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Health Policy. 2011 Jun;101(1):11-9. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2010.09.011. Epub 2010 Oct 27.

Multi-sector policy action to create activity-friendly environments for children: a multiple-case study.

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  • 1Tilburg University, Department Tranzo, LE Tilburg, The Netherlands. m.j.aarts@uvt.nl



The aim of this study is (1) to gain insight into current multi-sector policy initiatives that contribute to activity-friendly environments for children in four Dutch municipalities, (2) to investigate the role of multi-sector collaboration in multi-sector policy action and (3) to gain insight into critical facilitators and possible challenges for multi-sector policy action aimed at creating activity-friendly environments for children.


A policy analysis was conducted in four Dutch municipalities by means of semi-structured interviews with 25 policy officers from different policy sectors. Interviews were transcribed ad verbatim and analyzed using qualitative data coding software.


Each policy sector carried out policy measures related to (the environmental determinants of) physical activity among children, but most respondents were not aware of the potential effectiveness of their policy measures regarding this topic. In two municipalities structural collaboration between policy sectors was present, but the number of sectors involved was limited. Awareness and support among all policy sectors, a stimulating political environment, and knowing each other and being informed about other sectors' policies were mentioned as facilitators for multi-sector policy action. The main challenge for multi-sector policy action was lack of time and resources.


This study shows that multi-sector policy action aimed at activity-friendly environments could be stimulated by raising awareness and defining problem ownership, enhancing multi-sector collaboration and paying attention to facilitators and challenges.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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