“Getting Ireland Active”—Application of a Systems Approach to Increase Physical Activity in Ireland Using the GAPPA Framework

Joey Murphy, Fiona Mansergh, Marie H. Murphy, Niamh Murphy, Benny Cullen, Sarah O'Brien, Stephen Finn, Grainne O'Donoghue, Niamh Barry, Shirley O'Shea, Kevin Leyden, Peter Smyth, Jemima Cooper, Enrique Bengoechea, Nick Cavill, Andrew Milat, Adrian Bauman, Catherine Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Physical activity (PA) promotion is a complex challenge, with the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity (GAPPA) endorsing a systems approach and recommending countries assess existing areas of progress which can be strengthened. This paper reports a process facilitating a systems approach for identifying current good practice and gaps for promoting PA in Ireland. Elements of participatory action research were enabled through 3 stages: (1) aligning examples of actions from Irish policy documents (n = 3) to the GAPPA, (2) workshop with stakeholders across multiple sectors, and (3) review of outputs. Data collected through the workshop were analyzed using a deductive thematic analysis guided by the GAPPA. The policy context in Ireland aligns closely to the GAPPA with the creation of Active Systems the most common strategic objective across policy documents. Forty participants (50% male) took part in the systems approach workshop, which after revision resulted in 80 examples of good practice and 121 actions for greater impact. A pragmatic and replicable process facilitating a systems approach was adopted and showed current Irish policy and practices align with the GAPPA “good practices.” The process provides existing areas of progress which can be strengthened, as well as the policy opportunities and practice gaps.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1427–1436
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number11
Early online date27 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021


  • collaboration
  • Methods
  • participatory action research
  • pragmatic

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