Partnerships and Community Engagement Key to Policy, Systems, and Environmental Achievements for Healthy Eating and Active Living: a Systematic Mapping Review
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Partnerships and Community Engagement Key to Policy, Systems, and Environmental Achievements for Healthy Eating and Active Living: a Systematic Mapping Review

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    Prev Chronic Dis
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    Policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change approaches frequently address healthy eating and active living (HEAL) priorities. However, the health effects of PSE HEAL initiatives are not well known because of their design complexity and short duration. Planning and evaluation frameworks can guide PSE activities to generate collective impact. We applied a systematic mapping review to the Individual plus PSE Conceptual Framework for Action (I+PSE) to describe characteristics, achievements, challenges, and evaluation strategies of PSE HEAL initiatives.


    We identified peer-reviewed articles published from January 2009 through January 2021 by using CINAHL, Web of Science, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and CAB Abstracts databases. Articles describing implementation and results of PSE HEAL initiatives were included. Activities were mapped against I+PSE components to identify gaps in evaluation efforts.


    Independent reviewers examined 437 titles and abstracts; 52 peer-reviewed articles met all inclusion criteria. Twenty-four focused on healthy eating, 5 on active living, and 23 on HEAL. Descriptive analyses identified federal funding of initiatives (typically 1–3 years), multisector settings, and mixed-methods evaluation strategies as dominant characteristics. Only 11 articles reported on initiatives that used a formal planning and evaluation framework. Achievements focused on partnership development, individual behavior, environmental or policy changes, and provision of technical assistance. Challenges included lack of local coalition and community engagement in initiatives and evaluation activities and insufficient time and resources to accomplish objectives. The review team noted vague or absent descriptions of evaluation activities, resulting in questionable characterizations of processes and outcomes. Although formation of partnerships was the most commonly reported accomplishment, I+PSE mapping revealed a lack of engagement assessment and its contributions toward initiative impact.


    PSE HEAL initiatives reported successes in multiple areas but also challenges related to partnership engagement and community buy-in. These 2 areas are essential for the success of PSE HEAL initiatives and need to be adequately evaluated so improvements can be made.

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