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IPEN/ISBNPA Week in San Diego

The week of May 19, 2014 was a big one for IPEN. The San Diego Coordinating Center was pleased to host very many IPEN investigators at our “home office” in the Hillcrest neighborhood. Members of the IPEN family from around the world were drawn to San Diego by the ISBNPA (International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity) conference that week. We were honored that several investigators came days or even weeks early to spend time with our research group, including Jo Salmon, Erica Hinckson, Neville Owen, Jasper Schipperijn, Ferdinand Salonna, Irene Esteban, Oscar Viega, Ding Ding, and Klaus Gebel. They attended IPEN and Active Living Research staff meetings, conferred with several staff, and attended trainings organized by Jacqueline Kerr on the UCSD campus. It was the first chance for many of the investigators and IPEN staff to meet each other in person. I want to touch on some of the IPEN-related highlights of the week.

The first official pair of events was Monday’s IPEN Adult Writing Retreat and IPEN Adolescent Accelerometer Training conducted by Kelli Cain. The writing retreat was productive, and investigators worked separately and together on analysis plans, drafting papers, and writing new prospectuses. Attendees appreciated the intensive and detailed instruction on all phases of accelerometer use.  We missed Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij who had to cancel her trip due to illness and death in her family. On the other hand, we had a chance to welcome new members into the IPEN family. Anna Timperio encouraged Dr. Mohan and Dr. Anjana from India to attend the IPEN meetings. They are already in touch with our other Indian colleagues Shifalika Goenke and Deepti Adlakha, so I am very hopeful that we will have an IPEN Adolescent study in India in the near future.

Here is the May 19 group.

Here is the May 19 group.

Monday evening, Shemi and I had the pleasure of hosting a party at our home. It was wonderful to have so many IPEN investigators and guests together in an informal atmosphere. After a tasty dinner, it got a bit loud because we brought out some percussion instruments so everyone could participate in the entertainment. Rodrigo and Lou were especially helpful in injecting some Brazilian rhythms and inspiring some dancing. Thanks to everyone who attended for making it a great evening and getting us energized for the rest of the week.





Scenes from the Monday night party.

Scenes from the Monday night party.

After months of planning, Tuesday’s IPEN Adolescent meeting more than met our goals. Our conference room was high-density throughout the day. I believe we had investigators from 12 countries present, which generated great energy. We started with updates from every country, and it was impressive to see the commitment, methodological rigor, and creativity being devoted to the studies. The agenda covered everything from GIS templates and sausage buffers to MAPS-Global and publication plans. It was an intensive day, but I trust everyone found it rewarding. I was especially pleased that the whole Coordinating Center staff was able to make personal connections with the investigators.

During the IPEN Adolescent meeting on Tuesday May 20, 2014.

During the IPEN Adolescent meeting on Tuesday May 20, 2014.

ISBNPA started on Wednesday with over 800 attendees. Deanna Hoelscher organized an outstanding conference. I found the opening keynote by Simon Barquera to be particularly memorable because he described several policy successes that Mexico has achieved in recent years, such as a soda tax and school food reforms, despite food industry opposition. It gave me and others hope that healthier policies can be adopted and implemented in other countries. There were many great sessions at ISBNPA, but I want to focus on two notable symposia relevant to IPEN. Erica Hinckson led a symposium on Friday on IPEN-Child that included results from built environment and physical activity studies conducted with children in several countries. Erica described her efforts to develop a collaborative IPEN-Child study that may pool data from existing studies. Please contact Erica for more information.

My personal favorite event at ISBNPA was the Saturday morning symposium organized by Delfien Van Dyck. This session was a landmark for IPEN Adult because it was the first presentation of pooled analysis results. Lead authors were Delfien Van Dyck, Ester Cerin, Jacqueline Kerr, and Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij (which I presented in her absence). Three of the papers dealt with perceived environments and various physical activity and BMI outcomes. I found the results to be strong and informative, and they validated the vision of IPEN. In my role as discussant I mentioned how it has taken us 10 years to progress from the announcement of IPEN in Mainz, Germany to the first symposium of pooled results. I showed a preview of GIS data across the 17 IPEN Adult cities that demonstrated extraordinary variation in walkability. Analyses of the GIS data will be starting very soon.  I believe the IPEN Adult study will live up to its promise, thanks to the years of hard work of talented investigators around the world and the Coordinating Center staff. Thanks to all, and the best is yet to come.

