INTERPRETATION OF PROCESSES IN DEVELOPING A NEW PROVINCIAL EDUCATION POLICY TO INCREASE STUDENT PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Wiebe, Rebecca Lynn
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Objective: Significant efforts have been made to address childhood obesity. Overtime we have realized obesity requires strong political leadership and population level interventions, considering there are many environmental factors contributing to obesity. Stakeholders in Manitoba have created a policy that in combination with other initiatives is attempting to increase physical activity and in turn combat the obesity epidemic. Therefore the objective of this study was to understand the complexities involved with developing an innovative policy. Results from this study would refine our understanding on how policy is enacted, provide information on the support for and resistance of policies for decision makers in the future, and contribute an historical record to Manitoba stakeholders. Mobilizing these context-specific findings will inform other Canadian provinces or jurisdictions on how to develop, integrate and implement a similar policy. Methods: This study employed a retrospective single case study design. Twelve participants were purposively selected from provincial and local-levels and invited to participate in a 45 minute semi-structured telephone interview examining the developmental processes involved in the Physical Education/Health Education policy. The data consisted of two sources. The primary sources consisted of 9 interview transcripts and the secondary sources consisted of several important documents that assisted filling in gaps pertaining to the policy. Qualitative analyses were separated into two parts. The first part identified common themes from the interview transcripts, and the second part organized the data into stages from an existing model for analysis. Results: The analysis identified several influential factors that facilitated moving the policy process forward. More specifically, the factors existing between the Policy Formulation and Implementation stages were critically analyzed revealing collaboration and on-going communication as important features for developing and implementing policies. The Stages Model proved to be relatively uninformative yielding minimal information to understanding the policy process. Therefore researchers should seek out additional theories or models in future research. Conclusions: The findings from this research project have contributed valuable knowledge and insights. Lessons learned from this project will assist future decision makers on how to develop and implement a similar policy in another province or jurisdiction.