Although multiple systematic reviews indicate that various determinants (barriers and facilitators) occur in the implementation processes of policies promoting healthy diet, physical activity (PA), and sedentary behavior (SB) reduction, the overarching synthesis of such reviews is missing. Applying the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR), this meta-review aims to (1) identify determinants that were systematically indicated as occurring during the implementation processes and (2) identify differences in the presence of determinants across reviews versus stakeholder documents on healthy diet/PA/SB policies, reviews/stakeholder documents addressing healthy diet policies versus PA/SB policies targeting any population/setting, and healthy diet/PA/SB policies focusing on school settings.
A meta-review of published systematic scoping or realist reviews (k = 25) and stakeholder documents (k = 17) was conducted. Data from nine bibliographic databases and documentation of nine major stakeholders were systematically searched. Included reviews (72%) and stakeholder documents (100%) provided qualitative synthesis of original research on implementation determinants of policies promoting healthy diet or PA or SB reduction, and 28% of reviews provided some quantitative synthesis. Determinants were considered strongly supported if they were indicated by ≥ 60.0% of included reviews/stakeholder documents.
Across the 26 CFIR-based implementation determinants, seven were supported by 66.7–76.2% of reviews/stakeholder documents. These determinants were cost, networking with other organizations/communities, external policies, structural characteristics of the setting, implementation climate, readiness for implementation, and knowledge/beliefs of involved individuals. Most frequently, published reviews provided support for inner setting and individual determinants, whereas stakeholder documents supported outer and inner setting implementation determinants. Comparisons between policies promoting healthy diet with PA/SB policies revealed shared support for only three implementation determinants: cost, implementation climate, and knowledge/beliefs. In the case of healthy diet/PA/SB policies targeting school settings, 14 out of 26 implementation determinants were strongly supported.
The strongly supported (i.e., systematically indicated) determinants may guide policymakers and researchers who need to prioritize potential implementation determinants when planning and monitoring the implementation of respective policies. Future research should quantitatively assess the importance or role of determinants and test investigate associations between determinants and progress of implementation processes.