Communicating Prevention Messages to Policy Makers: The Role of Stories in Promoting Physical Activity

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health


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.


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.


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.


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.

Stamatakis ( is with the Dept of Surgery and Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. McBride is with the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. Brownson is with the Prevention Research Center, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.