Healthy Public Policy Options to Promote Physical Activity for Chronic Disease Prevention: Understanding Canadian Policy Influencer and General Public Preferences

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: Attitudes and beliefs of policy influencers and the general public toward physical activity policy may support or impede population-level action, requiring improved understanding of aggregate preferences toward policies that promote physical activity. Methods: In 2016, the Chronic Disease Prevention Survey was administered to a census sample of policy influencers (n = 302) and a stratified random sample of the public (n = 2400) in Alberta and Québec. Using net favorable percentages and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics’ intervention ladder framework to guide analysis, the authors examined support for evidence-based healthy public policies to increase physical activity levels. Results: Less intrusive policy options (ie, policies that are not always the most impactful) tended to have higher levels of support than policies that eliminated choice. However, there was support for certain types of policies affecting influential determinants of physical activity such as the built environment (ie, provided they enabled rather than restricted choice) and school settings (ie, focusing on children and youth). Overall, the general public indicated stronger levels of support for more physical activity policy options than policy influencers. Conclusions: The authors’ findings may be useful for health advocates in identifying support for evidence-based healthy public policies affecting more influential determinants of physical activity.

McGetrick, Kongats, Raine, and Nykiforuk are with the School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. Voyer is with the Coalition québécoise sur la problématique du poids (the Weight Coalition), Montreal, QC, Canada.

Nykiforuk (candace.nykiforuk@ualberta.ca) is corresponding author.
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