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Regulation to create environments conducive to physical activity : understanding the barriers and facilitators at the Australian State Government level

Shill, Jane, Mavoa, Helen, Crammond, Brad, Loff, Bebe, Peeters, Anna, Lawrence, Mark, Allender, Steven, Sacks, Gary and Swinburn, boyd A 2012, Regulation to create environments conducive to physical activity : understanding the barriers and facilitators at the Australian State Government level, PLoS one, vol. 7, no. 9, e42831, pp. 1-11, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042831.

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Title Regulation to create environments conducive to physical activity : understanding the barriers and facilitators at the Australian State Government level
Author(s) Shill, Jane
Mavoa, Helen
Crammond, Brad
Loff, Bebe
Peeters, Anna
Lawrence, MarkORCID iD for Lawrence, Mark orcid.org/0000-0001-6899-3983
Allender, Steven
Sacks, GaryORCID iD for Sacks, Gary orcid.org/0000-0001-9736-1539
Swinburn, boyd A
Journal name PLoS one
Volume number 7
Issue number 9
Season e42831
Start page 1
End page 11
Total pages 11
Publisher Public Library of Science
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2012-09-27
ISSN 1932-6203
Keyword(s) policy
government regulation
health promotion
physical activity
Summary Introduction Policy and regulatory interventions aimed at creating environments more conducive to physical activity (PA) are an important component of strategies to improve population levels of PA. However, many potentially effective policies are not being broadly implemented. This study sought to identify potential policy/regulatory interventions targeting PA environments, and barriers/facilitators to their implementation at the Australian state/territory government level.

Methods In-depth interviews were conducted with senior representatives from state/territory governments, statutory authorities and non-government organisations (n = 40) to examine participants': 1) suggestions for regulatory interventions to create environments more conducive to PA; 2) support for preselected regulatory interventions derived from a literature review. Thematic and constant comparative analyses were conducted.

Results Policy interventions most commonly suggested by participants fell into two areas: 1) urban planning and provision of infrastructure to promote active travel; 2) discouraging the use of private motorised vehicles. Of the eleven preselected interventions presented to participants, interventions relating to walkability/cycling and PA facilities received greatest support. Interventions involving subsidisation (of public transport, PA-equipment) and the provision of more public transport infrastructure received least support. These were perceived as not economically viable or unlikely to increase PA levels. Dominant barriers were: the powerful ‘road lobby’, weaknesses in the planning system and the cost of potential interventions. Facilitators were: the provision of evidence, collaboration across sectors, and synergies with climate change/environment agendas.

Conclusion This study points to how difficult it will be to achieve policy change when there is a powerful ‘road lobby’ and government investment prioritises road infrastructure over PA-promoting infrastructure. It highlights the pivotal role of the planning and transport sectors in implementing PA-promoting policy, however suggests the need for clearer guidelines and responsibilities for state and local government levels in these areas. Health outcomes need to be given more direct consideration and greater priority within non-health sectors.
Notes This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Language eng
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0042831
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2012, Shill et al.
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30052299

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Population Health
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.