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Policy evaluation network - Public policies addressing health-related behaviours in Europe

Description

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of global mortality, responsible for 41 million deaths each year. Successful policy actions to address physical inactivity, unhealthy diets and sedentary behaviour have the potential to influence the health and well-being of an entire population. At the public policy level, the initiation, coordination and implementation of policies that enhance opportunities for whole populations to make healthier physical activity- and diet-related choices are necessary.

As part of the Joint Programming Initiative on a Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life (JPI HDHL, www.healthydietforhealthylife.eu), 28 research institutes from seven European countries and New Zealand have combined their expertise to form a Policy Evaluation Network (PEN) with the vision to provide Europe with tools to identify, evaluate and benchmark policies designed to directly or indirectly address physical inactivity, unhealthy diets and sedentary behaviour while accounting for existing health inequities.

During 2021, PEN has published the country reports of the first EU Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI, https://www.jpi-pen.eu/reports.html). PEN scientists also adopted innovative online solutions to coordinate a global academic expert review and a within four PEN EU countries high-level policymaker review to develop the first Physical Activity Environment Policy Index (PA-EPI).

Thus, PEN provided a comprehensive picture of public sector food policy status across the EU, and a tool for gathering similar data on physical activity policy status. In parallel, a set of Selected Instruments for Multilevel PoLicy and impact Evaluation (SIMPLE) modules were finalised for physical activity and diet. These modules can now be used to assist in standardising data collection on physical activity and diet in new surveillance systems. The systematic and regular use of SIMPLE and EPIs has the potential to provide Europe with a roadmap for improvement of public sector policies and actions for health promotion and prevention of non-communicable diseases, including obesity (https://www.jpi-pen.eu/physical-activity-and-diet-simple-modules-overview.html).

PEN made significant progress in improving the knowledge and capacity of ist network. The potential use of various quasi-experimental methods and simulation models to address public health challenges like obesity prevention were applied and synthesized with the aim to combine approaches into a comprehensive solution for public health evaluation. Several meta-, systematic- and narrative-reviews were conducted on areas of interest to PEN, such as policy implementation determinants, frameworks for understanding policy implementation strategies, on the unintended or ‘knock-on’ effects of policy interventions on persons with low income, and on indicators of impact for Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP). These reviews have been published and add significant new knowledge to the area of policy evaluation and benchmarking.

PEN has further developed collaborations with the H2020 projects CO-CREATE, STOP, and Joint Action Best-ReMaP. Over the last year, joint webinars and dissemination events have maximised the dissemination and impact of each individual project. Finally, as part of the PEN Early Career Network (PEN-ECN) a successful mentorship programme was set up, and a webinar series attracted attendees from all over the globe.

Moving now towards the end of the project in July 2022, PEN is organising a symposium which will bring together policymakers and experts working in nutrition and physical activity, to present and discuss recommendations for optimal policy implementation to promote healthy diets, physical activity and to reduce sedentary behaviour across Europe.

Funding period

Begin:   February 2019
End:   July 2022

Sponsor

  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Contact

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Wolfgang Ahrens

Cooperation

  • Dr Olivier Allais (Alimentation et Sciences Sociales (INRA ALISS))
  • Prof Hermann Brenner (German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ))
  • Dr Peter Gelius (Friedrich‐Alexander University, Institute of Sport Science and Sport (FAU-ISS))
  • Dr Janas Harrington (University College Cork (CHDR))
  • Dr Carlijn Kamphuis (Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University (HUL))
  • Prof Thomas Kubiak (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU))
  • Dr Jeroen Lakerveld (Amsterdam UMC (Vumc))
  • Dr Michael Laxy (Helmholtz Zentrum München (T-HMGU))
  • Prof Nanna Lien (University of Oslo, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences (UiO-PHN))
  • Prof Aleksandra Luszczynska (SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities (SWPS))
  • Prof Mario Mazzocchi (University of Bologna (UNIBO))
  • Dr Joerg J. Meerpohl (Medical Center - University of Freiburg (CG-IEM))
  • Dr Gert Mensink (Robert Koch Institute (RKI))
  • Prof Daniele Moro (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC))
  • Dr Laurent Muller (Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory, French National Institute of Agricultural Research (GAEL-INRA))
  • Dr Celine Murrin (University College Dublin (UCD-PH))
  • Dr Eva Rehfuess (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (EBPH-LMU))
  • Dr Piotr Romaniuk (Medical University of Silesia in Katowice (SILVer))
  • Dr Gun Roos (Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet))
  • Prof Ingrid Steenhuis (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU-P&P))
  • Prof Juergen Steinacker (University of Ulm, Division of Sport and Rehabilitation Medicine (UULM))
  • Prof Karien Stronks (Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam (PHP-DP))
  • Prof Frank van Lenthe (Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam (SocialEpiEMCR))
  • Dr Stefanie Vandevijvere (University of Auckland (UOA))
  • Prof Katarzyna Wieczorowska-Tobis (Poznan University of Medical Sciences (PUMS))
  • Prof Catherine Woods (University of Limerick (UL))
  • Prof Joanna Zukowska (Gdansk University of Technlogy (GUT))

