Conference urges research on physical activity in disease prevention, treatment

October 8, 2012

To treat chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes and heart disease, doctors may need to tell their patients to get moving. More research is needed to compare prescribed treatments for these conditions, including physical activity. That’s the rationale behind a health research conference hosted by Arizona State University which aims to spur more research into physical activity as a treatment and prevention approach.

The conference will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 17, at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. The event is presented by ASU, Mayo Clinic, American College of Sports Medicine, Anytime Fitness and Healthways. Download Full Image

Medical, pharmaceutical and surgical interventions are generally at the top of the list for treating these chronic conditions. But this ignores the reality that physical activity has powerful benefits, and often at a fraction of the cost, says Barbara Ainsworth, associate director for health promotion programs in the ASU School of Nutrition and Health Promotion.

“With the move toward health care reform, there should be a lot of interest in keeping people healthy and out of the hospital,” she says. “We want to encourage researchers to develop studies that include physical activity, to guide health care strategies at both the individual practitioner and overall health system level.

“Little research has included physical activity as a comparative treatment option, though it has been shown to be a very powerful one. Researchers have been focused on traditional medical approaches, when comparing treatments. Physical activity is not on their radar.”

Physical activity doesn’t have many of the side effects of medication and has been shown to also lower blood pressure, reduce depression and enhance cognitive function, she says.

The conference will create a collaborative research network and build a research agenda for “comparative effectiveness research” that compares efficacy, costs, benefits, harms and overall health outcomes of physical activity and lifestyle approaches for chronic disease risk reduction.

The conference features nationally prominent speakers from government, medicine and science, public health, philanthropy and industry. Keynote speaker is David Buchner, director of the masters of public health program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who directed the physical activity and health branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for nine years.

Among other speakers are Steven N. Blair, professor in the Departments of Exercise Science and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of South Carolina and a recognized authority on exercise and health; I-Min Lee, professor of medicine in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard and author of a recent widely-reported article linking physical inactivity to 1 in 10 deaths worldwide; Toni Yancey, professor in the Department of Health Services at UCLA and co-director of the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity; and James Sallis, Distinguished Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego and director of Active Living Research.

The conference, “National Strategic Summit: Roadmap for Physical Activity, Lifestyle and Comparative Effectiveness Research,” is aimed at health practitioners, educators and students, with online pre-registration until Oct. 31. On-site registration fees apply afterward.

For more information and registration, go to

Journalism professor honored at Rocky Mountain Emmys

October 8, 2012

The Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences inducted John Craft, a professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, into its Gold Circle Society.

The Gold Circle Society honors those who have at least 50 years of service to the television industry and have made meaningful and significant contributions to the field, with the majority of service in the Rocky Mountain Southwest. Inductees come from various disciplines within the industry, including broadcast journalism, engineering, editing, production, photography, promotions and sales. Download Full Image

Craft was honored at the NATAS Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards Saturday evening at University of Phoenix Stadium.

“This is a wonderful recognition of the extraordinary impact John Craft has had on the field of broadcasting and hundreds of ASU students over the decades,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan. “John's protégés are now industry leaders in the Valley, across the country and around the world.”

Craft has taught broadcast journalism at ASU since 1973, teaching courses in broadcast production, direction, station operations, announcing and documentary production as well as telecommunication management courses. He is curator of the Cronkite Gallery and was Cronkite’s director of graduate studies for more than a dozen years.

He is the lead author of “Electronic Media,” a textbook on American electronic media, and a major contributor to a second textbook on corporate video.

In addition to his teaching and scholarly research, Craft has produced, directed or otherwise contributed to numerous television programs. His award-winning documentary programs on Route 66 have had international distribution and been broadcast on public television stations in nearly 80 of the top television markets in the U.S.

Craft also has served as a media consultant for some of the country’s largest corporations and many public school districts. He established a video services unit for Samaritan Health Services of Arizona (now Banner Health) and went on to develop patient education television systems for several other hospital corporations in the Southwest.

Craft, who holds a PhD in mass communication from Ohio University, began his career at public television station WOUB-TV in Ohio, where he had production credits on many nationally distributed television programs as director of staging and lighting for the station. Prior to coming to the Cronkite School, he taught media courses at Ohio University and the Hancock County branch of West Liberty State College in West Virginia in addition to working in instructional media.   

Craft has been active in service to professional organizations at the local, regional and national levels throughout his career. He served two terms as a national trustee of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and was a member of the board of governors of the Rocky Mountain Southwest chapter of NATAS for nearly 20 years. Craft also was on the board and served as president of the International Television Association. He has been active in the Broadcast Education Association, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the Visual Communication Association.

“I am very honored and humbled to have been inducted into the Gold Circle Society of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences,” Craft said. “I certainly was not thinking 50 years in advance when I applied for my first jobs in television and later education, but my career path has been very rewarding, and I cannot imagine having done anything else. I want to offer my sincere thanks to all of those throughout the years who have made my success possible.”

NATAS is a membership organization dedicated to advancing the art and science of television. It represents television professionals from every discipline in the field. The Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of NATAS, serving Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and El Centro, Calif., was founded in 1959. 

In addition to the Gold Circle Society, NATAS awards Emmys each year to reward excellence in professional broadcasting.

Reporter , ASU Now