National policy response to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: a physical activity case study of Wales

Catherine A. Sharp, Kelly A. Mackintosh, Rhi Wilmot, Rachel Hughes, Melitta A. McNarry, Karen Milton

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Background: Population level changes in physical activity (PA) may benefit from policy intervention. In response to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Wales introduced legislation to holistically improve health and well-being, including Public Service Boards, to improve the translation of national policy into practice. Method: An audit of policies published by national and subnational public bodies since 2015 was conducted. Content of the policies were extracted and synthesized to determine: (1) how many policies included a PA action, (2) what the drivers of those policies were, (3) the content of the PA actions, and (4) how the PA actions aligned with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. Results: Sixteen national-level documents with a PA action were published by 4 of 13 public bodies. The policies vary in terms of the clarity and specificity of the actions, the assignment of clear roles/responsibilities, and the setting of targets. Of the 19 subnational Public Service Boards well-being policies, 15 included PA actions. Conclusion: This audit provides a valuable example of how connections between national and subnational policy can be achieved. The appointment of Public Service Boards has supported the translation of policies into practice in Wales, and similar approaches could be utilized in other countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316–326
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number4
Early online date11 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Public Services Boards
  • Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015
  • collaboration
  • legislation
  • policy analysis

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