Pre-conference: Developments in evaluating implementation of public policy for the promotion of physical activity and healthy nutrition  

Wednesday 8 November, 13:30 - 17:00 Dublin time (starting with network lunch at 12:30)

Organised by:

University of Limerick (Ireland)


This workshop aims to share the learnings from the Policy Evaluation Network (PEN) on examining public policy development, implementation and evaluation in food and physical activity (PA).


Public policies are an increasingly important upstream component of PA and dietary behaviours as they have the capacity to influence whole populations. The monitoring and evaluation of public policies related to PA and dietary behaviours are needed towards developing the process and impact of policy implementation, as well as guide future policy design. Yet, the systematic evaluation, benchmarking and monitoring of public policies that promote healthy environments is challenging and remains under-developed, with a standardized assessment of policies needed. Therefore, guidance is needed on how to effectively monitor policy interventions for accountability and impact.


The aim of this workshop is to present research on food and PA policy monitoring and evaluation in Europe, examining monitoring and benchmarking tools for usefulness and potential to address health and sustainability issues, thus being of benefit to both novice and experienced researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. Experts will give presentations from projects (e.g., EU PEN, INFORMAS) designed to advance our understanding of the potential for policy intervention to change environments and behaviour across multiple sectors. The research presented will demonstrate how the ‘Environment Policy Index’ (EPI) tools can assess and compare the extent of implementation of national government policies and actions, for creating healthy environments against international best practice, while also aiding in identifying and prioritizing implementation gaps. Participants will enhance their knowledge on recent developments in PA national policy and implementation and will be invited to partake in an open discussion to critique the evidence presented. Workshop reflections will inform and stimulate future research and practice in this field.


Chair: Prof Catherine Woods, University of Limerick, Ireland.


  1. Dr Sarah Forberger, University of Bremen, Germany: An overview of the ‘Policy Evaluation Network’ and its approach to addressing food and physical activity policy challenges for sustainability and health
  2. Dr Janas Harrington, University College Cork, Ireland: How can policies be improved to create healthier food environments in Europe? Application of the Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) in the EU and in five European countries
  3. Dr Sven Messing, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany: Monitoring and benchmarking government policies and actions to improve the healthiness of PA environments: The Healthy Physical Activity Environment Policy Index (PA-EPI)
  4. Dr Kevin Volf, University of Limerick, Ireland, and Dr Nicole R. den Braver, Amsterdam University Medical Center, Netherlands: Protocol for assessing implementation of physical activity policies by national governments using the Physical Activity Environment Policy Index (PA-EPI)’.  A practical activity to provide experience on how to conduct the PA-EPI
  5. Dr Maartje Poelman, Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands: Monitoring the healthiness of food environments in different indoor and outdoor settings

Discussants: Prof Catherine Woods (University of Limerick), Dr Peter Gelius (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany), Dr Aurelie Van Hoye (University of Lorraine, France)

Main messages

  1. The Environment Policy Index tool/framework enables national and international benchmarking and comparisons of public sector policies.
  2. The Food- and PA-EPIs can help identify the major implementation gaps and prioritize actions needed to address critical gaps in government policies and infrastructure support for implementation.


The registration fee is € 75 which includes networking lunch and refreshments.