Newsletter May 2024

ISBNPA Policies and Environments SIG

Welcome from the SIG Co-chairs

Dear Policies and Environment SIG members,


We are delighted to be joining you at the ISBNPA conference in Omaha, Nebraska. It is great to have the opportunity to meet many colleagues we have known and indeed meet new people, see new faces and make new connections. There are also many interesting presentations in the programme dealing with topics of interest to both the environment and policy context.


In this newsletter we feature some interesting papers and introduce you to an Early Career Researcher. We also have details on Policies and Environments SIG networking event in Omaha!! Finally, this is a call to action, we are seeking members to join our Policies and Environment SIG leadership team, if you are interested in any of the many roles available, please contact Janas or I and let us know.


Have a wonderful conference,

See you in Omaha,

Catherine and Janas,

Policies & Environment SIG Co-Chairs



@ ANNUAL MEETING - 2024 - Omaha, US, May 20-23


The Organizing Committee of ISBNPA 2024 Annual Meeting are pleased to offer you this wide selection of workshops that will take place at the CHI Health Convention Centre on May 20, 2024


Full conference program is available [HERE].


SIG Award Session

Monday, May 20, 5:15 PM - 6:30 PM, Room 214

SIG Meeting

Tuesday, May 21, 1:15 PM – 2:00 PM in Room 214

SIG Social Activity


The Policies and Environments SIG will be hosting a social event at ISBNPA 2024 in Omaha. We’ll meet Monday at 6:30 PM local time at the CHI Health Center MECA Drive Entrance. We’ll walk about 10 minutes to the Old Market District [] go on a self-guided walking tour together, and eat dinner at Barry’s Tavern. Please fill out this two-question survey to let us know if you can make it!


Looking forward to seeing you in Omaha.


The Leadership Team


There is little robust evidence of how sustainable park interventions impact on physical activity and other behaviours important for wellbeing. This controlled natural experimental study aimed to examine the effects of co-designing a sustainable park intervention, in a deprived UK urban area, on walking and other wellbeing behaviours.


Behaviour observations were conducted at two intervention sites and two matched comparison sites (n = 4,783). Walking observations (primary outcome), wellbeing behaviours (vigorous, sedentary, social and take notice activities) and demographic characteristics were assessed at pre-intervention, and post-intervention (3 and 15 months). Outcomes were compared between intervention and comparison groups, controlling for pre-intervention using multilevel negative binomial regression models. Additional behaviour observations were conducted in two unchanged nearby sites to assess changes in general local activity. Intercept surveys (n = 623) assessed change in self-reported outdoor space usage at intervention and control areas.


Post-intervention, walking increased 203 % at 3 months (IRR 2·03, 95 % CI 1·01-4·09) and 351 % at 15 months (IRR 3·51, 95 % CI 2·07-5·93), for intervention sites relative to comparison sites. Large increases for other wellbeing behaviours were also observed. The proportion of non-white persons increased substantially post-intervention, compared to comparison sites. Nearby unchanged sites showed little evidence of general increased activity. Self-reported outdoor usage increased more in the intervention sites (p=<0·001).


Sustainable solutions can yield large increases in walking and wellbeing in deprived areas, especially where interventions are co-designed with residents. More collaborative and robust natural experimental studies like this are needed to better inform decision-makers how to maximise health and wellbeing outcomes from sustainable interventions.




Jamie Anderson, Jack S. Benton, Junyan Ye, Ellie Barker, Vanessa G. Macintyre, Jack Wilkinson, James Rothwell, Matthew Dennis, David P. French. Large walking and wellbeing behaviour benefits of co-designed sustainable park improvements: A natural experimental study in a UK deprived urban area,

Environment International,2024,108669,



Jack Benton is a Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, UK. Jack has a background in health psychology and was awarded a PhD in 2021. His research is dedicated to evaluating the impacts of built environment interventions on physical activity, with a specific focus on using natural experiment methodology. His first major contribution to physical activity research was in 2016 during his master’s degree, when he published a review that produced eight important recommendations to reduce the high risk of bias in natural experimental studies of built environment interventions on physical activity ( []). This paper was published in IJBNPA and won the journal prize for Best Qualitative/Systematic Review Paper, recognizing its substantial contribution to the field. This paper laid the foundation for his PhD research, during which he made significant advancements in natural experimental methods, resulting in five first-author publications. The methods developed by Jack during his PhD are now increasingly cited as best practice. For example, the World Health Organization cited his methods as an exemplar for robustly evaluating urban green space interventions ( []). He is now involved in multiple ongoing natural experiment collaborations with researchers across Europe, North America, and Asia.


Since completing his PhD, Jack was awarded a Wellcome Trust pump-priming fellowship in 2022, and more recently, he was awarded a prestigious University of Manchester Simon Research Fellowship. He will be developing new methods and theory to improve natural experiment research on urban green spaces and wellbeing.

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