Whole of Systems Approaches to Physical Activity Policy and Practice in Australia: The ASAPa Project Overview and Initial Systems Map

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: The literature on whole of system approaches (WSAs) has been largely theoretical in focus. The Australian Systems Approaches to Physical Activity is a national project designed to contribute a practical implementation focus to such approaches at the population level. Methods: National meetings were convened with federal and state government sector stakeholders to identify physical activity (PA) related policies and programs. Policies and programs were audited to develop an understanding of the existing PA system. A WSA conceptual map for PA was developed using feedback from system stakeholders, existing WSAs, and related work in obesity. Results: Completion of the policy audit has revealed key areas of need regarding policy governance, coordination, financing, and evaluation. An initial WSA conceptual map for Australia has been developed incorporating governance, translation, and advocacy. Stakeholder co-production of an integrated framework for PA and design plans for a community of practice knowledge hub has commenced. Conclusions: In Australia, Australian Systems Approaches to Physical Activity project partners have developed a conceptual whole of systems map that is guiding progress beyond the theoretical to application in the real world: a national PA policy audit, co-production of an integrated PA policy framework, and planning for a PA community of practice knowledge hub.

Bellew, Smith, Nau, Lee, Reece, and Bauman are with Prevention Research Collaboration, Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia. Bellew, Smith, Nau, Lee, and Bauman are also with The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Bellew (william.bellew@sydney.edu.au) is corresponding author.
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