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Collaboration between the health and transport sectors in promoting physical activity (2006)

examples from European countries

Between June 2005 and January 2006, examples of collaboration between the health sector and other relevant sectors, especially transport, to promote healthenhancing physical activity were gathered in Europe. Of particular interest were projects with contributions from different sectors and those accompanied by evaluation. Sixty-seven potential case studies were identified; after initial screening, 48 were included. All the projects reported were from the western part of the WHO European Region or Israel, with 19 from the United Kingdom. The case studies were mainly implementation or intervention projects. Most were implemented on a city level (local), followed by projects carried out nationwide. The target population was mostly the “general population”. About two thirds were “behaviour change campaigns” or “engineering or infrastructural measures combined with publicity or motivational measures”. The remaining third mainly comprised “publicity or awareness-raising campaigns to promote active modes of transport”, “research initiatives” and “policy documents describing strategies to promote active modes of transport”. The four sectors most often involved were transport, health, local or subnational public authorities and the private sector. In 25 projects (52%), the health sector collaborated with the transport sector. In 18 projects (38%), the health sector collaborated with a sector other than transport, and in 5 projects (10%), the health sector was not involved. Many case studies focused either on transport-related objectives or on behavioural changes of individuals or target groups and less on infrastructural changes. Twenty-three case studies (49%) recorded participation in promotional campaigns for physical activity or active travel (such as health walks or walking buses), 9 (19%) collected data on modal shift towards walking and cycling (solely assessing before versus after) and 10 (21%) measured specific health outcomes such as the fitness and body fat values of participants (four projects with before-versus-after assessment). Five case studies (10%) provided figures on total physical activity (two projects with a before-versus-after design and the others crosssectional). About one third of the projects conducted before- versus-after assessment or longitudinal evaluation on changes in physical activity levels, health outcomes such as body fat values or changes in travel modes, while the other projects carried out cross-sectional assessment. Case studies involving both the health and the transport sectors were more likely to focus on engineering measures with motivational campaigns to increase physically active transport. Projects not involving the health and the transport sectors more often chose behaviour change campaigns. Information on physical activity levels was often not collected, as it was not considered in evaluating transport-related interventions. Thus, participation of experts from the health sector in planning and implementing interventions – particularly in land use, transport and urban planning – seems to be decisive in assessing the effects on physical activity and other health outcomes. In addition, a standard set of indicators is needed to support more informative evaluation of interventions.

Literatuurverwijzing: Dombois, O.T., Kahlmeier, S., Martin-Diener, E., Martin, B.W., Racioppi, F., & Braun-Fahrländer, C. (2006). Collaboration between the health and transport sectors in promoting physical activity: examples from European countries. Kopenhagen: World Health Organization (WHO).