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I want to explain why and how I am semi-retiring. Though my work has been meaningful and gratifying over many years, I am ready to slow down my activities. 2016 was a momentous year for me. In my Presidential Lecture to Society of Behavioral Medicine in March 2017 I explained how Charles Dickens’s book “Tale of Two Cities” seemed to describe my 2016. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Most of the events were excellent, such as highly-visible publications from our IPEN collaborations, leading three papers in the Lancet, being elected to the National Academy of Medicine, and being President of SBM, which included holding the Annual Meeting in San Diego. However, the biggest event of the year for me was traumatic. My wife and life partner of 39 years, Shemi, passed away on August 16, 2016. I appreciate the many heartfelt notes I received from friends and colleagues around the world. The remembrances of Shemi were touching and helped me focus on the many good times. Besides being a gentle person, great cook, and hostess, Shemi had a fertile creative life that resulted in dozens of artworks, plus stories and poems. I encourage you to visit the website I built for Shemi so you can enjoy scenes from her life and creations of her mind. http://www.shemiamarsisallis.com
After Shemi’s death I decided to semi-retire so I could focus my energies on projects of highest priority and find more time for things I enjoy other than work. My retirement from UCSD was official at the end of January 2017, but I will continue to work on current grants. I am committed to ensuring the results of IPEN Adolescent and other projects are published and disseminated. Mike Pratt’s arrival as a Professor in the UCSD Department of Family Medicine and Public Health provides an opportunity for extension of our active living work, because Mike has been collaborating on IPEN and Active Living Research for many years. Mike has already taken the lead on new grant proposals, working closely with our experienced staff. My main role will be to support, not lead, new projects.
My official retirement gives me freedom to pursue other opportunities. As of February 2017 I became a Professorial Fellow at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) in Melbourne. I am attached to the Institute for Health and Ageing, and my main goal is to support the growth of excellent research within this new Institute. Although I will not be moving to Australia full-time I will visit several times each year. The connection with ACU builds on strengths, because my long-time IPEN colleagues Ester Cerin and Takemi Sugiyama are there, among others. Being together with Ester will produce important benefits for IPEN and other built environment studies. We are hiring a Research Fellow with advanced skills in statistics to work closely with Ester in analyzing IPEN data. ACU is supporting core staff of the IPEN Coordinating Center who are based at UCSD so we can continue our productivity. Thus, ACU is becoming a much more important center of action for IPEN.
Melbourne is a very comfortable place for me, having spent several months of my sabbatical there in 1995 and making several visits since then. Melbourne is the capitol of physical activity research in Australia, with longtime friends and colleagues including Neville Owen at Baker IDI and Swinburne University; Jo Salmon, Anna Timperio, Jenny Veitch and others at Deakin University; Billie Giles-Corti at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology; Brian Oldenburg at University of Melbourne; and David
Dunstan, Gavin Turrell, and Andrea Nathan also at ACU. I look forward to spending more time with these and other colleagues in Melbourne while enjoying the cultural amenities of the city.
I am looking forward to this change in focus and pace of professional activity. In speaking at the SBM Leadership Institute in March I emphasized the value of seeking out change and driving change, not just reacting to it. My new situation is a chance to act on my own advice. I am ready to start new adventures, some of them including the combination of dance and music, which can unite my professional and personal interests. I plan to stay active in research, writing, advocacy, and mentoring. I want to support others in taking the lead in fulfilling my career’s mission of using evidence to move toward a more physically active world. Of course, I am committed to enjoying movement every day, and I envision that semi-retirement will allow me to more fully appreciate the wonder of life in our magnificent but fragile world.
James Sallis, PhD
April 22, 2017
What does it take to get scientists to leave the comfort of their labs and climb down from their ivory towers? Apparently it takes denial of evidence, belittling of science, disrespect and intimidation of government scientists, and dramatic budget cuts for every research program in the federal government to prod scientists to hit the streets and raise their voices. To put it mildly, street protests are not a comfort zone for most researchers. Why did thousands of scientists, science educators, engineers, entrepreneurs, and fans of the scientific enterprise March for Science on Saturday March 22, 2017 in hundreds of cities around the world? Because we understand the essential role that science plays in every aspect of our lives: protecting the health of the planet, improving the health of people, making our education system more effective, creating new technologies that will hopefully be designed to enhance quality of life for people, and learning more about how our vast and wonderful world works.
With colleagues and students of public health and medicine at the San Diego March. We look happy, but we are also upset, energized, and determined.
My sign refers to our SPARK physical education and physical activity programs that began with NIH-funded grants. The evidence-based programs have trained thousands of teachers, improved the lives of millions of young people, and created dozens of jobs over 25 years.
Like many others I have been appalled by the recent verbal and fiscal attacks on evidence of all kinds, science in general, and climate science most particularly. There is a celebration of ignorance and propaganda over systematic generation of evidence. Efforts of the Administration seem designed to overturn the Enlightenment so we can go back to the Dark Ages when dogma and superstition ruled. As scientists we have dedicated our careers to advancing humanity through research. Many of us do applied science, and our goal is for our evidence-based solutions to the many problems facing our country and world to be applied in the real world.
