Moving policy evaluation forward: A workshop on how to identify the ‘best buys’ in public policy for the promotion of physical activity and healthy nutrition.

Over the last 3 years, researchers and policy-makers in food and physical activity have been working together to establish the Policy Evaluation Network (PEN). PEN aims to evaluate policy measures to promote a healthy diet and physical activity of the population in terms of their content, implementation and effectiveness.

By means of a background to PEN, urban cities host over half the world’s population and their growth is projected to increase in the foreseeable future. Within these urbanised food and physical activity (PA) systems, promoting health enhancing behaviours and sustainability is challenging. Indeed, the UN Sustainable Development Goals blueprint highlights the need to ‘make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’. A need to move beyond the individual behaviour change to broader policy or systems-based approaches is needed. For Governments, the concept of a ‘best buy’ in public health interventions is associated with evidence of effectiveness, rationale for need and applicability to the target population. Yet, in public sector policy the concept of a ‘best buy’ is far from clear. Indeed, the ‘best buy’ indicators (from a scientific perspective) may not be politically relevant (due to context) and/or difficult to obtain.

The aim of this workshop is to share the learnings from PEN and other national and/or global initiatives focused on examining public policy development, implementation and evaluation in food and PA. This workshop will explore the tensions that exist in identifying policy ‘best buys’, the impact of different stakeholder perspectives’ on agreeing ‘best buys’, and the associated issues of monitoring for accountability at city and national levels.

Award Date
26 April 2022
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Catherine Woods
Host Institution
University of Limerick
Conference and Event Sponsorship Scheme