Fiona C. Bull, Karen Milton and Sonja Kahlmeier
Physical inactivity is a leading risk factor for noncommunicable disease worldwide. Increasing physical activity requires large scale actions and relevant, supportive national policy across multiple sectors.
The policy audit tool (PAT) was developed to provide a standardized instrument to assess national policy approaches to physical activity. A draft tool, based on earlier work, was developed and pilot-tested in 7 countries.
After several rounds of revisions, the final PAT comprises 27 items and collects information on 1) government structure, 2) development and content of identified key policies across multiple sectors, 3) the experience of policy implementation at both the national and local level, and 4) a summary of the PAT completion process.
PAT provides a standardized instrument for assessing progress of national policy on physical activity. Engaging a diverse international group of countries in the development helped ensure PAT has applicability across a wide range of countries and contexts. Experiences from the development of the PAT suggests that undertaking an audit of health enhancing physical activity (HEPA) policy can stimulate greater awareness of current policy opportunities and gaps, promote critical debate across sectors, and provide a catalyst for collaboration on policy level actions. The final tool is available online.
Sonja Kahlmeier, Francesca Racioppi, Nick Cavill, Harry Rutter and Pekka Oja
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.
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.
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.
Signe B. Daugbjerg, Sonja Kahlmeier, Francesca Racioppi, Eva Martin-Diener, Brian Martin, Pekka Oja and Fiona Bull
Over the past years there has been increasing interest in physical activity promotion and the development of appropriate policy. So far, there has been no comprehensive overview of the activities taking place in Europe in this area of public health policy.
Using different search methods, 49 national policy documents on physical activity promotion were identified. An analysis grid covering key features was developed for the analysis of the 27 documents published in English.
Analysis showed that many general recommendations for policy developments are being followed, for example: general goals were formulated, an implementation plan was included, a timeframe and a responsible body for the implementation was often specified. However, limited evidence for intersectoral collaboration was found. Quantified goals for physical activity were the exception. Population groups most in need such as people with low levels of physical activity were rarely specifically targeted. Most policies emphasized the importance of an evaluation. However, only about half of them indicated a related intention or requirement.
In recent years there has been a noticeable development of national policy documents on physical activity promotion. Following principles for policy development more closely could increase the effectiveness of their preparation and implementation further.