But let’s not be naive and think that everyone loves science. Current attacks on science and government regulation are merely spikes in a long-term trend. Getting serious about reducing carbon emissions is bad news for the fossil fuel industries. EPA regulations are not welcomed by chemical industries. FDA regulations are an annoyance to the pharmaceutical industry. Prevention efforts led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are fought by food and beverage industries, as well as tobacco, alcohol, and gun industries. Evidence from independent, government-sponsored research often threatens the bottom line and images of these industries, so they fight science through lobbying and campaign donations. These are all powerful industries that see themselves as benefiting from less research, at least less of certain types of research.
To counter this opposition, who is fighting for research and evidence-based policy making? Scientific organizations speak up for research, but their resources are tiny compared to the industries working so persistently and effectively out of the public eye. What can be done to increase support for science and evidence? That was the theme of my Presidential Lecture at the Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting in March 2017. “Research translation” is about getting evidence used. The movement of evidence from scientific journals to real-world application does not happen automatically or by magic. It requires action, and some of that action needs to come from researchers ourselves. The people and organizations who can use the evidence in education, business, practice, and policy need to know about the evidence. So, an important role of scientists is to take steps to communicate research results to potential “end-users.” Many researchers are hesitant to take that step, either because they don’t believe it is their role, or they don’t know how to go about it.
But we are now in a situation where we need to do more than just communicate our results. We scientists are on the front lines of defending our nation’s commitment to science itself. More than 150 years after Abraham Lincoln started the National Academy of Sciences to “advise the nation,” it is hard to believe that American science is being attacked. One of the main functions of the March for Science was to educate the public about the critical role of science in improving lives. Common themes were climate and health. The economic impact of research was not emphasized so much but may be equally important.
I joined many thousands of scientists and science supporters for the March in San Diego. It was a typically beautiful day, and the atmosphere was festive. Before the March we had speakers including the originator of the Keeling Curve of carbon concentrations in the atmosphere, from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD. We also heard from very young scientists who were excited about the important problems they are investigating. It was inspiring to meet physicists, teachers, biotech workers, parents, and children who came up with clever signs and spent their Saturday on the March. Here are just a few photos.
An inspiring event does not create change, but it is a great first step. Being energized by the March for Science could galvanize marchers to become communicators, activists, advocates, and donors to continue the work of supporting science. During talks at the end of the San Diego march, speakers referred to the great turnout for the First March for Science. I hope there is not a need for a second one. But if a second one is needed, I will be there.
James F. Sallis, Ph.D.
SBM President, 2016-2017
April 11, 2017
It seemed carefully planned to have the Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting in San Diego during my Presidential year. However, it was not planned or pre-ordained at all. Nevertheless it was a great experience to “host” the Annual Meeting in my hometown of 34 years. If you want an unbiased review of the meeting, then you will have to look elsewhere because I thought it was wonderful and uplifting.
My main roles in planning the meeting were to select the Program Chair and invite the Keynote Speakers and two of the Master Lecturers. I had a great experience working with Program Chair David Marquez at University of Illinois, Chicago. I got to know David when he was Chair of the Physical Activity SIG (Special Interest Group). In addition to creating a great scientific conference, we agreed on the goal of making SBM a more active meeting, which was implemented by having standing sections in the session rooms and encouraging standing ovations, or active applause. There were always people standing in the sessions I attended, but the active applause was mainly adopted in the physical activity sessions. In my experience people really enjoy standing up after talks, because it is invigorating. However, I’m going to recommend that for 2018 we ask all session chairs to specifically encourage attendees to give active applause at each session. It is an interesting case study in changing behavior and culture.
Jim Sallis and David Marquez, 2017 Program Chair
I was gratified that all of my top choices for Keynote Speakers agreed, and I was thrilled with the effects of their talks on the attendees. Robert Ross, CEO of The California Endowment, electrified and inspired the 2000 people at the opening plenary with his story of how he dedicated his career to improving health equity. We were all fascinated by what the Endowment has learned through their deep engagement with 14 disadvantaged communities around California. They are breaking new ground in public health through their 10-year commitment to creating healthy and equitable communities. Ana Diez-Roux, Dean of Public Health at Drexel University in Philadelphia, showed how she is using advanced epidemiologic methods to work toward health equity. She was a great example of a distinguished scientist being very involved in communicating her research so it makes a difference in people’s lives. Harold Goldstein, founder of Public Health Advocates in Sacramento, was a different kind of speaker for SBM. His stories of using evidence to change state policy were inspiring because of all the successes he could point to, particularly with food and beverage policies. He is a great example of a “knowledge broker” who knows how to take evidence and use it effectively in the policy making process. Tracy Neal-Walden works in the Office of the Surgeon General for the US Air Force. I asked her to inform SBM attendees about the great work being done to improve the health of military and veterans communities, including their families. She discussed how health professionals are collaborating across the services, using evidence-based strategies, evaluating outcomes, and serving millions of people. She and her colleagues are having great impact, and she said there were opportunities to collaborate on both research and practice.
Robert Ross, CEO of The California Endowment
I was able to select two Master Lecturers for the 2017 Annual Meeting. Frank Penedo from Northwestern University spoke on precision cancer care delivery. His talk was closely tied to genomics research, which has been addressed throughout the year by SBM’s Genomics Working Group. Marjorie Kagawa-Singer from UCLA presented on culture and health, mainly using examples from her work with Asian Americans. Her talk was a great opportunity to learn about advances being made with one of the least-studied and most diverse racial-ethnic-cultural groupings. I again express my thanks to all the Keynotes and Master Lecturers who helped make the conference great.
There were way too many Annual Meeting highlights to list, but I want to comment on just a few. I was pleased to be part of the Team Science symposium organized by Kara Hall and Amanda Vogel of NCI. Bill Riley of OBSSR led an informative panel on the OBSSR Strategic Plan, and I was honored to contribute to the session. Please get familiar with, and support, OBSSR’s Strategic Plan. It was notable that several sessions dealt with the Precision Medicine Initiative, aka the “All of Us” study. There are many opportunities for behavioral researchers to get involved in this enormous research project. I encourage SBM members to be assertive in contacting site investigators and identifying ways behavioral scientists can contribute to this study. Though I was not able to attend, I want to express my appreciation to Colleen McBride for leading the Genomics Presidential Working Group and the sessions they held during the conference.
It was a thrill for me to symbolically pass the gavel to Gary Bennett, who became the new SBM President. It was a thrill, not because I am tired of being President, but because I know Gary will be a visionary and effective leader for the Society. At the Business Meeting on Saturday morning Gary laid out his vision to “Extend the Reach” of SBM. That made it clear he is continuing the efforts of all recent presidents to increase the impact of our research. I encourage all members to get involved in communicating your (and “our” collective) research to practitioners, knowledge brokers, and policy makers who can put it into practice.
There is no doubt the coming years will be challenging for science in general and behavioral scientists in particular. SBM 2017 started ominously with news the administration proposed an immediate $1.2 Billion cut in NIH’s budget this year! That is another unprecedented proposal on top of the requested 20% reduction to NIH for 2018. This is part of a broad “war on science” that goes beyond cuts in virtually all science-based federal agencies to attacks on evidence and facts. Thus, I invite you to review the slides of my President’s Lecture that are posted on my website (http://sallis.ucsd.edu/Documents/Sallis%20SBM%20Pres%20Address%2003302017%20revised.pdf) and get personally involved in advocating for protecting science in the US and speaking up for using evidence to guide policies. The April 22, 2017 March for Science is an opportunity to take action. I recommend you read and act on SBM President-Elect Sherry Pagoto’s article in Chronicle of Higher Education. http://www.chronicle.com/article/March-for-Science-Can-Inform/239574/. She advises us how we can use this march to create a positive impression of science and scientists on the American public.
Here is a photo of the SBM leadership team for the 2017-2018 year, with the past, current, and future SBM presidents, along with Mary Dean, our Executive Director. Each of us understands the stakes are higher than ever, and we are energized to advocate for SBM, defend science, and stand up for evidence. You will be hearing from us throughout the year, and I’m sure we will be making requests of the members. It will be a busy year.
Jim Sallis, Gary Bennett, Sherry Pagoto, Mary Dean. At SBM 2017.
This leadership group will be moving SBM into the future as we navigate treacherous waters.
The Urban Land Institute (ULI) has long been a leader in socially and environmentally responsible development practices. Building Healthy Places is an outstanding example of ULI’s continuing leadership of the industry. Active Living Research is proud to have been involved in Building Healthy Places since the very beginning. I am very enthusiastic about this initiative’s ability to contribute to better health in the US and elsewhere. Building healthier communities creates an infrastructure that will provide benefits for decades. Participating in ULI events is a wonderful opportunity to bring the lessons of 15 years of research to real estate professionals who can put these lessons into practice. I was honored to have a speaking role in ULI’s first national conference on Building Healthy Places in 2014 in Los Angeles. In 2015 I participated in a workshop in San Francisco.
In 2016 I joined ULI, and my experience has been very gratifying. I want to write about two wonderful ULI-sponsored events in May 2016. Both events were organized by the ULI San Diego-Tijuana chapter. On May 11 the inaugural Healthy Places Awards Gala was held in San Diego. There was a great deal of excitement about the Healthy Places Student Competition Teams who displayed posters of their creative designs. Several Healthy Places Awards were selected from many worthy nominees from throughout San Diego County. It is encouraging to see the many examples of healthy and active design.