At the IPEN Adult Symposium on Saturday May 24.

At the IPEN Adult Symposium on Saturday May 24.


I was able to attend a small meeting early Saturday morning in which the leaders of several scientific organizations discussed how they could coordinate their efforts to improve the translation of physical activity and nutrition research into policy. This is the right agenda to be discussing, and I hope you will see some concrete actions coming in the next year from ISBNPA, International Society for Physical Activity and Health, Society of Behavioral Medicine, and other related groups. I commend the leaders for coming together for this noble purpose, which is certainly consistent with the goals of IPEN.

After a marathon week of meetings, interactions, and intellectual stimulation, it was time to get the body moving. Some of us organized a bicycle ride around Pacific Beach and Mission Beach on Monday May 26, which was the Memorial Day holiday.

Here are myself, Irene Esteban, Ferdinand Salonna, Javier Molina, Ana Queralt, and Oscar Viega enjoying a bike ride by the beach on Memorial Day.

2014 Publications

Updated June 8, 2015.


Sallis, J.F., Cutter, C.L., Lou, D., Spoon, C., Wilson, A.L., Ding, D., Ponkshe, P., Cervero, R. Patrick, K., Schmid, T.L., Mignano, A., and Orleans, C.T. (2014).  Active Living Research: Creating and using evidence to support childhood obesity prevention. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 46(2), 195-207. Open access. Link

Accompanied by evaluation of ALR-2 that is available through open access here.

Carlson, J.A., Mignano, A.M., Norman, G.J., McKenzie, T.L., Kerr, J., Arredondo, E.M., Madanat, H., Cain, K.L., Elder, J.P., Saelens, B.E., and Sallis, J.F. (2014). Socioeconomic disparities in elementary school practices and children’s physical activity during school. American Journal of Health Promotion, 28(3 suppl.), S47-S53. DOI: 10.4278/ajhp.130430-QUAN-206

Marques, A., Sallis, J.F., Martins, J., Diniz, J., and Carreiro da Costa, F. Correlates of urban children’s leisure-time physical activity and sedentary behaviours during school days. American Journal of Human Biology. Article first published online: 4 MAR 2014. DOI: 10.1002/ajhb.22535.  Link

Bracy, N.L., Millstein, R.A., Carlson, J.A., Conway, T.L., Sallis, J.F., Saelens, B.E., Kerr, J., Cain, K.L., Frank, L.D., and King, A.C. (2014). Is the relationship between the built environment and physical activity moderated by perceptions of crime and safety? International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical  Activity, 11:24. DOI: 10.1186/1479-5868-11-24. Link

Molina-Garcia, J., Sallis, J.F., and Castillo, I. (2014).  Active commuting and sociodemographic factors among university students in Spain.  Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 11, 359-363.

Sugiyama, T., Cerin, E., Owen, N., Oyeyemi, A.L., Conway, T.L., Van Dyck, D., Schipperijn, J., Macfarlane, D.J., Salvo, D., Reis, R.S., Mitáš, J., Sarmiento, O.L., Davey, R., Schofield, G., Orzanco-Garralda, R., and Sallis, J.F. (2014). Perceived neighborhood environment attributes associated with adults’ recreational walking: IPEN Adult study in 12 countries. Health and Place, 28, 22-30.

Molina-Garcia, J., Sallis, J.F., and Castillo, I. (2014).  Active commuting and sociodemographic factors among university students in Spain.  Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 11, 359-363.

Ding, D., Sallis, J.F., Norman, G.J., Frank, L.D., Saelens, B.E., Kerr, J., Conway, T.L., Cain, K., Hovell, M.F., Hofstetter, C.R., and King, A.C. (2014). Neighborhood environment and physical activity among older adults: Do the relationships differ by driving status? Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 22, 421-431.

