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A systematic review of health promotion intervention studies in the police force: study characteristics, intervention design and impacts on health
  1. Freya MacMillan1,2,
  2. Diana Karamacoska1,3,
  3. Aymen El Masri1,
  4. Kate A McBride2,
  5. Genevieve Z Steiner1,4,
  6. Amelia Cook1,
  7. Gregory S Kolt1,
  8. Nerida Klupp1,
  9. Emma S George1
  1. 1 School of Science and Health, Western Sydney University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2 Translational Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3 Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
  4. 4 NICM, Western Sydney University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Freya MacMillan, School of Science and Health, Western Sydney University, Sydney, New South Wales 2751, Australia; f.macmillan{at}


To systematically review studies of health promotion intervention in the police force. Four databases were searched for articles reporting on prepost single and multigroup studies in police officers and trainees. Data were extracted and bias assessed to evaluate study characteristics, intervention design and the impact of interventions on health. Database searching identified 25 articles reporting on 21 studies relevant to the aims of this review. Few studies (n=3) were of long duration (≥6 months). Nine of 21 studies evaluated structured physical activity and/or diet programmes only, 5 studies used education and behaviour change support-only interventions, 5 combined structured programmes with education and behaviour change support, and 2 studies used computer prompts to minimise sedentary behaviour. A wide array of lifestyle behaviour and health outcomes was measured, with 11/13 multigroup and 8/8 single-group studies reporting beneficial impacts on outcomes. High risk of bias was evident across most studies. In those with the lowest risk of bias (n=2), a large effect on blood pressure and small effects on diet, sleep quality, stress and tobacco use, were reported. Health promotion interventions can impact beneficially on health of the police force, particularly blood pressure, diet, sleep, stress and tobacco use. Limited reporting made comparison of findings challenging. Combined structured programmes with education and behaviour change support and programmes including peer support resulted in the most impact on health-related outcomes.

  • health promotion
  • intervention studies

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  • Contributors All authors were involved in the conception of this systematic review, reviewed the search strategy and provided feedback on full drafts of the paper. AE ran searches. DK, AE and FM screened all papers. FM extracted data initially and conducted risk of bias ratings and all other authors then checked a portion of the data extraction and provided independent risk of bias ratings for a subset of studies. FM wrote the first draft of the paper, with all authors contributing to feedback prior to submission of this current version.

  • Funding GZS’s contribution was supported by funding from an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)-Australian Research Council (ARC) Dementia Research Development Fellowship (GNT1102532).

  • Competing interests GZS is based in NICM. As a medical research institute, NICM receives research grants and donations from foundations, universities, government agencies, individuals and industry. Sponsors and donors provide untied funding for work to advance the vision and mission of the Institute. The project that is the subject of this article was not undertaken as part of a contractual relationship with any organisation.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.