Policy interventions implemented through sporting organisations to promote healthy behaviour change

Sporting organisations provide an important setting for health promoting policies to create health promoting environments and to support health-oriented behaviour change. The introduction of policy interventions within sporting organisations is one strategy to target high risk behaviours such as smoking, alcohol consumption, excess sun exposure, unhealthy eating and discrimination, as those who access sport settings have been shown to have elevated risk behaviours. We found no controlled studies evaluating the effectiveness of policy interventions implemented in sporting settings to promote healthy behaviour. The study designs employed in evaluations of these policies typically have been case studies, thereby limiting our understanding of the effectiveness of such health promoting strategies.

Authors' conclusions: 

We found no controlled studies to guide the use of policy interventions used in sporting settings. The original (2004) searches identified a number of case studies with anecdotal reporting of outcomes. We strongly recommend that rigorous evaluation techniques are employed more commonly in this field to illuminate the impact of health promoting policy on outcomes, and the contexts and processes which are likely to be effective in reducing harmful behaviours.

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Background: 

Sporting organisations provide an important setting for health promotion strategies that involve policies, communication of healthy messages and creation of health promoting environments. The introduction of policy interventions within sporting organisations is one strategy to target high risk behaviours such as smoking, alcohol consumption, excess sun exposure, unhealthy eating and discrimination.

Objectives: 

To update a review of all controlled studies evaluating policy interventions organised through sporting settings to increase healthy behaviour (related to smoking, alcohol, healthy eating, sun protection, discrimination, safety and access).

Search strategy: 

We updated the original (2004) searches in May 2007. We searched: the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL, The Cochrane Library, Issue 2 2007); MEDLINE and MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations (2004 to Week 3 April 2007); EMBASE (2004 to Week 17 2007); PsyclNFO (2004 to April Week 1 2007); CINAHL (2004 to Week 1 May 2007); SPORTDiscus (2004 to April 2007); Sociological Abstracts (2004 to 2007); Dissertation Abstracts (2004 to May 2007), ERIC (2000 to 2007), freely available online health promotion and sports-related databases hosted by leading agencies, and the internet using sport and policy-related key words.

Selection criteria: 

Controlled studies evaluating any policy intervention implemented through sporting organisations to instigate and/or sustain healthy behaviour change, intention to change behaviour, or changes in attitudes, knowledge or awareness of healthy behaviour, in people of all ages. Policies must address any of the following: smoking, alcohol, healthy eating, sun protection, access for disadvantaged groups, physical safety (not including injuries), and social and emotional health (e.g. anti-vilification, anti-discrimination).

Uncontrolled studies which met the other inclusion criteria were to be reported in an annex to the review.

Data collection and analysis: 

We assessed whether identified citations met the inclusion criteria. Abstracts were inspected independently by two review authors and full papers were obtained where necessary. As we located no controlled evaluation studies, we did not undertake data collection or analysis. We found no uncontrolled studies meeting other inclusion criteria, and therefore present no annex to the review.

Main results: 

We found no rigorous studies evaluating the effectiveness of policy interventions organised through sporting organisations to increase healthy behaviours, attitudes, knowledge or the inclusion of health-oriented policies within the organisations.

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