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Health Policy. 2014 Feb;114(2-3):174-82. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2013.10.004. Epub 2013 Oct 23.

'Are we there yet?' - operationalizing the concept of Integrated Public Health Policies.

Author information

1
Academic Collaborative Centre for Public Health Limburg, Regional Public Health Service, Geleen, The Netherlands; Department of Health Promotion, Caphri, School of Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands. Electronic address: anna-marie.hendriks@maastrichtuniversity.nl.
2
Tranzo, Scientific Center for Care and Welfare, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands.
3
Academic Collaborative Centre for Public Health Limburg, Regional Public Health Service, Geleen, The Netherlands; Department of Health Services Research, Caphri, School of Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
4
Department of Health Promotion, NUTRIM, School for Nutrition, Toxicology and Metabolism, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
5
Department of Health Promotion, Caphri, School of Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands; Department of Health Promotion, NUTRIM, School for Nutrition, Toxicology and Metabolism, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
6
Tranzo, Scientific Center for Care and Welfare, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands; National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.
7
University College London, Division of Psychology, London, United Kingdom.
8
Centre for Outcomes Research and Effectiveness, University College London, United Kingdom.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Although 'integrated' public health policies are assumed to be the ideal way to optimize public health, it remains hard to determine how far removed we are from this ideal, since clear operational criteria and defining characteristics are lacking.

METHODS:

A literature review identified gaps in previous operationalizations of integrated public health policies. We searched for an approach that could fill these gaps.

RESULTS:

We propose the following defining characteristics of an integrated policy: (1) the combination of policies includes an appropriate mix of interventions that optimizes the functioning of the behavioral system, thus ensuring that motivation, capability and opportunity interact in such a way that they promote the preferred (health-promoting) behavior of the target population, and (2) the policies are implemented by the relevant policy sectors from different policy domains.

CONCLUSION:

Our criteria should offer added value since they describe pathways in the process towards formulating integrated policy. The aim of introducing our operationalization is to assist policy makers and researchers in identifying truly integrated cases. The Behavior Change Wheel proved to be a useful framework to develop operational criteria to assess the current state of integrated public health policies in practice.

KEYWORDS:

Health in all policies; Healthy public policy; Integrated approach; Integrated public health policies; Intersectoral collaboration; Whole-of-government approach

PMID:
24210088
DOI:
10.1016/j.healthpol.2013.10.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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