The Physical Activity Environment Policy Index for monitoring government policies and actions to improve physical activity

Catherine B. Woods, Liam Kelly, Kevin Volf, Peter Gelius, Sven Messing, Sarah Forberger, Jeroen Lakerveld, Nicolette R. den Braver, Joanna Zukowska, Enrique García Bengoechea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A multifaceted response, including government action, is essential to improve population levels of physical activity (PA). This article 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. Methods: An iterative process was undertaken. This involved a review of policy documents from authoritative organizations, a PA policy audit of four European countries, and a systematic review of scientific literature. This was followed by an online consultation with academic experts (N = 101; 20 countries, 72% response rate), and policymakers (N = 40, 4 EU countries). During this process, consensus workshops were conducted, where quantitative and qualitative data, alongside theoretical and pragmatic considerations, were used to inform PA-EPI development. Results: The PA-EPI is conceptualized as a two-component 'policy' and 'infrastructure support' framework. The two-components comprise eight policy and seven infrastructure support domains. The policy domains are education, transport, urban design, healthcare, public education (including mass media), sport-for-all, workplaces and community. The infrastructure support domains are leadership, governance, monitoring and intelligence, funding and resources, platforms for interaction, workforce development and health-in-all-policies. Forty-five 'good practice statements' or indicators of ideal good practice within each domain conclude the PA-EPI. A potential eight-step process for conducting the PA-EPI is described. Conclusions: Once pre-tested and piloted in several countries of various sizes and income levels, the PA-EPI good practice statements will evolve into benchmarks established by governments at the forefront of creating and implementing policies to address inactivity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)IV50-IV58
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number4 S
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • Environment
  • Exercise
  • Government
  • Humans
  • Policy
  • Sedentary Behavior

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