Implications Practice

1. What is your current understanding of the implications of the policy, program, or research project that you are interested in or working on? More info
Have you already begun developing an analysis of implications? Take a moment to summarize them. Don’t overthink this exercise. Just quickly list the main points and don’t worry about getting it ‘right’ at this stage.

Are you new to the process of developing an analysis of implications? You might want to begin by summarizing the evidence you’ve collected, looking for emerging themes and checking for gaps. Remember that developing implications is like doing a jigsaw puzzle. You need to gather the pieces of the puzzle and figure out how they fit together in order to create a picture of what is happening, who is involved, and what is needed.

Now that you’ve had some time to think about the implications, summarize what you know or think. Don’t go into a great amount of detail at this stage, just list the main points and don’t worry about getting it ‘right’.
Does your analysis of implications include a consideration of the core concepts of sex, gender, diversity and equity?

2a. Sex. More info
Tip: If you need a quick refresher on how the core concepts are defined, go here: Characterize a population using the core concepts of sex, gender, diversity and equity.

Do you have evidence for males, females and those who identify as neither or both? Have you clearly identified the sexes of the populations you are working with or interested in? Hint: Remember that sex is biological and is expressed along a continuum.

Hint: Gaps in the evidence may make it impossible to address the entire continuum of sex. But information may be available for males and females, if not for those who identify as neither or both. Sometimes researchers try to ensure a balance of female and male participants in their studies, but then do not report their findings by sex. Sex-disaggregated data may be available if you ask for it.

Have you factored sex differences and similarities into your analysis?

For example, an analysis of heart disease must take sex differences into account because females and males develop heart disease in different ways and at different stages in their lives. Similarly, the symptoms of heart disease are frequently different for males and females.
2b. Gender. More info
Have you considered gender norms and roles in your analysis of implications?

Hint: Remember that gender is social and is expressed along a continuum.

Incorporating the concept of gender into your analysis allows you to move beyond a simple consideration of what is different for the sexes, to thinking about why there are differences.

Let’s think again about understanding the incidence of obesity. Males and females not only lose and gain weight differently, they often have different reasons for gaining and losing weight and different strategies for achieving and maintaining healthy weights. For example, women are more likely to try dieting for weight loss while men are more likely to turn to exercise. In other words, gender has an impact on the experience and management of obesity.
2c. Diversity. More info
Prompt: Does your analysis consider visible and invisible differences among people? Do you have evidence for a variety of populations? Have you thought about how individuals and communities have differing needs and experiences?

Tip: Try using one of these lists of the social determinants of health as a quick guide for thinking about types of diversity and their significance.

List of social determinants of health.

Once again, let’s think about understanding the incidence of heart disease. Variations among populations, such as ethnic differences in diets or differing access to safe and affordable exercise spaces, will have a significant impact on whether people can achieve and maintain a healthy weight – if they need to – to improve their symptoms and prognoses.
2d. Equity. More info

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does your analysis tell you about all those who are at risk, in need and/or affected? If not, why not?
  2. Does your analysis expose differences between and among populations?
  3. Does your analysis help you to determine if differences and/or gaps in knowledge are unfair – caused by inequity or leading to inequity?
  4. Is your analysis likely to reduce or deepen existing health inequities?
Tip: Need a reminder about the definitions of equity and equality?

Distinguish between equity and equality.

Much of the current discussion of obesity lays the responsibility for unhealthy weights on individuals, assuming that they are not making good choices about food and exercise. But many people are not in a position to make healthy choices because they lack resources, opportunities, supportive environments and effective policies and programs. In other words, an analysis of overweight and obesity must acknowledge that inequity is an important contributor.

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