Saturday, January 31, 2015

Good practice characteristics of diet and physical activity interventions and policies

Diet, physical activity and sedentary behaviour are main determinants of avoidable burden of disease. To promote health healthy lifestyles, public policies that promote or endorse such lifestyles are of crucial importance. Within the DEDIPAC (Determinants of Diet and Physical Activity) joint action of the Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life European Joint Programming initiative, we conducted an umbrella review -i.e. a systematic reviews of existing reviews- aimed at eliciting good practice characteristics of interventions and policies aiming at healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and lowering sedentary behaviours. This umbrella review was just published in the journal BMC Public Health.
We applied the World Health Organization’s framework, and sought for 3 types of characteristics, reflecting: (1) main intervention/policy characteristics, referring to the design, targets, and participants, (2) monitoring and evaluation processes, and (3) implementation issues.
We derived a list of 149 potential good practice characteristics, of which 53 were classified as relevant. The main characteristics of intervention/policy fell into 6 categories: the use of intervention theory, participants, target behavior, content development/management, multidimensionality, practitioners/settings. Monitoring and evaluation characteristics were also grouped into 6 categories: costs/funding, outcomes, evaluation of effects, time/effect size, reach, the evaluation of participation and generalizability, active components/underlying processes. Implementation characteristics were grouped into eight categories: participation processes, training for practitioners, the use/integration of existing resources, feasibility, maintenance/sustainability, implementation partnerships, implementation consistency/adaptation processes, transferability.
The use of the proposed list of 53 good practice characteristics may foster further development of health promotion sciences, as it would allow for identification of success vectors in the domains of main characteristics of interventions/policies, their implementation, evaluation and monitoring processes.