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Translating evidence to policy: urban interventions and physical activity promotion in Bogotá, Colombia and Curitiba, Brazil

ABSTRACT

The growing evidence of the influence of urban environment on physical activity (PA) underscore the need for novel policy solutions to address the inequality, lack of space, and limited PA resources in rapidly growing Latin American cities. This study aims to better understand the PA policy process by conducting two case studies of Bogotá’s Ciclovía and Curitiba’s CuritibAtiva. Literature review of peer- and non-peer-reviewed documents and semi-structured interviews with stakeholders was conducted. In the cases of Ciclovía and CuritibAtiva, most policies conducive to program development and sustainability were developed outside the health sector in sports and recreation, urban planning, environment, and transportation. Both programs were developed by governments as initiatives to overcome inequalities and provide quality of life. In both programs, multisectoral policies mainly from recreation and urban planning created a window of opportunity for the development and sustainability of the programs and environments supportive of PA.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are deeply indebted to all the people who contributed to this paper by providing information. In alphabetical order they are Lucy Barriga, Miguel Ignacio Bermúdez, Carlos Orlando Ferreira, Rocío Gamez, Juan Camilo Hoyos, Edwin Martínez, Felipe Montes, Guillermo Peñalosa, Mauricio Ramos, Augusto Ramírez Ocampo, Oscar Ruiz, Alfonso Segura, and Roberto Zarama. The authors also want to thank Laura Fernanda Romero and Natalia Salamanca who transcribed all the interviews, James Merrel and Roy Nijhof for their valuable comments on earlier versions of this manuscript, and Diana Fernández and Gustavo Espinel for designing the figures. We also are grateful for the support from Amy Eyler and Ciro Romélio Rodriguez-Añez. This study was funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contract U48/DP000060 (Prevention Research Centers Program) Physical Activity Policy Research Network and Project GUIA (Guide for Useful Interventions for Activity). It also received funding from Colciencias grant 519 2010. Sarmiento received funding from the fund for sustainable mobility research projects by La Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá.

Author information

Correspondence to Adriana Díaz del Castillo MD, MA.

Additional information

Implications

Practice: Building on other sectors’ initiatives (i.e., sports and recreation, culture, education, urban planning) can be a successful strategy for promoting physical activity where resources are limited.

Policy: Policies at the local and national level that incorporate multisectoral collaborations are essential for the development and sustainability of massive programs that promote physical activity.

Research: There is a need for evaluating physical activity community programs and catching-up with practice-based evidence, which can be enhanced by the joint work of international networks and multidisciplinary groups.

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Cite this article

Díaz del Castillo, A., Sarmiento, O.L., Reis, R.S. et al. Translating evidence to policy: urban interventions and physical activity promotion in Bogotá, Colombia and Curitiba, Brazil. Behav. Med. Pract. Policy Res. 1, 350–360 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13142-011-0038-y

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KEYWORDS

  • Physical activity
  • Health promotion
  • Policy
  • Community interventions