among the first to show the long-term and multidimensional benefits of exercise for the very old. The findings were published in the May/June issue of the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. Source: Reuters Health

National Observances for Summer/Fall

National Therapeutic Recreation Week – July 14-20
Sponsors: National Therapeutic Recreation Society, National Recreation and Park Association

Healthy Aging Month – September
Sponsor: Educational Television Network, Inc.

Family Health and Fitness Days USA – September 29-30
Sponsor: Health Information Resource Center

Family Health Month – October
Sponsor: American Academy of Family Physicians

Health Literacy Month – October
Sponsor: Health Literacy Consulting

National Physical Therapy Month – October
Sponsor: American Physical Therapy Association

American Diabetes Month – November
Sponsor: American Diabetes Association

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.