The big moment for me was the announcement that I had won the “Healthy Place Visionary Award.” This was a great honor, and there were two reasons it was extra special. First, the award was presented by Dr Dick Jackson from UCLA. Dick was one of the earliest leaders of the healthy places movement and one of the best communicators. He is also a valued colleague and good friend. Second, I was surprised by the announcement that all subsequent “Visionary” awards would be named after me! I humbly thank ULI and the awards jury members for this special honor.
Receiving the “Healthy Places Visionary Award” from Dr Dick Jackson, May 11, 2016
Another highlight of the Healthy Places Awards Gala was that I met the organizers of the next ULI event I attended in Tijuana, Mexico. Gabriel Garzo was the ULI lead, and Sergio Gonzalez and Maricarmen Castellanos of Probien in Tijuana were the organizers of the first Baja California Real Estate Symposium. I was invited to be a speaker at this impressive event that was held May 26, 2016 in Tijuana. My goal was to inform the 600 real estate professionals who attended that they are “health professionals” because their work affects the health of their clients–for better or worse. I tried to inspire them to build healthy places that make active living safe and convenient, and I provided principles and examples of active design derived from research. I hope I contributed in a small way to improved planning, transportation, and real estate development practices in Tijuana and throughout Baja California. I congratulate the organizers on a very well received symposium, and I thank them for inviting me to speak and for showing such wonderful hospitality.
At the Baja California Real Estate Symposium in Tijuana, Mexico. May 26, 2016. Sergio Gonzalez, Greg Shannon, Jim Sallis, Juan Olmeda, Ben Rosen, Gabriel Garzo.
Though it is obvious that planning and land development in Tijuana in the past has been centered around automobiles, it is clear this is changing in a healthful direction. I saw the first leg of a Bus Rapid Transit system that will open soon. I toured the Ontiveros Ranch that is being developed as a mixed-use, walkable community. I attended the opening celebration of Bajalta, which is a very urban mixed-use development in downtown Tijuana that is likely to change the future of Tijuana. I hope I will stay informed about the healthier development practices starting in Baja California, and hopefully, contribute to making them as healthy possible. Salud!
Jim Sallis, PhD
2016 Publications List As of April 15, 2016
James F. Sallis, Ph.D.
Kurka, J.M., Adams, M.A., Todd, M., Colburn, T., Sallis, J.F., Cain, K.L., Glanz, K., Frank, L.D., and Saelens, B.E. (2016). Patterns of neighborhood environment attributes in relation to children’s physical activity. Health & Place, 34(6), 164-170.
Engelberg, J.K., Carlson, J.A., Conway, T.L., Cain, K.L., Saelens, B.E., Glanz, K., Frank, L.D., and Sallis, J.F. (2016). Dog walking among adolescents: Correlates and contribution to physical activity. Preventive Medicine, 82(1), 65-72.
Kerr, J., Emond, J.A., Badland, H., Reis, R., Sarmiento, O., Carlson, J., Sallis, J.F., Cerin, E., Cain, K., Conway, T., Schofield, G., Macfarlane, D.J., Christiansen, L.B., Van Dyck, D., Davey, R., Aguinaga-Ontoso, I., Salvo, D., Sugiyama, T., Owen, N., Mitas, J., and Natarajan, L. (2016). Perceived neighborhood environmental attributes associated with walking and cycling for transport among adult residents of 17 cities in 12 countries: The IPEN study. Environmental Health Perspectives, 124(3), 290-298. Posted online July 17, 2015. DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1409466. http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1409466/ (open access)
Oyeyemi, A.L., Kasoma, S.S., Onywera, V.O., Assah, F., Assah, F., Adedoyin, R.A., Conway, T.L., Moss, S.J., Ocansey, R., Kolbe-Alexander, T.L., Akinroye, K.K., Prista, A., Larouche, R., Gavand, K.A., Cain, K.L., Lambert, E.V., Aryeetey, R., Bartels, C., Tremblay, M.S., and Sallis, J.F. (2016). NEWS for Africa: Adaptation and reliability of a built environment questionnaire for physical activity in seven African countries. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity,13:33. DOI: 10.1186/s12966-016-0357-y. URL: http://www.ijbnpa.org/content/13/1/33 (open access)
Published Online Ahead of Print
Arredondo, E.M., Haughton, J., Ayala, G.X., Slymen, D.J., Sallis, J.F., Burke, K., Holub, C., Chanson, D., Perez, L.G., Valdivia, R., Ryan, S., & Elder, J.P. (in press). Fe en Acción/Faith in Action: Design and implementation of a church-based randomized community trial to promote physical activity and cancer screening among churchgoing Latinas. Contemporary Clinical Trials. Published online September 7, 2015. pii: S1551-7144(15)30081-1. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2015.09.008.
