Towards Evidence-Informed Policymaking in Physical Activity

There is strong evidence for physical activity enhancing health; also prominent calls were presented in the recent Lancet Series for Physical Activity to build policies and supporting daily living environment to sustain physical activity [1]. Papers also in this journal deal with interventions to increase physical activity [2,3].

Even when we do have accumulating research evidence on contextual factors being important to physical activity, it has proved difficult to integrate research evidence with real-life policymaking. One reason for this is that compared to clinical field mostly dealing with individuals, in policymaking, research evidence is seldom the driving force; instead, ‘other kinds of evidence’ such as local population characteristics, local values, priorities, and resources play an important role [4]. Applying research evidence to enhance physical activity in policies e.g. building a bicycle lane in a city needs to happen in collaboration and on equal footing between research producers and policy stakeholders. This kind of collaborative policymaking is called evidence-informed instead of evidence-based, meaning that research evidence only informs policymaking.


Arja R Aro

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