Cain, K.L., Millstein, R.A., Sallis, J.F., Conway, T.L., Gavand, K., Frank, L.D., Saelens, B.E., Geremia, C.M., Chapman, J., Adams, M.A., Glanz, K., and King, A.C. (2014). Contribution of streetscape audits to explanation of physical activity in four age groups based on the microscale audit of pedestrian streetscapes (MAPS). Social Science and Medicine, 116, 82-92. Available online 24 June 2014, ISSN 0277-9536. Link

Van Dyck, D., Cerin, E., Conway, T.L., De Bourdeaudhuij, I., Owen, N., Kerr, J., Cardon, G., and Sallis, J.F. (2014).  Interacting psychosocial and environmental correlates of leisure-time physical activity: A three-country study. Health Psychology, 33(7), 699-709. Online First Publication, November 18, 2013. doi: 10.1037/a0033516

Carlson, J.A., Bracy, N.L., Sallis, J.F., Millstein, R.A., Kerr, J., Saelens, B.E., Kerr, J., Conway, T.L., Frank, L.D., Cain, K.L., and King, A. (2014). Sociodemographic moderators of relations of neighborhood safety to physical activity. Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, 46(8), 1554-1564.

Tandon, P.J., Grow, H.M., Couch, S.C., Glanz, K., Sallis, J.F., Frank, L.D., and Saelens, B.E. (2014). Physical and social home environment in relation to children’s overall and home-based physical activity and sedentary time. Preventive Medicine, 66, 39-44.

Esteban-Cornejo, I., Tejero-González, C.M., Martinez-Gomez, D., Cabanas-Sánchez, V., Fernández-Santos, J.R., Conde-Caveda, J., Sallis, J.F., and Veiga, O.L.; UP & DOWN Study Group. (2014). Objectively measured physical activity has a negative but weak association with academic performance in children and adolescents. Acta Paediatrica, 103, e501–e506.

Adams, M.A., Frank, L.D., Schipperijn, J., Smith, G., Chapman, J., Christiansen, L.B., Coffee, N., Salvo, D., du Toit, L., Jan Dygrýn, J., Hino, A.A.F., Lai, P-C., Mavoa, S., Pinzón, J.D., Van de Weghe, N., Cerin, E., Davey, R., Macfarlane, D., Owen, N., and Sallis, J.F. (2014). International variation in neighborhood walkability, transit, and recreation environments using Geographic Information Systems: The IPEN Adult Study. International Journal of Health Geographics, 13:43. doi: 10.1186/1476-072X-13-43.  Link

Carlson, J.A., Sallis, J.F., Kerr, J., Conway, T.L., Cain, K., Frank, L.D., and Saelens, B.E. (2014). Built environment characteristics and parent active transportation are associated with active travel to school in youth age 12-15. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48, 1634-1639.

Cerin, E., Cain, K.L., Conway, T.L., Van Dyck, D., Hinckson, E., Schipperijn, J., De Bourdeaudhuij, I., Owen, N., Davey, R.C., Hino, A.A.F., Mitáš, J., Orzanco-Garralda, R., Salvo, D., Sarmiento, O.L., Christiansen, L.B., Macfarlane, D., Schofield, G., and Sallis, J.F. (2014). Neighborhood environments and objectively measured physical activity in 11 countries. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 46(12), 2253-2264. Published online April 28, 2014. PubMed PMID:  24781892.

Engelberg, J.K., Carlson, J.A., Black, M.L., Ryan, S., and Sallis, J.F. (2014). Ciclovia participation in San Diego, CA: The first CicloSDias. Preventive Medicine, 69 (suppl.), S66-S73.

