International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 64, Issue 8, pp 1159–1172 | Cite as

Creating a whole-of-government approach to promoting healthy weight: What can Health in All Policies contribute?

  • Helen van EykEmail author
  • Fran Baum
  • Toni Delany-Crowe
Original article



This paper examines the opportunities and barriers that the South Australian Health in all Policies (SA HiAP) approach encountered when seeking to establish a whole-of-government response to promoting healthy weight.


The paper draws on data collected during 31 semi-structured interviews, analysis of 113 documents, and a program logic model developed via workshops to show the causal links between strategies and anticipated outcomes.


A South Australian Government target to increase healthy weight was supported by SA HiAP to develop a cross-government response. Our analysis shows what supported and hindered implementation. A combination of economic and systemic framing, in conjunction with a co-benefits approach, facilitated intersectoral engagement. The program logic shows how implementation can be expected to contribute to a population with healthy weight.


The HiAP approach achieved some success in encouraging a range of government departments to contribute to a healthy weight target. However, a comprehensive approach requires national regulation to address the commercial determinants of health and underlying causes of population obesity in addition to cross-government action to promote population healthy weight through regional government action.


Health in All Policies Intersectoral action Healthy public policy Determinants of health Healthy weight Obesity 



We acknowledge the input of all Chief and Associate Investigators who have contributed to the design of this research: Angela Lawless, Colin MacDougall, Jennie Popay, Elizabeth Harris, Dennis McDermott, Danny Broderick, Ilona Kickbusch, Michael Marmot, Kevin Buckett, Sandy Pitcher, Andrew Stanley, Carmel Williams and Deborah Wildgoose. The views expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect those of the South Australian Government. This work was supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (Grant No. 1027561).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants

The research was conducted according to the guidelines in the Declaration of Helsinki and all data collection activities involving human subjects received prior approval by the Flinders University Social and Behavioural Research Ethics Committee (Project number 5518) and the SA Health Research Ethics Committee (Reference number HREC/12/SAH/74).

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants involved in the study prior to interview, including consent to record and transcribe their interview. Interviewees were also offered the opportunity to review and revise the transcripts of their interviews.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southgate Institute for Health, Society and EquityFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia

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