Christiansen, L.B., Cerin, E., Badland, H., Kerr, J., Davey, R., Troelsen, J., Van Dyck, D., Mitáš, J., Schofield, G., Sugiyama, T., Salvo, D., Sarmiento, O., Reis, R., Adams, M., Frank, L., and Sallis, J.F. (2016). International comparisons of the associations between objective measures of the built environment and transport-related walking and cycling: IPEN adult study Journal of Transport and Health. Posted online March 21, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jth.2016.02.010
Esteban-Cornejo, I., Carlson, J.A., Conway, T.L., Cain, K., Saelens, B.E., Frank, L.D., Glanz, K., Roman, C.G., and Sallis, J. F. (accepted). Parental and adolescent perceptions of neighborhood safety related to adolescents’ physical activity in their neighborhood. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. Published online March 31, 2016. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2016.1153779.
Sallis, J.F., Cerin, E., Conway, T.L., Adams, M.A., Frank, L.D., Pratt, M., Salvo, D., Schipperijn, J., Smith, G., Cain, K.L., Davey, R., Kerr, J., Lai, P-C., Mitas, J., Reis, R., Sarmiento, O.L., Schofield, G., Troelsen, J., Van Dyck, D., De Bourdeaudhuij, I., and Owen, N. (2016). Urban environments in 14 cities worldwide are related to physical activity. The Lancet. Released online April 1, 2016. Open access:
Research brief and blog:
Shortened link: http://bit.ly/253e4dA
Comment by Goenka and Anderson: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)00348-2
twitter hashtag: #GlobalActiveCities
Labarthe, D.R., Goldstein, L.B., Antman, E., Arnett, D., Fonarow, G., Alberts, M., Hayman, L.L., Khera, A., Sallis, J.F., Daniels, S.R., Sacco, R.L., Li, S., Ku, L., Lantz, P., Robinson, J.G., Creager, M.A., Van Horn, L., Kris-Etherton, P., Bhatnagar, A., and Whitsel, L.P.; on behalf of the American Heart Association Advocacy Coordinating Committee, Council on Hypertension, Stroke Council, Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing, Council on Clinical Cardiology, Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research, Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia, Council on Functional Genomics and Translational Biology, and Council on Epidemiology and Prevention. (2016). Evidence-based policy making: Assessment of the American Heart Association’s strategic policy portfolio. Circulation, 133. Published online April 4, 2016. http://circ.ahajournals.org/lookup/doi/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000410
Papers Accepted and In Press
Lachapelle, U., Frank, L.D., Sallis, J.F., Saelens, B.E., and Conway, T.L. (accepted). Active transportation by transit-dependent and choice riders and potential displacement of other physical activity. Journal of Planning Education and Research.
White, M.N., King, A.C., Sallis, J.F., Frank, L.D., Saelens, B.E., Conway, T.L., Cain, K.L., and Kerr, J. (accepted). Caregiving, transport-related, and demographic correlates of sedentary behavior in older adults: The Senior Neighborhood Quality of Life Study (SNQLS). Journal of Health and Aging.
Carlson, J.A., Schipperijn, J., Kerr, J., Saelens, B.E., Natarajan, L., Frank, L.D., Glanz, K., Conway, T.L., Chapman, J.E., Cain, K.L., and Sallis, J.F. (accepted). Physical activity in home, school, and other locations as assessed by GPS in young adolescents. Pediatrics.
Lee, S., Conway, T.L., Frank, L.D., Saelens, B.E., Cain, K.L., and Sallis, J.F. (accepted). The relation of perceived and objective environment attributes to neighborhood satisfaction. Environment and Behavior.
Cerin, E., Cain, K.L., Oyeyemi, A., Owen, N., Conway, T.L., Cochrane, T., van Dyck, D., Schipperijn, J., Mitaš, J., Toftager, M., Aguinaga-Ontoso, I., and Sallis, J.F. (accepted). Correlates of agreement between accelerometry and self-reported physical activity. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
Molina-Garcia, J., Queralt, A., Estevan, I., and Sallis, J. F. (accepted). Ecological correlates of Spanish adolescents’ physical activity during physical education classes. European Physical Education Review.
Robson, S.M., Couch, S.C., Peugh, J.L., Glanz, K., Zhou, C., Sallis, J.F., and Saelens, B.E. (accepted). Parent diet quality and energy intake are related to child diet quality and energy intake. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. .
Sallis, J.F., Bull, F., Burdett, R., Frank, L.D., Griffiths, P., Giles-Corti, B., and Stevenson, M. (accepted). Using science to guide city planning policy and practice: Achieving healthy and sustainable future cities. The Lancet. In the series on Urban Design, Transport, and Health.
Engelberg, J.K., Conway, T.L., Geremia, C., Cain, K.L., Saelens, B.E., Glanz, K., Frank, L.D., and Sallis, J.F. (accepted). Socioeconomic and race/ethnic disparities in observed park quality. Submitted to BMC Public Health.
Thornton, C.M., Conway, T.L., Cain, K.L., Gavand, K.A., Saelens, B.E., Frank, L.D., Geremia, C.M., Glanz, K., King, A.C., and Sallis, J.F. (accepted). Disparities in pedestrian streetscape environments by income and race/ethnicity. SSM-Population Health, .
