A systematic review of health promotion intervention studies in the police force: study characteristics, intervention design and impacts on health

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Abstract

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.

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