Physical Activity Policies at National and Subnational Levels: A Study in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Mexico

Juliana Mejía Grueso, Michael Pratt, Eugen Resendiz, Deborah Salvo, Gloria Isabel Niño Cruz, Nubia Yaneth Ruiz Gómez, Rafael Alexander Leandro Gómez, Inés Revuelta Sánchez, Gerardo Alonso Araya Vargas, Angélica María Ochoa Avilés, Raúl Francisco Pérez Tasigchana, Alejandra Jáuregui, Pedro C. Hallal, Andrea Ramírez Varela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: National physical activity (PA) policy processes are only beginning to be studied in Latin America, and little attention has focused at the subnational level. This study examined national–subnational relations in the policy process (agenda setting, policy formulation, adoption, implementation, and evaluation) in selected Latin American countries. Methods: The Global Observatory for Physical Activity’s (GoPA!) INTEGRATE-PA-Pol tool was applied in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Mexico. Data were collected in matched pairs of the capital plus one noncapital city among national and subnational policymakers (n = 27), previously identified by the GoPA! Country Contacts. PA policy development and implementation were assessed using descriptive statistics. Results: Twenty-three (response rate = 85.2%) informants provided data, mainly from the health sector (52.2%), followed by the sport (26.1%), transport (13.0%), and education (8.7%) sectors. Most informants reported that their countries had a current PA policy embedded within noncommunicable diseases prevention plans (46.2%), other plans (46.2%), or obesity prevention/management/control plans (7.7%). Respondents at the subnational level rated PA promotion as central (64.3%), while the national-level role was important but not central (75.0%). National and subnational policymakers indicated low-to-little involvement in the other level’s PA policy processes across the 5 policy stages. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that collecting national and subnational PA policy data across countries with the active collaboration of the GoPA! network was feasible. We also successfully identified governmental interactions throughout the PA policy process, suggesting suboptimal engagement between national and subnational levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-457
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Volume21
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2024

Keywords

  • INTEGRATE PA-Pol
  • Latin America
  • epidemiology
  • policy
  • policymakers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Epidemiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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