Link

Project website

Selected project-related publications

    Articles with peer-review

  • Forberger S, Reisch LA, Meshkovska B, Lobczowska K, Scheller D, Wendt J, Christianson L, Frense J, Steinacker J, Luszczynska A, Zeeb H, on behalf of the PEN consortium. Sugar-sweetened beverage tax implementation processes: Results of a scoping review. Health Research Policy and Systems. 2022;20:33.
    https://doi.org/10.1186/s12961-022-00832-3
  • Lobczowska K, Banik A, Brukalo K, Forberger S, Kubiak T, Romaniuk P, Scheidmeir M, Scheller D, Steinacker J, Wendt J, Wieczorowska-Tobis K, Bekker MPM, Zeeb H, Luszczynska A. Meta-review of implementation determinants for policies promoting healthy diet and physically active lifestyle: Application of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research. Implementation Science. 2022;17:2.
    https://doi.org/10.1186/s13012-021-01176-2
  • Lobczowska K, Banik A, Romaniuk P, Forberger S, Kubiak T, Meshkovska B, Neumann-Podczaska A, Kaczmarek K, Sheidmeir M, Wendt J, Scheller D, Wieczorowska-Tobis K, Steinacker J, Zeeb H, Luszczynska A. Frameworks for implementation of policies promoting healthy nutrition and physically active lifestyle: Systematic review. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2022;19:16.
    https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-021-01242-4
  • Messing S, Forberger S, Woods C, Abu-Omar K, Gelius P. Politik zur Bewegungsförderung in Deutschland: Eine Analyse anhand eines Policy-Audit-Tools der Weltgesundheitsorganisation. Bundesgesundheitsblatt, Gesundheitsforschung, Gesundheitsschutz. 2022;65(1):107-115.
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s00103-021-03403-z
  • Niedermaier T, Gredner T, Kuznia S, Schöttker B, Mons U, Lakerveld J, Ahrens W, Brenner H, on behalf of the PEN consortium. Vitamin D food fortification in European countries: The underused potential to prevent cancer deaths. European Journal of Epidemiology. 2022;37(4):309-320.
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10654-022-00867-4
  • von Philipsborn P, Geffert K, Klinger C, Hebestreit A, Stratil J, Rehfuess E, on behalf of the PEN consortium. Nutrition policies in Germany: A systematic assessment with the Food Environment Policy Index. Public Health Nutrition. 2022;25(6):1691-1700.
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1368980021004742
  • Gelius P, Messing S, Forberger S, Lakerveld J, Mansergh F, Wendel-Vos W, Zukowska J, Woods C, on behalf of the PEN consortium. The added value of using the HEPA PAT for physical activity policy monitoring: A four-country comparison. Health Research Policy and Systems. 2021;19:22.
    https://doi.org/10.1186/s12961-021-00681-6
  • Klinger C, Geffert K, Hebestreit A, Rehfuess E, von Philipsborn P. Schaffung gesunder Ernährungsumfelder: Ergebnisse des Food-EPI. Public Health Forum. 2021;29(4):315-318.
    https://doi.org/10.1515/pubhef-2021-0088
  • Rosas LG, Mensink GBM, Finger JD, Schienkiewitz A, Do S, Wolters M, Stanley I, Abu Omar K, Wieczorowska-Tobis K, Woods CB, Murrin CM, Ahrens W, Hebestreit A, on behalf of the PEN consortium. Selection of key indicators for European policy monitoring and surveillance for dietary behaviour, physical activity and sedentary behaviour. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2021;18:48.
    https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-021-01111-0
  • Volf K, Kelly L, García Bengoechea E, Casey B, Gobis A, Lakerveld J, Zukowska J, Gelius P, Messing S, Forberger S, Woods C. Policy Evaluation Network (PEN): Protocol for systematic literature reviews examining the evidence for impact of policies on physical activity across seven different policy domains. HRB Open Research. 2021;3:62.
    https://doi.org/10.12688/hrbopenres.13089.3
  • Woods CB, Volf K, Kelly L, Casey B, Gelius P, Messing S, Forberger S, Lakerveld J, Zukowska J, García Bengoechea E. The evidence for the impact of policy on physical activity outcomes within the school setting: A systematic review. Journal of Sport and Health Science. 2021;10(3):263-276.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jshs.2021.01.006
  • Lakerveld J, Woods C, Hebestreit A, Brenner H, Flechtner-Mors M, Harrington JM, Kamphuis C, Laxy M, Luszczynska A, Mazzocchi M, Murrin CM, Poelman M, Steenhuis I, Roos G, Steinacker J, Stock C, van Lenthe FJ, Zeeb H, Zukowska J, Ahrens W, on behalf of the PEN consortium. Advancing the evidence base for public policies impacting on dietary behaviour, physical activity and sedentary behaviour in Europe: The Policy Evaluation Network promoting a multidisciplinary approach. Food Policy. 2020;96:101873.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2020.101873
  • Zähringer J, Schwingshackl L, Movsisyan A, Stratil J, Capacci S, Steinacker J, Forberger S, Ahrens W, Küllenberg de Gaudry D, Schünemann H, Meerpohl JJ, on behalf of the PEN consortium. Use of the GRADE approach in health policymaking and evaluation: A scoping review of nutrition and physical activity policies. Implementation Science. 2020;15:37.
    https://doi.org/10.1186/s13012-020-00984-2
  • Hebestreit A, Thumann B, Wolters M, Bucksch J, Huybrechts I, Inchley J, Lange C, Lien N, Manz K, Slimani N, van der Ploeg H, Ahrens W, on behalf of the DEDIPAC consortium. Road map towards a harmonized pan-European surveillance of obesity-related lifestyle behaviours and their determinants in children and adolescents. International Journal of Public Health. 2019;64(4):615-623.
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-019-01227-y
  • Presentations at scientific meetings/conferences (invited)