Cleland, C.L., Hunter, R.F., Kee, F., Cupples, M.E., Sallis, J.F., and Tully, M.A. (2014). Validity of the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ) in assessing levels and change in moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary behaviour in Northern Ireland. BMC Public Health, 14:1255 (released online December 10, 2014). Link

Non-Peer-Reviewed Papers and Commentaries

Sallis, J.F. Increasing activity, fitness worth the effort. One of several commentaries on “How to get California kids physically fit?”  California Healthcare Foundation online Think Tank. Posted December 4, 2013. Link

Economos, C.D., Sallis, J.F., Keith, N.R., and Newkirk, J. (2014). The Active Living Research 2013 Conference: Achieving change across sectors: Integrating research, policy, and practice. American Journal of Health Promotion, 28(3 suppl), S1-S4.  doi: Link

My presentation on building physical and social environments for physical activity in high-risk communities was summarized in: Breiner, H., Parker, L., & Olson, S. (rapporteurs) (2014). Creating equal opportunities for a healthy weight: Workshop summary. National Academies Press: Washington, DC, pages 15-16.

Pollack, K.M., Gonzalez, E.R., Hager, E.R., and Sallis, J.F. (2014). The Active Living Research 2014 Conference: “Niche to norm”. Preventive Medicine, 69 (suppl.), S1-S4. (Guest Editor commentary).

IPEN-related news from ICPAPH 2014

ICPAPH, the International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health, was held in the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro. This is an important conference for IPEN, because the attendees came from 70 countries, and IPEN supports the Council on the Environment and Physical Activity (CEPA), an official council of the ISPAH. I want to start by congratulating the organizers on a superb scientific meeting with a very successful social program. Special thanks to Pedro Hallal, Rodrigo Reis, and the program committee for ensuring the scientific quality of the meeting.

We had several CEPA sessions that were well-attended and of high quality. I congratulate Takemi Sugiyama, outgoing chair of CEPA, for organizing three excellent sessions. The CEPA symposium was packed with new data and convincing demonstrations that CEPA is moving the field forward. After my brief overview of IPEN, Jens Troelsen presented new IPEN Adult data from Denmark, and Erica Hinckson presented IPEN Adolescent data from New Zealand. Leaders of working groups presented very encouraging progress on almost all of them, and I believe attendees realized they could get involved in substantive international collaborations through CEPA. Billie Giles-Corti presented 10 specific strategies for conducting policy-relevant environment research, which are detailed in a paper developed by the Policy Working Group that is currently under review. This will be a useful guide for IPEN investigators and the broader field. Akira Hino presented strong ongoing collaborations among Latin American investigators. Jasper Schipperijn and Hayley Christian reported on review papers and other projects that have resulted from the Urban Green Spaces Working Group. Jelle Van Cauwenberg presented a review on environments and older adults’ physical activity, which has been published in IJBNPA. Adewale Oyeyemi described how the Africa Working Group is making excellent progress developing a version of the NEWS instrument for Africa. (NEWS-Africa was the subject of an earlier blog).

The CEPA symposium was a good introduction to the CEPA meetings over the next two days. In the first meeting, it was agreed that Rodrigo Reis will be the new CEPA Chair, and the new leaders are listed below. All existing groups will continue working, and there were suggestions for a new working group on social issues (such as safety and culture). One particular advancement was that the Early Career Working Group will be expanded to become a function of the entire ISPAH. This working group was seen as a good model to fill an important need, so new ISPAH President Fiona Bull volunteered to work with CEPA to accomplish this expansion. The first meeting ended with discussions among working groups as they made realistic actions plans to be accomplished over the next two years. The IPEN Coordinating Center will continue to support the working groups.

CEPA Leadership 2014-2016

Chair: Rodrigo Reis

Co-chairs: Jacqueline Kerr, Erica Hinckson

Working group coordinator: Deborah Salvo

Communications officer: Akira Hino

The second CEPA meeting was devoted to the Early Career Working Group. The lunchtime meeting was heavily attended and was designed for senior investigators to respond to the stated needs and questions of early career researchers. Both large-group discussion and small-group consultations were held. Many thanks to Neville Owen, Billie Giles-Corti, Jo Salmon, and Ulf Ekelund who offered their guidance. My assessment is that CEPA is performing useful functions for the environment and physical activity field, so we will start planning for CEPA activities in Bangkok, Thailand in 2016.


CEPA meeting with Early Career Researchers, with Neville Owen providing guidance.


CEPA meeting with Early Career Researchers, with Billie Giles-Corti mentoring in a small group session.

