MAY 2023

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Welcome to the pre-conference SIG on Policies and Environment newsletter...

Dear Policies and Environment SIG members,

We are delighted to be joining you at the ISBNPA conference in Uppsala, Sweden. 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. Congratulations to those presenters who have been shortlisted for the ISBNPA awards, best of luck in your presentations.

In this newsletter we feature some interesting papers and present the shortlisted candidates for oral and poster presentations at ISBNPA 2023. We also have details on Policies and Environments SIG networking event in Uppsala!! 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 Uppsala,

Catherine and Janas

Policies & Environment SIG Co-Chairs

Professor Catherine Woods 
Policies & Environment SIG Co-Chair

Policy/Environment Issue of Expertise/Interest 
  • Development of national physical activity policies.
  • Physical activity policy implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
  • Systems approaches to addressing physical inactivity.

Dr. Janas Harrington
Policies & Environment SIG Co-Chair

Policy/Environment Issue of Expertise/Interest 
  • Upstream determinants of population diets.
  • Association between diet patterns and chronic disease.  
  • National physical activity policies.
  • Food and nutrition policy implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
  • Systems approaches to addressing physical inactivity. 

Policies and Environment SIG Social Activity

Are you interested in networking with the Policies and Environments SIG?

The Policies and Environments SIG are organizing a social activities for SIG members at ISBNPA 2023. ‘Join us for an Uppsala City Tour and afterwards for a meal’, if interested sign up below (places are limited). The deadline for expressions of interest is May 24th.

Looking forward to seeing you all in Uppsala!


Join us at ISBNPA Annual Meeting in Uppsala, Sweden, 14-17 June 2023!

The Organizing Committee of ISBNPA 2023 Annual Meeting are pleased to offer you this wide selection of workshops that will take place at the Uppsala Biomedical Centre on June 14, 2023 (exact timing will be confirmed per workshop)

Full conference program is available at

A brief overview of Policies and Environments (SIG) symposia, short orals, and oral presentations are noted below. We would encourage you to attend as many as possible and further develop networks within the field. We look forward to seeing some of you there!

S.1.02 - The methodological challenges of understanding and transforming systems to promote healthier dietary and physical activity behaviours: lessons from the LIKE and Mandala programmes

Thursday, June 15, 2023, 8:15 AM - 9:30 AM

S.1.06 - Measuring health-related features of the natural, built and food environments in low- and middle-income countries: a syndemic approach

Thursday, June 15, 2023, 8:15 AM - 9:30 AM

SO.1.02 - Policies for healthy environments

O.1.02 - Evidence-based approaches for the promotion of healthy foods

S.1.12 - Experiences of policy and research co-creation with young people: Learnings from the COCREATE Project

Thursday, June 15, 2023, 4:15 PM - 5:30 PM

S.1.16 - Leveraging Systems Science to Improve Nutrition and Obesity-Related Policy and Actions

Thursday, June 15, 2023, 4:15 PM - 5:30 PM

For more information,

Research Impact

The Policy Evaluation Network (PEN)

Unhealthy behaviours, including physical inactivity impact public health outcomes. Successful policy action is needed to address physical inactivity, unhealthy diets and sedentary behaviour.

The funded period of the PEN project ended in July 2022 and a journal supplement compiling important results is now available online, published by the Eur J Public Health. This special issue titled Creating evidence for public policies to improve diet and physical activity behaviours in Europe comprises 13 manuscripts that are output from the PEN project. Topics examined include new theoretical models to advance our understanding of the policy process and its evaluation. It provides an overview of priority public policies and policy areas most likely to sustainably reduce physical inactivity, unhealthy diets and sedentary behaviour. It explores the first steps in a bespoke policy monitoring and health surveillance system for Europe, and a refinement of our knowledge of appropriate research designs and methods for the quantification of policy impact. PEN results illustrate how best to evaluate the implementation and impact of policy in order to yield the best results for a healthy life of European citizens. Importantly, PEN has provided recommendations on equity and diversity to ensure that policy actions are inclusive as opposed to exclusive.


The full supplement is available online at:


One of the special edition papers describes the development process of the ‘Physical Activity Environment Policy Index’ (PA-EPI) monitoring framework, a tool to assess government policies and actions for creating a healthy PA environment. The PA-EPI is a tool that can be used to monitor and benchmark public sector PA policies and actions, the latter involving a panel of experts independent of government policy makers. The paper outlines the projected steps in the use of the PA-EPI to compare government policies, over time and across countries, to stimulate actions to improve the healthiness of the physical activity environment. These steps are modelled after the INFORMAS monitoring framework23 currently used in 30 countries worldwide ( Figure 1 outlines ‘The Physical Activity Environment Policy Index’ (PA-EPI) Framework.


