EU Science Hub

How to use the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Knowledge Gateway

The content of this Knowledge Gateway is organized in independent Briefs. Each Brief is a well-structured stand-alone information package; where Briefs have overlapping or related content these are marked and linked. Each Brief defines the issue at hand and describes its health-related implications; in addition, it provides a summary of relevant EU data and presents recommendations to policy makers for actions, interventions, measures or best-practices, as well as examples of implemented policies that address the topic. Due to their structured and concise nature and because of the methodology used, the Knowledge Gateway Briefs do not aim to present exhaustive reviews of the literature in the various topics in question.

To enhance readability and user-friendliness, a significant amount of information is presented as tables. All Briefs follow, to the extent possible and where applicable, a similar structure outlined in Table 1 below.

The contents

The topics covered in this Knowledge Gateway were identified by Member States and relate to their priority areas of action in what regards prevention of non-communicable disease. The content is to be updated periodically and new Briefs will be added to reflect developments in the field and respond to the needs of EU policy makers.

Sources of information and reporting

This Knowledge Gateway provides short, impactful and concise briefs for each topic, focusing on the aspects most relevant to policy makers. It does not aim to present a systematic and exhaustive review of all available peer-reviewed literature; the selection of the publications used as sources of information adopted the tiered approach illustrated below.  Authoritative publications, as described in 1st and 2nd tier sources in the Fig. 1 and Table 2 below, were prioritised.

Given the aim and scope of this Knowledge Gateway, EU sources of information prevail, however, to remain inclusive and maintain a global perspective, non-EU sources have also been considered. Information extracted from 3rd or 4th tier sources was reported when 1st and 2nd tier sources did not provide the needed information e.g. recent developments, lack of relevant data, a niche issue etc. These were considered case-by-case.

While a strict time limit on the date of publication was not imposed, in general sources of information before 2005 have not been considered, unless more recent counterparts were lacking. Web - based search engines were used to locate sources of information as well as expert knowledge from the authors' team and expert reviewers.

The briefs reflect the way that evidence, statements, conclusions, opinions or recommendations are provided in the original publication. They compile and structure the information from the original publications in a meaningful way but the nature and interpretation of the evidence, statement, opinion or conclusion of the original publication is not discussed or re-interpreted.

Where possible, opinions or statements are quoted directly from the original text, indicated by the presence of text in quotes ('…'). This is particularly noticeable when reporting health-related effects, or when presenting or policy recommendations. If quoting directly is not possible (e.g. length or structure not compatible with the Brief’s style), the information is summarised in a way that is, as true as possible, to the original one. The terminology used by the original publications, e.g. when describing the strength of the evidence for example, has been preserved as is and has therefore not been harmonised through the text.

In some instances, within each Brief or across different Briefs, the various sources considered may provide diverging or even conflicting information on a specific topic, e.g. when reporting health-related effects or when issuing recommendations related to the topic at hand. The Knowledge Gateway reports, to the best of our knowledge, all relevant information coming from the different sources that have been considered, even - or especially -  in the cases where consensus may be lacking.

Editorial process

The topics included in the Knowledge Gateway were identified and prioritised based on input from EU Member State representatives in the European Commission-chaired High Level Group on Nutrition and Physical Activity (HLG) and/or the Committee on National Alcohol Policy and Action (CNAPA) and the Steering Group on Promotion and Prevention. Each Brief of this Knowledge Gateway is reviewed internally by the JRC, DG Health and Food Safety and/or other relevant European Commission services, before being subjected to an external peer-review by qualified and internationally recognised experts relevant to each Brief. Member state representatives also had the chance to review and to provide comments and additional information to each Brief. The editorial process is described in Fig. 2 below.

The Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Knowledge Gateway strives for clear and understandable writing style for both expert and non-expert readers while ensuring a high level of quality and scientific integrity. The Briefs avoid the use of technical terminology and details; where unavoidable, terms are defined and explained in a glossary.

This Knowledge Gateway adheres, where applicable, to the website guidelines of the EC's information provider's guide, as well as specific to quality criteria related to health websites from the European Commission, the US Dept. of Health and Medline Plus.