SRPH provides “Active Options,” guide to local physical activity programs, opportunities for adults

September 10, 2008

(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — The Center for Community Health Development in the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health has helped establish an award-winning online physical activity resource guide for adults of all ages in the Brazos Valley.

Active Options (www.activeoptions.org), a free web-based survey and searchable database of physical activity programs for older adults, was created by the National Council on Aging and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Healthy Aging Research Network and then implemented by the HSC-School of Rural Public Health. The resource guide was a highlighted feature in the Brazos Valley’s selection as a recognized community by the National Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging award.

Active Options offers residents a single valuable resource that facilitates their search for an exercise program or place best fitting their needs. With this database, community members or health care professionals can conduct a zip code search to find physical activity programs, facilities and providers such as senior centers.

Using Active Options not only helps residents find a facility or program near their home but also provides individuals with information on types of activities, available equipment and contact information. The service also offers a link to the facility’s website and any fee information.

“Active Options is a wonderful tool to help adults and their doctors know where to be physically active all across the Brazos Valley,” said Marcia G. Ory, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor of social and behavioral health at the HSC-School of Rural Public Health. “This should help address the problems of not knowing where one can safely exercise and increase activity levels in our community.”

The Active Option guide is a response to the U.S. Surgeon General recommendation for adults to have at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days a week. Regular physical activity has been proven to reduce heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, certain cancers, obesity and stress. However, approximately 60 percent of Americans do not engage in regular physical activity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults cite several reasons for not participating in physical activities. These include lack of time, inconvenience, lack of motivation, fear of being injured or having been injured recently, and insufficient resources like lack of trails, programs and facilities.

“To be able to announce this tool during the first Texas Obesity Awareness Week (the second full week in September) is quite timely,” said Kerrie Hora, director of the Brazos Valley Obesity Prevention Network.

For more information on Active Options in the Brazos Valley, visit the website or call (979) 845-5790.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell