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Lindsey Cox, Victoria Berends, James F. Sallis, Jessica Marie St. John, Betsy McNeil, Martin Gonzalez and Peggy Agron

Background:

Most youth are not meeting physical activity guidelines, and schools are a key venue for providing physical activity. School districts can provide physical activity opportunities through the adoption, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of policies. This paper reports results of a 2009 survey of California school governance leaders on the barriers and opportunities to providing school-based physical activity and strategies to promote adoption of evidence-based policies.

Methods:

California school board members (n = 339) completed an 83 item online survey about policy options, perceptions, and barriers to improving physical activity in schools.

Results:

Board members’ highest rated barriers to providing physical activity were budget concerns, limited time in a school day, and competing priorities. The key policy opportunities to increase physical activity were improving the quantity and quality of physical education, integrating physical activity throughout the school day, supporting active transportation to/from school, providing access to physical activity facilities during nonschool hours, and integrating physical activity into before/after school programs.

Conclusions:

Survey findings were used to develop policy resources and trainings for school governance leaders that provide a comprehensive approach to improving physical activity in schools.

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Amy Eyler, Ross Brownson, Tom Schmid and Michael Pratt

With increasing evidence of the detrimental effects of physical inactivity, there is interest in enhancing research on policies that may influence physical activity in communities. Given the potential policy impact, a framework that organized and conceptualized policy interventions and priorities for public health efforts to promote physical activity was developed. In addition, the Physical Activity Policy Research Network (PAPRN) was formed as a way to operationalize the contents of the framework. Recommendations for future work in this area include enhancing transdisciplinary collaborations, raising the priority of policy evaluation, studying policies at all levels, and emphasizing dissemination of findings.

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Nisha Botchwey, Myron F. Floyd, Keshia Pollack Porter, Carmen L. Cutter, Chad Spoon, Tom L. Schmid, Terry L. Conway, J. Aaron Hipp, Anna J. Kim, M. Renee Umstattd Meyer, Amanda L. Walker, Tina J. Kauh and Jim F. Sallis

spend large amounts of time, such as schools, child-care facilities, and parks, as well as changes to local, state, and federal policies, have the potential to reduce sedentary behavior and increase PA. Environment and policy changes are recommended by the Institute of Medicine and others as critical

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Genevieve F. Dunton, Michael Cousineau and Kim D. Reynolds

Background:

Policy strategies aimed at modifying aspects of the social, physical, economic, and educational environments have been proposed as potential solutions to the growing problem of physical inactivity. To develop effective physical activity policies in these and other areas, greater understanding of how and why policies successfully impact behavior change is needed.

Methods:

The current paper proposes a conceptual framework explaining how policy strategies map onto health behavior theoretical variables and processes thought to lead to physical activity change. This framework is used to make hypotheses about the potential effectiveness of different policy strategies.

Results:

Health behavior theories suggest that policies providing information may be particularly useful for individuals who are not yet considering or have only recently begun to consider becoming more physically active. Policies that provide opportunities may be less effective for individuals who do not find physical activity to be inherently fun and interesting. Policies that offer incentives or require the behavior may not be particularly useful at promoting long-term changes in physical activity.

Conclusion:

Exploring possible connections between policy strategies and theoretical constructs can help to clarify how each approach might work and for whom it may be the most appropriate to implement.

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Katherine A. Stamatakis, Timothy D. McBride and Ross C. Brownson

Background:

While effective interventions to promote physical activity have been identified, efforts to translate these interventions into policy have lagged behind. To improve the translation of evidence into policy, researchers and public health practitioners need to consider new ways for communicating health promoting messages to state and local policymakers.

Methods:

In this article, we describe issues related to the translation of evidence supporting physical activity promotion, and offer some communication approaches and tools that are likely to be beneficial in translating research to policy.

Results:

We discuss the use of narrative (ie, stories) and describe its potential role in improving communication of research in policy-making settings. In addition, we provide an outline for the development and design of policy briefs on physical activity, and for how to target these briefs effectively to policy-oriented audiences.

Conclusions:

Improvements in researchers' and practitioners' abilities to translate the evidence they generate into high-quality materials for policy makers can greatly enhance efforts to enact policies that promote physical activity.

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Susan A. Carlson, Roxanna Guide, Thomas L. Schmid, Latetia V. Moore, Danielle T. Barradas and Janet E. Fulton

Background:

Street-scale urban design policies are recommended to increase physical activity in communities. Our purpose was to examine U.S. public support for local street-scale urban design features and policies.