Non-Peer-Reviewed Papers and Commentaries
Rodriguez, D.A., Lounsbery, M.A.F., and Sallis, J.F. (2016). The Active Living Research 2015 conference: The science of policy implementation. Environment and Behavior, 48(1), 4-12. (Guest Editor commentary).
Sallis, J.F., and Owen, N. (2015). Ecological models of health behavior. pp. 43-64. In K. Glanz, B. Rimer, & V. Viswanath (Eds.), Health behavior: Theory, research & practice (5th Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer. http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118628985.html
Sallis, J.F., and Carlson, J.A. (2015). Physical activity: Numerous benefits and effective interventions. pp. 169-184. In R.M. Kaplan, M.L. Spittel, and D.H. David, eds. Population health: Behavioral and social science insights. US Government Printing Office: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2015. AHRQ Publication No. 15-002. Download: http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/education/curriculum-tools/population-health/index.html
Carlson, J.A., and Sallis, J.F. (in press). Environment and policy interventions. In W. Zhu and N. Owen, eds. Sedentary Behavior and Health: Concepts, Assessment, and Intervention. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Sallis, J. F. (in press). Changing physical activity environments. In K.D. Brownell and B.T. Walsh, eds. Eating disorders and obesity: A comprehensive handbook, 3rd edition.
Visiting the Be Activ India team: IPEN Adolescent in Chennai
July 28 to August 6, 2015
The most recent team to join the IPEN Adolescent study is from Chennai, India. I want to thank Anna Timperio and Jo Salmon from Deakin University for introducing Dr RM Anjana and her group to IPEN during our meeting in San Diego May 2014 prior to the ISBNPA conference. I was extremely happy to receive an invitation to visit Chennai and be a featured speaker at Dr Mohan’s International Diabetes Update 2015. http://emedinews.in/2015/IJCPebook/diabetes/index.html
The visit was illuminating, inspiring, and productive. It was illuminating to learn more about Dr Mohan’s Diabetes Specialty Centre. The Centre has activities that span a wide range from comprehensive diabetes care in 20 clinics, large educational programs, diabetes products like specialized shoes, nutrition and fitness programs, and research. The research is impressive on its own, with a entire building for biomedical research and some studies funded by the NIH, to a huge national diabetes epidemiology study that will enroll 125,000 participants. The epidemiology study is using diet and physical activity surveys that were developed for India and validated. http://www.ijbnpa.org/content/pdf/s12966-015-0196-2.pdf
The conference was striking in its scope and organization. The 2500 attendees were primarily clinicians from throughout India engaged in diabetes care, though there were researchers, advocates, and government leaders attending as well. The faculty represented India and the rest of the world, and the presentations were high quality. I was pleased that the workshop on lifestyle included a good emphasis on prevention, and the Sunday session was packed. It made me happy to see that “mobility breaks” were offered every day during plenary sessions, and some people danced to rock music in the evenings. Dr Anjana implemented “Active Applause”, so I was pleased to play a role in disseminating this innovation to India. Of course, the Indian cuisine was outstanding and full of “new” dishes for me, so this was a great example of a healthy meeting.
The conference adopted Active Applause.
I had several opportunities to meet with the Be Activ India! team, which is the name of the IPEN-related study. They have made rapid progress in preparing for the study, and they have prioritized their data collection schedule to ensure the Indian data are included in the pooled analyses. It was a pleasure to meet the large team of talented and enthusiastic team members working on the study. They bring a variety of skills and substantial experience, so I am sure the Indian data will be very good quality. They are using a version of the NEWS built environment survey that was mainly developed by Deepti Adlahka, a doctoral student at Washington University in St Louis. Deepti performed a separate reliability and validity study that was presented at ISBNPA 2015 in Edinburgh. Be Active India! also is collecting GPS data and is planning to use MAPS-Global streetscape audits, in addition to blood and anthropometric variables, so they will have a particularly rich data set. I pilot tested MAPS-Global in a couple of sections of Chennai. Though it was challenging due to over-stimulation of the Chennai urban environment, it appears MAPS-Global will do a good job of assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the local environments.
Most of the Be Activ India! team in Chennai. With me in the front row are Dr Pradeepa, Dr Anjana, and Dr Ranjani.
More of the Be Activ India! team
On my suggestion, Dr Anjana organized meetings with local government and community representatives who could be partners in disseminating the results of Be Activ India! and may have the chance to put the findings into practice. We met with a city planner, architects, an epidemiologist in the health department, and leaders of a nonprofit dedicated to social justice and health equity. The planners were pleased to learn about the study and thought the health findings could help them generate enthusiasm for more attention in the government to pedestrians and bicyclists. The group pictured below laid the groundwork for ongoing collaboration, with one possible outcome being an open streets/ciclovia event, which is called “happy streets” in some places in India.
Dr. Anjana organized a meeting with city planners, architects, and an epidemiologist from the health ministry.
