Creative Solutions at the Heart of Rural Communities: Interview with M. Renee Umstattd Meyer

Views from the Front Porch: Rural Physical Activity

Full blog originally posted to the JPHMP Direct website.

Views from the Front Porch: Rural Physical Activity

PARC’s co-Director Renee Umstattd Meyer recently sat down with JPHMP Direct and Christiaan Abildso to participate in the podcast Views from the Front Porch: Rural Physical Activity.

In her interview, Renee discussed her passion for rural active living and the JHU-Baylor PARC research study on rural Play Streets.

Both Christiaan and Renee got to sit out on their own front porches and discuss this important topic. Check out the video or audio recording!

NRPA Open Space Radio Features PARC

NRPA Open Space Radio Features PARC

The following blog post is reprinted from Open Space, the official blog and podcast of NRPA. 

Does Our Built Environment Impact Our Health Behaviors? — Episode 028

By Cort Jones | Posted on October 22, 2018

On today’s episode of Open Space Radio, we’re joined by Aaron Hipp, an Associate Professor of Community Health and Sustainability at NC State University’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management.

Aaron is currently conducting research on topics such as how, where, and why our public built environments impact health behaviors such as physical activity and recreation, and the effect of the environment where we spend most of our time, such as work, school and sleep, on leisure time physical activity.

On the show, we discuss how, statistically, children and people of color have the lowest rates of physical activity as compared to other demographics, and this lack of physical activity has large implications on the health outcomes of communities of color. We examine why these disparities in physical activity exist between demographics, and how parks and improved accessibility to them can be used to close this gap.

We also take a look at Aaron’s work on a study through the Physical Activity Research Center (PARC), which is focused on understanding how parks are used by children in communities of color. The study focused on evaluating park use through observation, intercept surveys and community surveys.

Aaron also gives some advice on how a time and resource limited agency can perform this type of research through:

  • Not being afraid to move forward
  • A systematic/purposeful approach
  • Partnerships/collaborations

Listen to the episode for the full story.

Active Living Champion Dr. James F. Sallis Receives 2018 Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award

Jim Sallis Wins 2018 Fries Health Education Award

Congrats to PARC’s co-Director Jim Sallis on his recent award! Dr. Sallis is co-PI on our UC San Diego project examining summertime physical activity patterns in diverse, lower-income adolescent populations.

The below press release is reprinted from the CDC Foundation website

James F. Sallis, PhD, a distinguished professor emeritus of family medicine and public health at the University of California San Diego and professorial fellow at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, today was presented the 2018 Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award. This year’s award was presented to Sallis at the 69th Annual Meeting of the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). The CDC Foundation with the James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation honored Sallis for building an interdisciplinary field of active living research, identifying solutions to the global problem of physical inactivity and translating research findings from the built environment into action.

The Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award, first presented in 1992, recognizes a health educator who has made a substantial contribution to advancing the field of health education or health promotion through research, program development or program delivery.

For 15 years Sallis directed the Active Living Research program for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which support research and promotes activity-friendly communities. His primary research interests are promoting physical activity and providing evidence to guide policy and environmental strategies to improve physical activity, sedentary behavior, nutrition, and obesity, with an emphasis on youth. His health improvement programs have been studied and used in health care settings, schools, universities and companies.

“Dr. Sallis has devoted his career to the study of physical activity and his research has led to more healthful environments and more active lifestyles,” said Lawrence Green, DrPH, ScD (Hon), Chair, James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation Board of Directors. “We are grateful for his work in advocating for more active-friendly environments and honored to present him with the Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award.”

In the United States, the vast majority of adults do not meet the physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes per week. Inactive lifestyles put most adults at risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, numerous cancers, osteoporosis and psychological disorders. Physical activity can be effective in managing all phases of chronic disease. Research suggests that sprawling cities, often obligating residents to drive frequently, offer fewer opportunities than compact urban areas for walking or biking.

As a pioneer in the active living research field, Sallis has developed critical evidence about the role of built and social environments in shaping physical activity patterns. His work has contributed to movements such as Complete Street Policies, which encourage a safe, comfortable, integrated transportation network for all users, the Urban Land Institute’s Building Healthy Places Initiative, the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ standards for pedestrian and bicycle-oriented streets, and the American Institute of Architects’ Design and Health Initiative. These initiatives have influenced city planning and transportation policies and decision making that have led to improvements in health and more accessible, safer physical activity options.

Sallis developed intervention programs in school and community settings, including the award-winning SPARK (Sports Play and Active Recreation for Kids) physical activity program that has led to increased activity among more than 1.5 million kids at school. SPARK creates, implements and evaluates programs to improve health and lifelong wellness.

He launched the International Physical Activity and Environment Network (IPEN) with the goal to stimulate collaborative research in physical activity and the environment, develop common methods and measures, mentor researchers, and bring together data from multiple countries for joint analyses. Approximately 20 countries from all continents are currently engaged in collaborative studies.