Methods:

Analysis is based on a cross-sectional national sample of adults (n = 4682) participating in the 2006 HealthStyles mail survey.

Results:

About 57% of adults rated local street-scale urban design as highly important in determining the amount of physical activity they obtain. Adjusted odds of rating neighborhood features as having high importance were higher in people aged ≥65 years versus those <65 and minority racial/ethnic groups versus non-Hispanic whites. Two-thirds of adults were willing to take civic action to support local street-scale urban design policy. Adjusted odds of being willing to take any action versus none was higher in non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics versus non-Hispanic whites, was higher in those with household incomes ≥$60,000 versus ≤$15,000 per year, and increased as education and perceived importance of neighborhood features increased.

Conclusions:

There are high levels of public support for local street-scale urban design policies; however, demographic differences exist in the level of support. These differences are important considerations for policymakers and for those designing community programs targeting street-scale urban design features and policies.

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Tom Kane

September 2017, the Commission defined evidence as aggregate-level data produced by “statistical activities” with a “statistical purpose” that is potentially useful for evaluating government programs and policies and evidence-based policies as the application of evidence to inform decisions in

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Anna E. Mathews, Delores Pluto, Olga Ogoussan and Jorge Banda

Background:

When promoting active travel to school, it is important to consider school and district policies as well as attitudes of school and district administrators.

Methods:

School principals and district officials in South Carolina participated in the School Travel Survey. Frequency distributions and Chi-squared tests were used to analyze the data.

Results:

Three hundred fourteen persons responded to the survey (53.2% response rate). Sixty-five percent of district officials reported having a clear position about students walking to school, 80.0% of which were supportive. Seventy-two percent of principals reported having a clear position about walking to school, 67% of which were supportive. These positions were most commonly communicated either orally or through memos or other written documentation rather than through official, written policies or directives. Respondents who personally supported walking to school were more likely to believe that walking to school benefited students' health (χ2 = 8.82, df = 1, P = .003) and academic performance (χ2 = 14.87, df = 1, P < .0001).

Conclusions:

Promotion of walking to school should encourage schools and districts to develop official, written directives or policies. Promotional efforts may benefit from linking active travel to academic performance and health.

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Sonja Kahlmeier, Francesca Racioppi, Nick Cavill, Harry Rutter and Pekka Oja

Background:

There is growing interest in “Health in All Policies” approaches, aiming at promoting health through policies which are under the control of nonhealth sectors. While economic appraisal is an established practice in transport planning, health effects are rarely taken into account. An international project was carried out to develop guidance and tools for practitioners for quantifying the health effects of cycling and walking, supporting their full appraisal.

Development Process:

A systematic review of existing approaches was carried out. Then, the products were developed with an international expert panel through an extensive consensus finding process.

Products and Applications:

Methodological guidance was developed which addresses the main challenges practitioners encounter in the quantification of health effects from cycling and walking. A “Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) for cycling” was developed which is being used in several countries.

Conclusions:

There is a need for a more consistent approach to the quantification of health benefits from cycling and walking. This project is providing guidance and an illustrative tool for cycling for practical application. Results show that substantial savings can be expected. Such tools illustrate the importance of considering health in transport policy and infrastructure planning, putting “Health in All Policies” into practice.

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Katie M. Heinrich, Nancee N. Aki, Heidi Hansen-Smith, Mark Fenton and Jay Maddock

Background:

Policy changes were needed to reshape the built environment for active transportation.

Methods:

Using the social ecological model as a framework, the Healthy Hawaii Initiative worked with a contractor to develop a series of meetings, planning sessions, and workshops. Activities spanned 22 months between 2007 and 2009, and involved multiple stakeholders, including educational outreach for legislators and collaborative planning sessions with advocates.

Results:

Ultimately, with the help of the contractor to initiate the process, Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School (SRTS) legislation were introduced January 2009. Advocacy groups monitored bill progress, testified at hearings, and assisted in rewording the bills. The SRTS statute required the Department of Transportation (DOT) to administer the federal SRTS funds and the complete streets law tasked the state and county DOTs to adopt complete streets policies and review existing highway design standards and guidelines. Both bills were signed into law June 2009.

Conclusions:

Focusing efforts at multiple levels of the social ecological model involving champions and key stakeholders led to the successful passage of legislation supporting active transportation. Tracking policy implementation and evaluation over time will help determine actual impact on active transportation behaviors across Hawaii.