There were two notable advances for IPEN that came to my attention at the Rio meeting. First, I learned that an IPEN Adult study is being conducted in Chile, led by Jaime Leppe Zamora. The funds are already available, and the Latin American survey will be adopted. This was wonderful news, and this new study was largely due to support from the Latin American IPEN investigators. Second, I met Shifalika Goenka, who is a physician in India with a well developed interest in built environments and physical activity. She has written a book under the auspices of the regional WHO office that advocates for healthy environments and policies. She is very interested in pursuing an IPEN Adolescent study in India that can be included in the pooled dataset. We will work with her to identify funding for such a project. I made several other friends in Rio, but these two encounters were particularly meaningful for IPEN.


Shafilika Goenka and Jim discuss an IPEN Adolescent study in India

There were many other highlights of the meeting, and some of them are partially captured in the photos. There were abundant standing tables at the back of many meeting rooms, and they were well used. The conference banquet transformed into a samba parade and then into a disco that gave attendees a welcome opportunity to be active. Victor and Sandra Matsudo organized an Agita Mundo parade to the beach, and hundreds of participants in yellow jerseys spelled out “Agita”. After an intensive and stimulating scientific conference, I was able to spend a day touring some spectacular beaches and Sugarloaf Mountain. It was great that so many physical activity experts from around the world were able to visit Latin America for the first time. ICPAPH in Rio was a big boost for IPEN as well as international physical activity research in general.


Brazilians were early adopters of the standing tables in most meeting rooms.


Lise Gauvin celebrates the Agita Mundo parade.


Jim, Adewale Oyeyemi, and Mike Pratt during the Agita Mundo parade to the beach


The samba parade at banquet gave ICPAPH attendees a chance to apply what we learned from physical activity research


Jelle van Cauwenberg, Neville Owen, Adewale Oyeyemi, and Jim enjoy the view of Copacabana Beach from atop Sugarloaf Mountain.

Taipei Delegation Visits ALR and IPEN Coordinating Center

A delegation of 7 colleagues from Taipei, Taiwan visited San Diego March 9-13. They were led by Jin Jong Chen from National Yang-Ming University and Kevin Chen from the Taipei Department of Health. The whole group attended the Active Living Research Conference and presented on their research and practice work. The Taipei group spent the morning of March 13 at the IPEN Coordinating Center offices, with another special guest, Ester Cerin of Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. The meeting was attended by Kelli Cain, Carrie Geremia, Alex Mignano, and myself. Larry Frank joined by phone from Vancouver.

We learned that Taipei will be the World Design Capital (WDC) in 2016. Their winning application had the themes of ageing-friendly and healthy design for the city. WDC represents a collaboration of multiple city departments, including Health, Planning, and Parks, so there is clear relevance for active living. The Department of Health is sponsoring an IPEN study of older adults, and we discussed the progress of this study and possible next steps. The IPEN Senior protocol is being followed, using the NEWS and street audit tool adapted for Chinese Seniors by Ester Cerin as part of her studies in Hong Kong. This group may have the opportunity to evaluate the impact of intervention demonstration areas, and we discussed possible evaluation designs.

Two of the delegation were experts in computer science and information technology. Thus, they are able to design multi-level interventions that span the range from environmental changes to educational apps. On the afternoon of the March 13, the delegation met with Kevin Patrick, Jacqueline Kerr, and Nadir Weibel to discuss the integration of technology into several types of health interventions.


We appreciate that both Drs Chen are using IPEN as an important element of plans for designing a healthy city that can be a model for the world. Taipei is already a mostly activity-friendly city, so it will fascinating to learn about the enhancements they will make. I commend the Taipei group on the close collaboration between University-based researchers in several disciplines and the Department of Health. The use of research in this design effort is innovative, and we will keep IPEN members informed about this project.

Malaysia Tour for IPEN

An invitation to speak at the International Conference on Obesity (ICO)  in Kuala Lumpur led to a whirlwind tour of 3 cities, a talk at the National Sports Institute, and several meetings with IPEN investigators. It was my first visit to Malaysia, and I learned how the rich mix of cultures makes for a vibrant experience. I was particularly impressed at how happy and friendly the Malaysian people are. However, my visit occurred a few days after the disappearance of Malaysian Air flight 370, so the unknown fate of the people on board was constantly in the news and on the minds of everyone.