Sallis is the author of more than 700 scientific publications and one of the world’s most cited social science authors. He has received numerous recognitions including the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Lifetime Achievement Award and TIME’s designation as an “obesity warrior.”

The Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award was named in memory of Elizabeth Fries, who was a professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University and co-director of the Massey Cancer Center Outreach Program. She made many important contributions to program development, implementation and evaluation. The Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award recipients receive a $25,000 prize. The award and lecture have been presented annually at the SOPHE conference, which draws approximately 900 health education researchers, faculty, practitioners and students for the latest research and practice in health education. Founded in 1950, SOPHE’s mission is to provide global leadership in health promotion and to promote the health of society.

The James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation is a nonprofit corporation incorporated in 1991. The mission of the Foundation is to identify and honor individuals, organizations or institutions that have made great contributions to the health of the public. The Foundation seeks to reward accomplishment rather than promise, practicality rather than theory.

The CDC Foundation is honored to partner with the James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation, which established and funds the award. As of 2016, the CDC Foundation manages and administers the Fries Foundation’s public health award programs, which include the Fries Prize for Improving Health and the Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award.

Anna Kim Wins 2018 Dale Prize

Anna Kim Wins 2018 Dale Prize

Congrats to PARC’s Anna Kim on her recent award! Dr. Kim is co-PI on our Georgia Tech project which assesses how training youth to be advocates for changes in the built environment can foster health and produce positive policy and environmental change.

The below announcement is reprinted from the Georgia Tech School of City and Regional Planning website.

Atlanta, GA
Georgia Tech School of City and Regional Planning Assistant Professor Anna Kim was announced the Scholar Prize winner for the 2018 William R. and June Dale Prize for Excellence in Urban and Regional Planning. This year’s award theme was on planning with immigrants in communities and regions.

Kim’s research examines the blurred boundaries between informal and formal jobs for low wage immigrant workers, and how these semi-formal employment arrangements translate into strategies for local economic growth in ethnic neighborhoods. Her studio course projects include work in the greater Atlanta area and supports efforts to understand immigrant communities.

“I am honored to receive the Dale Prize in Planning Excellence. To have received the prize in recognition of my research and on-the-ground practice of ’planning with immigrant communities and regions’ is wonderful, and it’s exciting to see broader recognition of this in our field. Recently, my studio graduate students were also awarded by the Georgia Planning Association for our work with refugees in Clarkston, and I’m proud to see how passionate planners are about planning with and for diverse communities and making sure that all voices are heard,” said Kim.

The Dale Prize is awarded by California State Polytechnic University, Pomona’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning and invites recipients to meet with students and to speak at a two-day colloquium held on campus.

Welcome to the Physical Activity Research Center’s Website

Welcome to the Physical Activity Research Center’s Website

We are very excited to welcome you to our website for the Physical Activity Research Center, or PARC, as we like to call ourselves.

PARC is a collaboration of four leading universities funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to build the evidence base for policy changes and practices that will help make physical activity part of everyday life for all American children, with a special focus on children who typically have fewer opportunities to be active.

On the PARC website, you’ll find project profiles on the four main studies of PARC as well as on several commissioned studies that are intended to help address the evidence needs of physical activity advocates who are transforming communities across the nation to make it easier for everyone to be active. Please check back often to find updates on each of the studies or follow PARC on social media.

Our site also provides the PARC research agenda, which was produced in 2016 with input from experts across many sectors and disciplines and is the basis for the four main PARC studies. In the Spring of 2018 we’ll be updating the research agenda in the hopes that researchers, advocates, and funders may be encouraged to generate new studies to help address the epidemic of physical inactivity among our youth as well as inequitable access to physical activity. If you’d like to contribute to updating the research agenda, please contact the PARC Coordinating Center.

Later in 2018, research results from all the studies initiated under PARC will be available. We’re planning an array of communication resources that include not only research briefs, but infographics, toolkits, and helpful resources from community partners. Our blog will also provide timely updates on each of the studies, so please subscribe to the PARC mailing list at the bottom of this page.

We often get the question if PARC is the new name for Active Living Research (ALR).  The answer is NO. But research is the backbone of both programs and an important part of the public debate about how to maintain healthy environments for kids and families. The difference is that PARC is focused on conducting research, specifically on children. ALR, a leading resource for physical activity and the built environment, is focused more broadly on all populations. Today, ALR no longer generates new research, but does continue to share resources from a variety of collaborators.

For all of us at PARC, there is no greater joy than seeing kids being physically active in all kinds of settings. We know the benefits are many-fold and we look forward to connecting with you to ensure that all kids have access to opportunities to move.

Nisha Botchwey and Jim Sallis
Co-Directors of PARC