I want to share my observations of the physical activity environments in Chennai. Keep in mind that I was present in this city of over 4 million for less than 2 weeks, and I’m sure I saw less than 5% of the city. However, the general situation seemed to be similar in the other two smaller cities I visited as well. My observations confirmed what our colleagues have been trying to describe. At a macro-level, most places in the city were walkable, in that density was high and land use was highly mixed, so people lived within walking distance of destinations like shops and schools. Though the road network was generally well-connected, the arterial streets presented serious barriers to pedestrians. Many arterial streets were clearly designed to keep cars moving, so there were few traffic signals. There could be miles between pedestrian crossings, and I saw very few overhead crossings. This created dangerous situations because it was common to see people dart across traffic and climb over the traffic barriers or squeeze through gaps in a fence. You can see in the photo below that the main streets are clogged with motorized traffic of every description, so there is no room for pedestrians or cyclists.
Cars, motorbikes, and trucks own the streets.
It is the micro-level where most of the challenges lie. I had heard that no one walked on the sidewalks, but that was hard for me understand. But I quickly saw that sidewalks are used for everything except pedestrians. There were sidewalks almost everywhere I went, but few of them were passable. Why not? Because cars and motorcycles are parked, hawkers are using the whole space, huge utility boxes and larger trees block the way, trash is piled up, seats for bus stops, and on and on. I just included a couple of photos illustrating the situation, and some videos are posted on my Active Living Clips youtube channel.
Because of the sidewalk situation, I saw thousands of people routinely walking in the street. It is clearly dangerous, and it can’t be pleasant. The circumstances seemed even worse for bicyclists. Every day that I read the local English language newspaper, there was at least one report of a bicyclist being killed by a car. Most of the reports described how the bicyclist was at fault, though one had fallen after hitting a pothole. Some colleagues talked about how Indians had grown accustomed to walking on the street, but I did see women walking on the few well-maintained sidewalks that I saw. That suggests people are willing to use good sidewalks.
I expect the MAPS-Global data to document the challenges, and hopefully the data will become a tool for advocacy. It will take a major societal change to make a priority of protecting and attracting people to walk and bicycle on well-designed facilities. I understand India is not a rich country. However, the sidewalks are already there in most cases, so a street-by-street effort to reclaim them can start anytime. Creating safe facilities for bicyclists will likely be even more difficult. But with India’s roads being full already and hospitals being packed with diabetics and heart disease patients, there is ample justification for a shift from cars being the priority to an increased emphasis on pedestrians and bicyclists.
Deterioration and corruption of sidewalks is a common problem in Chennai
I want to close by expressing my gratitude to Dr Anjana, Dr Mohan, and the Be Activ India team for making possible my first trip to India. I was inspired by learning more about one of the world’s oldest civilizations. I was stimulated by the chaos of the city, the charm of the people, the colorful clothing, and the magnificent art. I can only hope that our IPEN network can contribute it a small way to rethinking the role of physical activity in India and that I see progress in this direction on my next visit.
I enjoyed sampling the cultural richness of India.
June 7, 2015
IPEN at ISBNPA in Edinburgh, Scotland. June 1-6.
Edinburgh welcomed us with perfect Scottish weather, which means it was cold, windy, and/or raining almost all the time. The Scottish people were much warmer. Edinburgh itself is a pleasure to walk around, in part because the Old Town and New Town provide such different experiences. The week started with two days of IPEN meetings at the University of Edinburgh. Many thanks to Prof Nanette Mutrie for arranging a high-tech meeting room for our meetings.
One of many charming sections of Old Town in Edinburgh.
IPEN Adult Writing Retreat
About a dozen investigators attended the IPEN Adult Writing Retreat on June 1. Several papers have been accepted this year, including Ilse de Bourdeaudhuij’s paper on perceived environment and BMI that was published in IJBNPA this week and received extensive media coverage around Belgium. However, our focus at the retreat was on future papers. Lead authors gave updates on their papers, plans for next steps were made, subgroup meetings were held, and several authors accomplished some writing. We had an extensive discussion about the approach we will take to papers that include both objective and perceived measures of environments. We developed a coherent plan to use the unique IPEN data to answer a variety of questions, and both new and revised paper proposals will be coming in the next few weeks. This was another productive writing retreat, and I thank everyone for their contributions and thoughtful discussion.
IPEN Adolescent Investigator Meeting
We had a much larger group for the June 2 IPEN Adolescent meeting. It was amazing to see our investigators from 11 countries who made the commitment to travel from near and far to be at this meeting. It is incredible to think about the diversity of the world represented by our investigators from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic (large team), China/Hong Kong, Denmark, India, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, and USA. Technology allowed investigators from the UCSD Coordinating Center, Urban Design for Health, and Portugal to participate. I wish our colleagues in Bangladesh, Israel, Malaysia, and Nigeria could have been with us, but they are making good progress in their studies.
