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Monitoring policy implementation and supporting early career researchers to create healthy physical activity and food environments in Europe
Physical Activity Environment Policy Index
Effective government policies and actions can support healthy diets and improve population levels of physical activity (PA). Consequently, reducing levels of obesity, diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCD), and their related inequalities. The Policy Evaluation Network (PEN) developed the ‘Physical Activity Environment Policy Index’ (PA-EPI), a monitoring framework to assess government actions for creating a healthy PA policy environment. It is conceptualised as a two-component ‘policy’ and ‘infrastructure support’ framework. The policy domains are education, transport, urban design, healthcare, 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’ across the domains conclude the PA-EPI. 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 policies and implementing actions to address inactivity.
Food Environment Policy Index
In collaboration with the STOP project, a Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) in eleven European countries is currently being created. This is the first study to systematically monitor and assess the level of food environment policy and infrastructure support implementation in Europe using a validated tool. It outlines the strategic priority actions focused on improving food environments that are required to reduce obesity and NCDs in Europe.
The Policy Evaluation Network (PEN) Early Career Network
The PEN Early Career Network (PEN-ECN) was established to foster the interaction, capacity, and growth of early career researchers, practitioners, and related professionals within the PEN project. The ECN has organised several webinars and successfully launched initiatives such as the ‘Journal and Coffee Club’ and the ‘PEN Mentorship Program’, which is a particular highlight, established to facilitate the exchange of guidance, expertise, and experiences between members of PEN. The network has attracted a stable and expanding membership base. Currently, the possibility of collaborating with early careers researchers/practitioners from other projects funded by the Joint Programming Initiative on a Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life (JPI-HDHL) is being explored. This would lend itself to the current PEN-ECN becoming a JPI-HDHL ECN consisting of early careers researchers/practitioners from various JPI-HDHL projects.
Further details regarding PEN-ECN activities can be found here.