Catherine B Woods, Liam Kelly, Kevin Volf, Peter Gelius, Sven Messing, Sarah Forberger, Jeroen Lakerveld, Nicolette R den Braver, Joanna Zukowska, Enrique García Bengoechea, on behalf of the PEN consortium, The Physical Activity Environment Policy Index for monitoring government policies and actions to improve physical activity, European Journal of Public Health, Volume 32, Issue Supplement_4, December 2022, Pages iv50–iv58,

1000 Cities Challenge – Global Observatory of Healthy and Sustainable Cities

The Global Observatory of Healthy and Sustainable Cities is an open-data platform for measuring of the health and sustainability of cities internationally. It provides comparable and evidence-based policy and spatial indicators and city scorecards, to help inform urban policy and planning.

The 1000 Cities Challenge is scaling up the Global Observatory, to include over 1000 cities from across the globe. City governments, advocacy organisations, geospatial data scientists, policy researchers, and the Open Data community are invited to use our open-source tools to generate an indicator scorecard for your city. By joining the 1000 Cities Challenge you can become part of a global research collaboration, and get your city included in the Global Observatory. Find out more and sign up at:

Collaboration Corner

Aurelie Van Hoye

Aurélie Van Hoye is a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the Physical Activity for Health (PAfH) research centre at the University of Limerick ( and Associate Professor at the Public Health research laboratory APEMAC of the University of Lorraine. Aurélie has a background in sports sciences, health promotion and was awarded a PhD in sports psychology in 2013. Her research is dedicated to the application of the socio-ecological approach to physical activity, with a specific focus on health promoting sports clubs, the application of the settings-based approach to sport sector.

Marie Curie Fellowship are grants funded by the European Commission to provide a unique opportunity for the development of early career researcher’s independence as post-doctoral researchers, under the supervision of a leader in the field ( Aurelie’s Marie Curie project focused on the identification of support for health promotion policy development in sports clubs. This project used the Health Promoting Sports Clubs National Audit Tool in Ireland, supporting a comprehensive review of national to local public policies. This Marie Curie Fellowship provided an amazing development environment in the PAfH research centre and at the University of Limerick, by opening collaboration with Professor Catherine Woods and her team to work with the Policy Evaluation Network ((, and also a research stay to the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg University to work on local physical activity policy monitoring.

Five publications are in the making, as well as the Health Promoting Sports Federation Guidelines, edited by the World Health Organisation ( This research calls for three practical implications: (1) a better consideration of health promotion as an umbrella concept under which to tackle specific health topics (e.g. doping, violence prevention, addiction…), (2) more recognition of sports clubs as a setting in policy (similar to schools, workplaces or cities) and (3) a better empowerment of national sports federation as key stakeholders supporting volunteer-run sports clubs.

Featured Articles

Paper 1 

Nicolette R. den Braver, Joline W.J. Beulens, C. Fangyun Wu, Ghazal S. Fazli, Peter Gozdyra, Nicholas A. Howell, Jeroen Lakerveld, John S. Moin, Femke Rutters, Johannes Brug, Rahim Moineddin, Gillian L. Booth; Higher Neighborhood Drivability Is Associated With a Higher Diabetes Risk in Younger Adults: A Population-Based Cohort Study in Toronto, Canada. Diabetes Care 2023; dc221549.

Author details:

Dr. den Braver is an epidemiologist and public health researcher with expertise is on upstream determinants of lifestyle and non-communicable disease. She investigated the role of the built environment with regard to lifestyle behaviours and T2D incidence, and the role of policy to promote healthy lifestyle. In the PEN project (JPI-HDHL), she contributed to the development of the PA-EPI, and she currently leads the implementation of PA-EPI in the Netherlands. Furthermore, Dr. den Braver is involved in policy evaluation of traffic policies (lower speed limits) in Dutch cities, closely collaborating with the municipality, in an awarded Vital Cities grant (together with Erasmus University). Also, she is involved in large consortia, including Exposome-NL, with expertise on environmental impact on lifestyle and health. In her research line, she uses novel methodologies (such as the PA-EPI) to identify evidence and leverage points for creating healthy environments with policy.    

In her travel fellowship with Prof. Gillian Booth, Dr. Den Braver developed a neighborhood drivability index, to quantify the impact of built environments that support car use. In her studies she found that highly drivable neighborhoods especially enhanced car use for short trips (<3 km), for which cycling or walking is a feasible alternative. In this study, drivability in Toronto was linked to almost 1,5 million working age adults, residing in Toronto and followed over 7 years of follow-up. Younger adults (20-34 years old) with a middle income were at a twofold risk of developing diabetes when residing in a highly drivable neighborhood. This offers important insights in early prevention of non-communicable disease, through healthy living environments that facilitate active transport.

