Determinants of evidence use in public health policy making: Results from a study across six EU countries

L.A.M. van de Goor, R.M. Hämäläinen, A. Syed, C. Juel Lau, P. Sandu, H. Spitters, L. Eklund Karlsson, D. Dulf, A. Valente, T. Castellani, A.R. Aro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The knowledge-practice gap in public health is widely known. The importance of using different types of evidence for the development of effective health promotion has also been emphasized.
Nevertheless, in practice, intervention decisions are often based on perceived short-term opportunities, lacking the most effective approaches, thus limiting the impact of health promotion strategies. This article focuses on facilitators and barriers in the use of evidence in developing health enhancing physical activity policies.
Data was collected in 2012 by interviewing 86 key stakeholders from six EU countries (FI, DK, UK, NL, IT, RO) using a common topic guide. Content analysis and concept mapping was used to construct a map of facilitators and barriers.
Barriers and facilitators experienced by most stakeholders and policy context in each country are analysed. A lack of locally useful and concrete evidence, evidence on costs, and a lack of joint understanding were specific hindrances. Also users’ characteristics and the role media play were identified as factors of influence.
Attention for individual and social factors within the policy context might provide the key to enhance more sustainable evidence use. Developing and evaluating tailored approaches impacting on networking, personal relationships, collaboration and evidence coproduction is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273–281
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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