Context: Physical activity coalitions are increasingly forming to meet the demands associated with policy, systems, and environmental change necessary to realize increases in population levels of physical activity. Little is known about what makes physical activity coalitions successful; however, evidence from community-based coalitions in other public health domains suggests that factors related to each organization that joins a coalition may explain coalition success or failure.
Objective: The objective of this study was to employ qualitative methods to understand the factors related to organizations' decisions to join and remain committed to the coalition that developed and launched the US National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP).
Design/Setting: Qualitative semistructured phone interviews were conducted with key informants from the NPAP coalition's partner organizations. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded separately by members of the research team.
Participants: Fourteen individuals representing 13 NPAP partner organizations participated in the study.
Main Outcome Measures: Analysis focused on key factors explaining why and how partner organizations decided to join and remain committed to the NPAP coalition.
Results: Five primary factors emerged: (1) strategic alignment, (2) organizational alignment, (3) provide input, (4) seminal event, and (5) cost/benefit ratio.
Conclusions: Building and maintaining a physical activity coalition with highly committed partners may hinge upon the ability to fully understand how each current or prospective partner perceives it could benefit from strategic alignment with the coalition, aligning with other organizations involved with the coalition, having input with the coalition's activities, participating in important events and products of the coalition, and realizing more overall advantages than disadvantages for participating in the coalition.
This study aims at employing qualitative methods to understand the factors related to organizations' decisions to join and remain committed to the coalition that developed and launched the US National Physical Activity Plan.
Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina (Mr Bornstein); Prevention Research Center, Washington University in St Louis, St Louis, Missouri (Mr Carnoske and Dr Tabak); Office of Public Health Studies, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii (Dr Maddock); School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona (Dr Hooker); and Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Dr Evenson).
Correspondence: Daniel B. Bornstein, BS, Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, 921 Assembly St, Ste 212, Columbia, SC 29208.
This work was supported by Cooperative Agreement #U48-DP-001903 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Prevention Research Centers Program, Physical Activity Policy Research Network, and the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion by Cooperative agreement number 5-U48-DP-001936. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the CDC.
The authors are thankful for the support from the Physical Activity Policy Research Network and the office of the National Physical Activity Plan. They especially thank members of the National Physical Activity Plan's Coordinating Committee who agreed to participate.
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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.