Each country gave updates on the status of their studies, and there was a wide range, from just starting data collection to completing it and working on the GIS variable creation. It is now clear that neighborhood selection methods vary considerably. We will describe in the Methods paper the various ways countries are implementing the principle of enhancing variability of environments and SES.
Several challenges were identified and discussed. Perhaps the most common issue was the difficulty of obtaining complete parent surveys. However, several countries offered effective strategies, such as having the parents complete the survey at the same time they sign the consent form. I encourage each country to make an additional effort to obtain high completion rates of the parent surveys, because they are the source of the perceived environment (NEWS-Youth) measures that are central to our analyses. In most cases, collection of adolescent survey, accelerometer, and GPS data are going reasonably well. I personally appreciate everyone’s efforts and commitment to following the common protocol as much as possible.
Marc Adams, Larry Frank, and Jim Chapman led a useful session on GIS methods. Marc explained the templates and important new approaches for IPEN Adolescent, including use of the Qualtrics online system for completing templates. Larry presented results of final analyses comparing various GIS buffer methods, and a manuscript is in progress. Many thanks to the GIS experts from 4 countries who conducted many additional analyses, and to the UD4H team for conducting analyses. Larry also presented on the “new” regional accessibility variable.
Thanks to investigators in 5 countries and analyses by Carrie Geremia, Kelli Cain, and Terry Conway, we had inter-observer reliability data for MAPS-Global conducted in person. The results are very encouraging. We will have further discussion about the papers coming from these data. Investigators from the majority of countries are planning to collect MAPS Global data. We had a discussion of options for mapping the routes and collecting data for the main study. Investigators will have another chance to provide input on final variables for the instrument and the construction of scales.
The same day as our discussion of MAPS Global assessed by StreetView, I ran across this Google car updating Streetview images in Edinburgh.
Carrie Geremia has been working hard to develop a park audit strategy for IPEN Adolescent, and she returned from maternity leave just in time to prepare a presentation for this meeting. She identified overlapping items from the POST and EAPRS instruments and showed the “joint” scale had good validity based on correlations with park use and PA in parks. There was interest in using Kaczynski’s Park Audit Tool, so we will compare the overlapping items with the other two instruments. Billie Giles-Corti sent around papers that described collection of POST data using Google Earth, so we will consider this option.
A couple of investigators are measuring school environments. These methods were not discussed but deserve further attention. We will ask for all school environment protocols and share with everyone. We will try to identify a common method and encourage assessment of school environments when possible.
Ilse de Bourdeaudhuij began the segment on publications by describing the Publication Committee and our procedures for submitting paper proposals, identifying writing groups and authors, and ensuring quality of the papers. These methods have worked well for IPEN Adult, because all submitted papers have been published in high quality journals so far. Assignments for lead authors were noted, and nominations for writing groups were made. Based on the IPEN Adult discussion the previous day, we will have further conversation about using perceived and objective environment measures in the same analyses. Looking forward to publications was a good way to end the IPEN Adolescent investigator meeting.
Participants at the IPEN Adolescent investigator meeting in Edinburgh. June 2, 2015
ISBNPA: International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Ester Cerin’s IPEN Adult symposium had the honor of being listed as the first symposium at ISBNPA. A sizeable audience came to hear 4 data-packed papers presented by Ilse (substituting for Delfien van Dyck who is on maternity leave), Ester, Neville Owen, and myself. Stay tuned for the papers coming from these presentations.
Presenters in Ester’s IPEN Adult symposium at ISBNPA: Jim Sallis, Rodrigo Reis, Ilse de Bourdeaudhuij, Ester Cerin, Neville Owen.
The ISBNPA conference had many environment-focused sessions, with many contributions by IPEN investigators. Here are a few of my IPEN-related observations. I was surprised to see a paper on built environment (PANES/E-module), PA (IPAQ), and obesity from Saudi Arabia. This is an encouraging sign from a region that has built activity-UNfriendly environments and is suffering from high rates of obesity and chronic diseases. Deepti Adlahka, from Washington University in St Louis, presented promising reliability and validity results on NEWS-India, which is her dissertation project. I was impressed by the substantial numbers of natural experiments of change in PA environments. The studies came from several countries. Though the findings were not always as expected, in general these quasi-experimental studies advance the quality of evidence about the role of environments in PA.
IPEN Meeting 2016?
Based on an informal poll of participants, the next IPEN investigator meetings will likely be at ICPAPH (International Congress of Physical Activity and Public Health) in Bangkok, Thailand in November 2016. The theme of the meeting is “Active People, Active Places, Active Policies,” and I am pleased to be on the scientific committee which is planning a program with several innovative features. Please plan to attend if you can.
I want to end with huge thanks to Kelli Cain, Carrie Geremia, Terry Conway, Marc Adams, Larry Frank, and Jim Chapman for preparing presentations and other materials for our fruitful two days of IPEN meetings and team building in Edinburgh.
So long, Edinburgh. On to the next meeting.
A typical scene on the Royal Mile in Old Town, Edinburgh.