Background This umbrella review aimed at eliciting good practice characteristics of interventions and policies aiming at healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and lowering sedentary behaviors. Applying the World Health Organization’s framework, we sought for 3 types of characteristics, reflecting: (1) main intervention/policy characteristics, referring to the design, targets, and participants, (2) monitoring and evaluation processes, and (3) implementation issues. This investigation was undertaken by the DEDPIAC Knowledge Hub (the Knowledge Hub on the DEterminants of DIet and Physical ACtivity), which is an action of the European Union’s joint programming initiative. Methods A systematic review of reviews and stakeholder documents was conducted. Data from 7 databases was analyzed (99 documents met inclusion criteria). Additionally, resources of 7 major stakeholders (e.g., World Health Organization) were systematically searched (10 documents met inclusion criteria). Overall, the review yielded 74 systematic reviews, 16 position review papers, and 19 stakeholders’ documents. Across characteristics, 25% were supported by ≥ 4 systematic reviews. Further, 25% characteristics were supported by ≥ 3 stakeholders’ documents. If identified characteristics were included in at least 4 systematic reviews or at least 3 stakeholders’ documents, these good practice characteristics were classified as relevant. Results We derived a list of 149 potential good practice characteristics, of which 53 were classified as relevant. The main characteristics of intervention/policy (n = 18) fell into 6 categories: the use of theory, participants, target behavior, content development/management, multidimensionality, practitioners/settings. Monitoring and evaluation characteristics (n = 18) were grouped into 6 categories: costs/funding, outcomes, evaluation of effects, time/effect size, reach, the evaluation of participation and generalizability, active components/underlying processes. Implementation characteristics (n = 17) were grouped into eight categories: participation processes, training for practitioners, the use/integration of existing resources, feasibility, maintenance/sustainability, implementation partnerships, implementation consistency/adaptation processes, transferability. Conclusions The use of the proposed list of 53 good practice characteristics may foster further development of health promotion sciences, as it would allow for identification of success vectors in the domains of main characteristics of interventions/policies, their implementation, evaluation and monitoring processes.
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