  • Hebestreit A. Etablierung eines gesamteuropäischen Monitoring- und Surveillance Systems zur Gesundheitsüberwachung in jungen und erwachsenen Bevölkerungsgruppen. Seminarreihe Epidemiologie und Biostatistik des Universitätsklinikums Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), 28. Januar 2022, Online-Vortrag.
  • Ahrens W. Surveillance and policy evaluation. Joint Conference between STOP & Joint Action Best-ReMaP on Policy Solutions for Childhood Obesity, 17-18 November 2021, online presentation.
  • Hebestreit A. Practice examples from EU surveillance systems - Approaches for harmonisation. The WHO/Europe training course on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs): Surveillance, implementation and evaluation, 30 September 2021, online presentation.
  • Hebestreit A. Aus den Nähten geplatzt - Herausforderungen an unsere Ernährungssysteme. 15. Bremer Ernährungsmedizinisches Forum, 23. Juni 2021, Online-Vortrag.
  • Hebestreit A. Herausforderungen an die Kinder- und Jugendgesundheit in Europa. Jubiläumsveranstaltung 10 Jahre Kinder- und Jugendgesundheitsstrategie des Bundesministeriums für Arbeit, Soziales, Gesundheit und Konsumentenschutz (BMASGK) Österreich, 9. November 2021, Online-Vortrag.
  • Ahrens W, Woods C, Lakerveld J. Policy Evaluation Network (PEN) - Public policies addressing health-related behaviours in Europe. Meeting of the STOP General Assembly & Steering Committee, 19-21 June 2019, Paris.
  • Forberger S, Zeeb H, Gelius P, Messing S. Erfassung der Bewegungsförderungspolitik der Bundesländer. 171. Sportreferentenkonferenz, 11.-12. September 2019, Bremen.
  • Ahrens W, on behalf of the DEDIPAC consortium. Determinants of Diet and Physical Activity Knowledge Hub - Accomplishments. BMBF Fachgespräch zur Forschungsagenda der JPI HDHL, 27. Juni 2018, Berlin.
  • Ahrens W, Woods C, Lakerveld J, on behalf of the PEN consortium. PEN - Public policies addressing health-related behaviours in Europe, ERA-HDHL Joint Funding Action. Kick-off-Meeting for Co-Create, 27-28 June 2018, Oslo, Norway.
  • Ahrens W, Woods C, Lakerveld J, on behalf of the PEN consortium. PEN - Public policies addressing health-related behaviours in Europe, ERA-HDHL Joint Funding Action. BMBF Fachgespräch zur Forschungsagenda der JPI HDHL, 27. Juni 2018, Berlin.
  • Presentations at scientific meetings/conferences

  • Forberger S, Reisch LA, Meshkovska B, Lobczowska K, Scheller D, Wendt J, Christianson L, Frense J, Steinacker J, Luszczynska A, Zeeb H. Implementation processes of sugar-sweetened beverage taxes. ISBNPA XChange Initiative, 8-10 June 2021, online presentation.
  • Forberger S, Reisch LA, Meshkovska B, Lobczowska K, Scheller D, Wendt J, Christianson L, Frense J, Steinacker J, Luszczynska A, Zeeb H. Implementation pathways of public physical activity policies. 8th International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH), 12-14 October 2021, online presentation.
  • Ahrens W, on behalf of the PEN consortium. Evaluation of policy measures to promote a healthy diet and physical activity - The PEN project. 16th World Congress on Public Health, 12-16 October 2020, online presentation.
  • Do S, Murrin CM, Hebestreit A. Key indicators for harmonized European population health surveillance: An iterative approach. 16th World Congress on Public Health, 12-16 October 2020, online presentation.
  • Ahrens W, Woods C, Lakerveld J. PEN - Policy Evaluation Network: Expert workshop on surveillance indicators (WP2). Policy Evaluation Network (PEN) Expert Workshop, 26-27 September 2019, Berlin.
  • Posters at scientific meetings/conferences

  • Forberger S, Gelius P, Messing S, Volf K, Kelly L, Taylor S, Zukowska J, Lakerveld J, Woods C. Sub-national structures matter when evaluating physical activity promotion: Lessons from Germany. 16th World Congress on Public Health, 12-16 October 2020, online poster.