Paper 2

Tara A Kenny, Jayne V Woodside, Ivan J Perry, Janas M Harrington, Consumer attitudes and behaviors toward more sustainable diets: a scoping review, Nutrition Reviews, 2023; nuad033,

FEAST Project details:

2022 saw the launch of FEAST (Food systems that support transitions to healthy and sustainable diets), a new Horizon Europe research and innovation project. FEAST aims to support a shift away from the current ‘Lose-Lose-Lose-Win' food systems that see only large food corporations ‘winning’ at the expense of the environment, health and the public sector, and towards a ‘Win-Win-Win-Win’ outcome. The FEAST consortium is made up of 35 partners across fifteen countries, including academic, social enterprise and community groups. The consortium also includes thirteen living labs, a mix of cities, towns and rural areas, spread across the different regions of Europe. The living labs will facilitate co-creation of innovative solutions in real-world settings, drawing on the knowledge and expertise of citizens, especially those from vulnerable groups. FEAST members are also in conversation with colleagues in sister projects PlanEAT and SWITCH with a view to maximising impact and efficiency across the Farm2Fork research program.

FEAST’s first article, “Transitions to food democracy through multilevel governance” has just been published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems and can be read here: For more information and ongoing updates on FEAST, check, or follow FEAST on LinkedIn.

Paper 3

Ryan, D.J., Benton, J.S. Using automated active infrared counters to estimate footfall on urban park footpaths: behavioural stability and validity testing. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2023; 20, 49.

Author details:

Dr Jack Benton is currently a Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, having recently been awarded a Wellcome Trust ISSF Pump-Priming Fellowship. Building on his PhD research, he is currently developing novel methods using video technology to assess physical activity behaviours in urban environments. He has a keen interest in using natural experimental methods to evaluate the health and wellbeing impacts of urban environmental interventions. He is involved in multiple natural experimental research collaborations, for example, the EU Horizon 2020 funded GrowGreen project to evaluate the health and wellbeing impacts of nature-based solutions in cities across Europe and China ( In this newly published paper in IJBNPA, he has collaborated with Dr Declan Ryan from the University of Northampton (UK), where they have tested the reliability of infrared counters as an unobtrusive method of assessing footfall in urban environments. This paper provides important methodological and practical recommendations for researchers using automated counters.

Upcoming Conferences/Events
  • EASO, 30th European Congress on Obesity, Dublin, Ireland.17-20 May 2023
  • ACSM, Denver, Colorado, USA. 30 May - 2 June, 2023
  • Nordic Health Promotion Conference, Halmstadt, Sweden. 14-16 June 2023
  • ISBNPA, Uppsala, Sweden. 14-17 June 2023
  • ICDAM, Limerick, Ireland. 26-29 June 2023
  • ISAPA2023, Dunedin, New Zealand. 26-30 June 2023
  • ECSS 2023, Paris. 4-7 July 2023
  • 12th Conference of HEPA Europe, Leuven, Belgium. 11-13 September 2023
  • EUPHA, Dublin, Ireland. 8-11 November 2023
ISBNPA Awards Shortlist

The following have been shortlisted for Policies and Environment ISBNPA 2023 awards.

Jamie Anderson

  • The effects of the “Grow Green” urban greening improvements on physical activity and other wellbeing behaviours in Manchester UK: A natural experimental study

Narakorn Wongsingha

  • Investments in community-wide initiative in physical activity: how do we evaluate its implementation and public participation?

Julie Lengle

  • Environmental impact of Norwegian self-selected diets and potential benefits of transitions to diets consistent with national and international dietary guidelines

Lisa Quintiliani

  • Multilevel Physical Activity Intervention for Low Income Public Housing Residents in the U.S.: Protocol for the Community Walks Trial

Thera A. M. Peeters (Corresponding Author)

  • Effect of Changing Fast-food Environments on Children’s Eating Behaviour: A Random Effect Within Between Analysis within the Generation R Study

Jasmine Kaidbey

  • State laws that expand water access are less common and less opposed than state laws that restrict sugar sweetened beverages in the United States

Andrea Barney

  • Carbon footprint of diets among K-12 students in the USA

Kamila Tiemann Gabe

  • Is the adherence to the food practices recommended by the 2014 Brazilian Food Guide associated with a healthier diet?

Gabriel Wong

  • Understanding the perspectives of the food retail sector towards policies to reduce sodium in the food supply

Emily Denniss

  • Nutrition-related information on Instagram: A content analysis of posts by popular Australian accounts

Rebecca Kehm

  • Neighborhood environment and physical activity in girls: findings from the LEGACY Girls Study


Come meet these excellent researchers at our SIG meeting:

SIG.1.11 - Policies and environments

Thursday, June 15, 2023

11:15 - 11:45

Hall B, Level 3

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