Environmental and Policy Approaches for Promoting Physical Activity in the United States: A Research Agenda*

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
Restricted access


Environmental and policy approaches are promising strategies to raise population-wide rates of physical activity; yet, little attention has been paid to the development and prioritization of a research agenda on these topics that will have relevance for both researchers and practitioners.


Using input from hundreds of researchers and practitioners, a research agenda was developed for promoting physical activity through environmental and policy interventions. Concept mapping was used to develop the agenda.


Among those who brainstormed ideas, 42% were researchers and 33% were practitioners. The data formed a concept map with 9 distinct clusters. Based on ratings by both researchers and practitioners, the policy research cluster on city planning and design emerged as the most important, with economic evaluation second.


Our research agenda sets the stage for new inquiries to better understand the environmental and policy influences on physical activity.

The entire research agenda is available online at http://prc.slu.edu/paprn.htm. Brownson, Kelly, Eyler, and Carnoske are with the Prevention Research Center, School of Public Health, Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, MO 63104. Kelly is also with Transtria, LLC, Saint Louis, MO. Grost is with the Michigan Dept of Community Health, Cardiovascular Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity, Lansing, MI 48909. Handy is with the Dept of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616. Maddock is with the Office of Public Health Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822. Pluto is with the Prevention Research Center, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208. Ritacco is with the Public Health Division, Oregon Dept of Human Services, Portland, OR 97232. Sallis is with the Dept of Psychology and Active Living Research Program, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182. Schmid is with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NCCDPC/DNPA, Atlanta, GA 30333.