Whole of systems approaches to physical activity policy and practice in Australia: The ASAPa project overview and initial systems map

William Bellew, Tracey Nau, Ben Smith, Jo-An Atkinson, Harry Rutter

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section

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Background: The literature on whole of system approaches (WSAs) has been largely theoretical in focus. The Australian Systems Approaches to Physical Activity is a national project designed to contribute a practical implementation focus to such approaches at the population level. Methods: National meetings were convened with federal and state government sector stakeholders to identify physical activity (PA) related policies and programs. Policies and programs were audited to develop an understanding of the existing PA system. A WSA conceptual map for PA was developed using feedback from system stakeholders, existing WSAs, and related work in obesity. Results: Completion of the policy audit has revealed key areas of need regarding policy governance, coordination, financing, and evaluation. An initial WSA conceptual map for Australia has been developed incorporating governance, translation, and advocacy. Stakeholder co-production of an integrated framework for PA and design plans for a community of practice knowledge hub has commenced. Conclusions: In Australia, Australian Systems Approaches to Physical Activity project partners have developed a conceptual whole of systems map that is guiding progress beyond the theoretical to application in the real world: A national PA policy audit, co-production of an integrated PA policy framework, and planning for a PA community of practice knowledge hub.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGetting Australia Active III
Subtitle of host publicationA systems approach to physical activity for policy makers
EditorsBill Bellew, Tracy Nau, Ben Smith, Adrian Bauman
Place of PublicationSydney
PublisherSax Institute
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Publication series

NameJournal of Physical Activity and Health
ISSN (Print)1543-3080


  • Government
  • Health promotion
  • Prevention
  • Public health
  • Systems thinking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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