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Public acceptability of public health policy to improve population health: A population-based survey

Sharp, CA, Bellis, MA, Hughes, K, Ford, K and Di Lemma, LCG (2020) Public acceptability of public health policy to improve population health: A population-based survey. Health Expectations, 23 (4). pp. 802-812. ISSN 1369-6513

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Open Access URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hex.13041 (Published Version)


Background: For public health policies to be effective, it is critical that they are acceptable to the public as acceptance levels impact success rate. Objective: To explore public acceptance of public health statements and examine differences in acceptability across socio-demographics, health behaviours (physical activity, diet, binge drinking and smoking), health status and well-being. Method: A cross-sectional survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample (N = 1001) using a random stratified sampling method. Face-to-face interviews were conducted at homes of residents in Wales aged 16+ years. Individuals reported whether they agreed, had no opinion, or disagreed with 12 public health statements. Results: More than half of the sample were supportive of 10 out of 12 statements. The three statements with the greatest support (>80% agreement) reflected the importance of: a safe and loving childhood to becoming a healthy adult, schools teaching about health, and healthier foods costing less. Individuals who engaged in unhealthy behaviours were less likely to agree with some of the statements (eg 39.8% of binge drinkers agreed alcohol adverts should be banned compared to 57.6% of those who never binge drink; P <.001). Conclusions: Findings show an appetite for public health policies among the majority of the public. The relationship between supporting policies and engaging in healthy behaviours suggests a feedback loop that is potentially capable of shifting both public opinion and the opportunities for policy intervention. If a nation becomes healthier, this could illicit greater support for stronger policies which could encourage more people to move in a healthier direction.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans; Cross-Sectional Studies; Alcohol Drinking; Health Policy; Public Opinion; Adult; Child; Population Health; alcohol; diet; general health; national survey; physical activity; policy; public acceptance; public health; smoking; well-being; Adult; Alcohol Drinking; Child; Cross-Sectional Studies; Health Policy; Humans; Population Health; Public Opinion; 1110 Nursing; 1117 Public Health and Health Services; 1701 Psychology; Public Health
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Public Health Institute
Publisher: Wiley
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2022 10:55
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2022 10:55
DOI or ID number: 10.1111/hex.13041
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/18461
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