Worldwide use of the first set of physical activity Country Cards: The Global Observatory for Physical Activity – GoPA!

Newsletter International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. Andrea Ramirez Varela, Deborah Salvo, Michael Pratt, Karen Milton, Katja Siefken, Adrian Bauman, Harold W. Kohl III, I-Min Lee, Gregory Heath, Charlie Foster, Kenneth Powell and Pedro C. Hallal.

Background

The work of The Global Observatory for Physical Activity-GoPA! is the first global effort to compile standardized country-level surveillance, policy and research data for physical activity in order to better understand how countries and regions address promoting physical activity. GoPA! developed standardized country-specific physical activity profiles (“Country Cards”) to summarize country-level data through 2013. The aim of this study was to assess use of the Country Cards, identify the factors associated with their use, and develop recommendations for supporting country-level physical activity promotion.

Methods

Cross sectional internet-based survey conducted between August–October 2016. Target study participants were national physical activity leaders and advocates in academia, government and practice from the GoPA! countries, and members of the International Society of Physical Activity and Health. A Country Card use composite score was created based on the diversity and frequency of use. Statistical analyses on the associations between the composite score and respondent characteristics, country characteristics, barriers and opinions were conducted (including descriptive analyses and a logistic regression with robust standard errors).

Results

One hundred forty three participants from 68 countries completed the survey. Use of the Country Cards was associated with being part of the GoPA! network, knowing about the Country Cards, and on the stage of country capacity for physical activity promotion. Country Card knowledge varied by country income group, region and the country specific context. More diverse and frequent use of the cards (highest tertile of the composite score for use) was associated with: 1. Being a country contact vs general participant (OR 18.32–95% CI 5.63–59.55, p = 0.002), and 2. Collaborating with a government representative working in NCDs on a monthly or more frequent contact vs less frequent contact (OR 3.39–95% CI 1.00–11.54, P< 0.05).

Conclusions

For the Country Cards to have a broader impact, GoPA! will need to widen its reach beyond the academic sector. With further refinement of the cards, and training in their implementation, they could be an important tool for advancing country capacity for contextually-relevant strategies, actions and timelines for PA promotion.

Keywords

Global health, Process evaluation, Public health, Surveillance data methods.

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