Translating active living research into policy and practice: one important pathway to chronic disease prevention
Giles-Corti, B.; Sallis, J.F.; Sugiyama, T.; Frank, L.D.; Lowe, M.; Owen, N.
Journal of Public Health Policy 36(2): 231-243
Global concerns about rising levels of chronic disease make timely translation of research into policy and practice a priority. There is a need to tackle common risk factors: tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, and harmful alcohol use. Using evidence to inform policy and practice is challenging, often hampered by a poor fit between academic research and the needs of policymakers and practitioners--notably for active living researchers whose objective is to increase population physical activity by changing the ways cities are designed and built. We propose 10 strategies that may facilitate translation of research into health-enhancing urban planning policy. Strategies include interdisciplinary research teams of policymakers and practitioners; undertaking explicitly policy-relevant research; adopting appropriate study designs and methodologies (evaluation of policy initiatives as 'natural experiments'); and adopting dissemination strategies that include knowledge brokers, advocates, and lobbyists. Conducting more policy-relevant research will require training for researchers as well as different rewards in academia.