ICO was at the beautiful convention center in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. A well-used park separated the convention center from Petronas Towers, dramatic buildings that once were the tallest in the world. The park had one of the largest playgrounds I have ever seen. Here is a small sample of the playground:

image009 (1)

At the ICO, I spoke in a session on the “exposome”. I asked who knew what an exposome was and only one hand went up. I told them it was still OK to refer to “environments.” I was encouraged that the session was full, with some people standing at the back. My talk focused on the expanding literature on evaluations of environment and policy interventions. A few people tweeted about my talk and others in the session. I want to congratulate Steve Blair who received the Population Health award at the conference.

Wan Manan is leading IPEN-related studies of adults and adolescents in Malaysia. The studies are being conducted in different cities, and he has assembled an excellent team. Marc Adams, now of Arizona State University, made the trip to provide instruction and guidance on creating GIS variables. The first meeting with IPEN investigators was held at the University of Malaya, at the Faculty of Built Environment. This was a new concept to me, but it made sense to pull the disciplines together with expertise in the built environment. After the meeting we toured potential study neighborhoods, a park, and a school. Here is the IPEN group in front of the Faculty building.


We visited a high school where they were having a girls’ handball tournament after school. Handball is like soccer but using the hands.


Marc and I then flew to Penang to tour some more potential IPEN study neighborhoods. We had two able and enthusiastic tour guides, Yi Yi Lee and Shuwen, who both work on IPEN studies. They have degrees in nutrition so we had a great food tour as well. Here we are getting an overview of Penang.


After a hike through the rain forest we toured the old part of the city, which was designed to be walkable but had too much traffic. A recent signature of Penang is an explosion of mixed-media murals. The murals appear to be attracting many tourists, suggesting this is a promising approach to art for economic development that also encourages walking and biking. Several of the murals have physical activity themes, including this one.


It looked to me like Malaysia has embraced automobile dependence, and pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure was not a priority. Here is an example of the downside of lack of attention to pedestrians. Here are Marc and Yi Yi risking their lives to cross a busy road with no intersection controls to get to a major tourist destination.


Finally, we traveled to Kota Bharu, where Wan Manan is based. We met at the Universiti Sains Malaysia, School of Health Sciences. The main topic again was GIS variables and neighborhood selection. It seems like each city has different GIS variables available, which is a common challenge for this type of work. But the team in Malaysia is well prepared to conduct two excellent studies. It was a treat to work with them. Here is the group meeting in Kota Bharu.


An unexpected opportunity arose to speak to the National Sports Institute in Kuala Lumpur. They recently started an Active Living program, and the Ministry of Health is looking to the Institute to provide guidance on physical activity interventions. Thus, I had a receptive audience for my talk on the need for collaborating with multiple sectors to design, implement, and evaluate multi-level interventions. We had a deep discussion with a small group afterwards about using research to inform policy change. I was pleased to learn they are evaluating a national campaign to increase physical activity and are studying the energy expenditure of traditional Malaysian games. Here is a photo of Yeo Wee Kian and Zack Ghazali who work at the Institute.


The hospitality at every stop on this trip was outstanding and humbling. I especially want to thank the organizers of ICO, Wan Manan, and Yi Yi Lee for making all the arrangements and ensuring my trip was enjoyable and stress free. It was a great introduction to a wonderful country, and I hope I have the chance to return.

Low Income Neighborhoods Provide Less Supportive Environments for Physical Activity – Research Brief


Research Brief, January 2014


James Sallis, et al, Neighborhood Quality of Life Study






Download this brief here.

Improving Bicycling Safety Could Encourage More Bicycling – Research Brief

Research Brief, January 2014

James Sallis, et al, Neighborhood Quality of Life Study

Bicycling_Brief_thumbnailDownload this brief here.

Just 1 in 4 U.S. Teens Gets Enough Exercise

“For his part, Sallis said, ‘I would ask parents to resolve to make sure their children get physical activity every day, and they can’t count on schools to provide all the activity teens need.'” Read more here.