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Knai C.,Policy Innovation Research Unit | Petticrew M.,Policy Innovation Research Unit | Durand M.A.,Policy Innovation Research Unit | Eastmure E.,Policy Innovation Research Unit | And 4 more authors.
Food Policy | Year: 2015

The Public Health Responsibility Deal (RD) in England is a public-private partnership involving voluntary pledges between government, industry and other organisations in the areas of food, alcohol, physical activity, and health at work, and is designed to improve public health. The RD is currently being evaluated in terms of its process and likely impact on the health of the English population. This paper analyses the RD food pledges in terms of (i) the evidence of the effectiveness of the specific interventions in the pledges and (ii) the likelihood that the pledges have brought about actions among organisations that would not otherwise have taken place. We systematically reviewed evidence of the effectiveness of the interventions proposed in six food pledges of the RD, namely nutrition labelling (including out-of-home calorie labelling and front-of-pack nutrition labelling), salt reduction, calorie reduction, fruit and vegetable consumption, and reduction of saturated fats. We then analysed publically available data on organisations' plans and progress towards achieving the pledges, and assessed the extent to which activities among organisations could be brought about by the RD. Based on seventeen evidence reviews, some of the RD food interventions could be effective, if fully implemented. However the most effective strategies to improve diet, such as food pricing strategies, restrictions on marketing, and reducing sugar intake, are not reflected in the RD food pledges. Moreover it was difficult to establish the quality and extent of implementation of RD pledge interventions due to the paucity and heterogeneity of organisations' progress reports. Finally, most interventions reported by organisations seemed either clearly (37%) or possibly (37%) already underway, regardless of the RD. Irrespective of the nature of a public health policy to improve nutritional health, pledges or proposed actions need to be evidence-based, well-defined, and measurable, pushing actors to go beyond 'business as usual' and setting out clear penalties for not demonstrating progress. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Knai C.,Policy Innovation Research Unit | Petticrew M.,Policy Innovation Research Unit | Scott C.,Policy Innovation Research Unit | Durand M.A.,Policy Innovation Research Unit | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity | Year: 2015

Background: The Public Health Responsibility Deal (RD) in England is a public-private partnership involving voluntary pledges between government, industry, and other organisations to improve public health by addressing alcohol, food, health at work, and physical activity. This paper analyses the RD physical activity (PA) pledges in terms of the evidence of their potential effectiveness, and the likelihood that they have motivated actions among organisations that would not otherwise have taken place. Methods: We systematically reviewed evidence of the effectiveness of interventions proposed in four PA pledges of the RD, namely, those on physical activity in the community; physical activity guidelines; active travel; and physical activity in the workplace. We then analysed publically available data on RD signatory organisations' plans and progress towards achieving the physical activity pledges, and assessed the extent to which activities among organisations could be attributed to the RD. Results: Where combined with environmental approaches, interventions such as mass media campaigns to communicate the benefits of physical activity, active travel in children and adults, and workplace-related interventions could in principle be effective, if fully implemented. However, most activities proposed by each PA pledge involved providing information or enabling choice, which has limited effectiveness. Moreover, it was difficult to establish the extent of implementation of pledges within organisations, given that progress reports were mostly unavailable, and, where provided, it was difficult to ascertain their relevance to the RD pledges. Finally, 15 % of interventions listed in organisations' delivery plans were judged to be the result of participation in the RD, meaning that most actions taken by organisations were likely already under way, regardless of the RD. Conclusions: Irrespective of the nature of a public health policy to encourage physical activity, targets need to be evidence-based, well-defined, measurable and encourage organisations to go beyond business as usual. RD physical activity targets do not adequately fulfill these criteria. © 2015 Knai et al.

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