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Fixin' Healthcare

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Lifestyle Chronicles - 76 Trombones Led The Big Parade

Dr. Anne Karen Jenum and collegues at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo tested a program to boost physical activity in a low-income, multi-ethnic, urban district with high rates of obesity, heart disease and physical inactivity. The program included participation by community leaders, wide distribution of information, organized physical activities and free counseling for nutrition and smoking cessation. A control community was included for comparison. Results of the three year effort were reported in the July 2006 issue of the journal Diabetes Care.

There was a 9 % net increase in physical activity in the study group. An increase in mean body mass was observed in both districts but the increase in the intervention district was half that observed in the control district. Beneficial changes in the lipid levels and smoking habits, and blood sugar levels for men, were small but significant.

The authors conclude that low-cost community-based strategies that get people moving can succeed and result in reduction of health risk factors.

Communities influence behavior and health depends upon behavior. It does seem like a good place to start and parades usually attract a crowd.

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