Author: nnk44813

Commit to inclusion in physical activity & public health

Fitness Professionals for persons with disability

According to research, 1 in 5 adults or over 53 million people in the US live with a disability. Additionally, adults with disabilities are 3 times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer than adults without disabilities. Half of all adults with disabilities get no aerobic physical activity, which puts them more at risk of chronic diseases. To develop a truly facilitating community, health promotion activities need to be as accessible to people with disability as they are to people without disability.

The National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) is a public health practice and resource center for information on physical activity, health promotion, and disability, serving persons with physical, sensory and cognitive disability across the lifespan. This webinar discusses ways of addressing inclusion as per the resources provided by the NCHPAD.

First, the NCHPAD provides an Inclusive Community Health Implementation Package (iCHIP) to help address the inequities faced by people with disability. The iCHIP features interactive tools to help community health practitioners, organizations, and coalitions incorporate, enhance, and promote inclusion across all aspects of the community.

The package contains a Community Health Inclusion Index,  a tool used to help communities gather information on the extent to which there are health living resources that are inclusive of all members of the community. Secondly, the package contains the Community Health Inclusion Sustainability plan, which focuses on developing an inclusive health coalition for community engagement. An inclusive health coalition is a way of creating local level sustainability and inclusion. The purpose of an inclusive health coalition is to remove barriers to access for people with disabilities in community health, physical activity, and nutrition organizations, programs, activities, events, etc.

Third, the package contain the Community Health Inclusion Communication Scorecard that allows communities to evaluate their level of inclusive media and communication materials, and receive a customized set of recommendations in areas that need improvement. Consequently, the NCHDAP provides the Community Health Inclusion Training and Technical Assistance to educate disability and non-disability service providers in community health inclusion. Lastly, the NCHPAD provides Community Health Inclusion Recommended Policies, which is a set of disability health inclusion policy guidelines and training manual describing how to change local and state policies/plans to increase community health inclusion.

The NCHPAD also has an interactive website to encourage communication between them and healthcare providers, individuals and caregivers, public health professionals and educators. Online chats, social media accounts are available for quick communication. The NCHPAD also provides ways to customize the inclusion plan according to the individuals needs. An organization with an already existing plan will have a different inclusion plan than an organization with no plan at all. Services provided by the NCHPAD are crucial and health practitioners need to incorporate recommended guidelines if interested in inclusion for their practice. The fact that NCHPAD’s inclusion package provides local level resources makes it a more suitable approach for health practitioners to influence individual behavior change.


Fitness Trackers Might Help Us Live Longer (if Only We Used Them)

Thinking of getting a loved one a fitness tracker this Christmas? You might want to read on this first. According to this article published in the New York Times, adults who meet the physical activity recommendation of 150 minutes per week are less likely to die prematurely from cardiovascular diseases than their counterparts who do not meet those requirements.

This information is based of a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, where researchers compared the activity tracker results with self-reports of 4,000 middle-aged men and women who wore fitness monitors for a week. The study then followed the participants up to 10 years, checking their names against those in the National Death Registry to determine whether objectively meeting the 150-minute per week guideline affected how long people lived. According to the results of the study, moderate and moderate to vigorous physical activity from the trackers were generally associated with lower all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality. The published article however failed to mention the limitation of the study. The fitness tracker was only worn for a week, which might be too short of a time to reflect long-patterns of behavior. The fitness tracker also undercounted some activities such as weight lifting thus likely classifying motionless standing as sedentary behavior.

The article goes further and cites another study carried out in Singapore where 800 office workers were given activity trackers and asked to meet certain goals. The workers were divided into groups where some received cash to reach those goals, another earning money for their favorite charity, and the last group was told to meet the targets simply because it was a good for their health. At a six months follow up, those who received cash exercised the least while those who did it for their own good were exercising more now than at the last check. The study however did not find any evidence of improvements in health outcomes across the different groups. This definitely calls into question the value of these devices for health promotion.

Even with insufficient evidence to make a proper claim of the impact of fitness trackers, the studies do show that activity monitors have the potential to influence how long and well we live through physical activity. Generally, physical activity has been shown to have benefits especially ones related to cardiovascular diseases. Health practitioners can use this studies and still recommend the use of fitness trackers to help clients monitor their physical activity, as long as they also advise the clients to not only depend on the fitness tracker as a measure of their health.

Food and Beverages companies finding creative ways to reach kids online.

Have you ever come across a digital Valentine Day’s card made by Taco Bell reading “Nacho average Valentine’ or have you ever voted on a new potato-chip flavor? Probably yes, especially for children and adolescents. It seems food and beverages companies have found clever ways to reach children and teenagers, encouraging them to interact with a brand and promote it to their friends. A famous example is the Mountain Dew’s DEWmocracy campaign, in which people played an online game to create a new soda flavor. In the next phase, participants were encouraged to recruit others to vote for their favorite flavor finalist. Not long after that mountain dew was ranked first on the tween’s list of “Newest Beverages” they had tried.

According to the article published on The Washington Post, marketing junk food to kids is proven to be effective at increasing child’s preference and consumption of advertised foods. Some of the ways used by these companies include games, animation and virtual realities that convince consumers that what they are watching or playing is not marketing. Food companies have created adver-games, where products were predominantly featured, codes to get to the next level were hidden in food products, and players could enter a new area only by inviting their friends to play. Additionally, using social networks brands track customers on social media to understand their purchasing behavior and pinpoint peer influences. For example, Mountain Dew created an exclusive, invitation-only social network for influential users, where the most loyal fans could endorse products.

The article in based off a paper submitted to The American Journal of Public Health, which posits that many companies realize that children and adolescents do not have the capacity to rationally consider advertising appeals and reject those not in their long-term interest or the self-regulatory abilities to resist the immediate temptation of the highly palatable foods typically promoted. Through social learning theory, continued exposure to advertising that promotes foods and beverages as fun, socially desirable and commonplace, with no negative consequences from consuming them, can influence children’s attitudes and consumption of the unhealthy foods commonly promoted. The findings of the study supports the published article and is in agreement with the reported results.

Food companies claim that the commercial speech doctrine allows them to openly and legally target these products to young people using sophisticated psychological techniques that take advantage of what advertising is how it affects consumer behavior. Health practitioners should fill in the gap by advising parents and guardians to monitor their children and adolescents online activity. Health practitioners can also give recommendation on resources that educate both parents and children on tactics brands use to reach younger audiences. So next time your child shows an interest in a certain unhealthy food, take the time to discover where they first came across the product.


  1. Harris, J. L., & Graff, S. K. (2012). Protecting Young People From Junk Food Advertising: Implications of Psychological Research for First Amendment Law. American Journal of Public Health, 102(2), 214–222.