health organizations, and public-private partnerships. Programs may also range from multi-city and well-resourced efforts sponsored by corporations or national organizations to efforts sponsored by individual communities engaging in specific projects or programs such as building a playground or expanding bike trails. Likewise, the scope of the evaluation may be modest or sophisticated, and the outcome indicators or performance measures may differ depending on the purpose for which they are intended (Chapter 2). Evaluation methodologies may range from research-based efforts with multiple comparison groups to assessments using more modest outcome measures, such as implementing a policy that supports a capital improvement project to build a new community playground where parents can engage in physical activity with their children.
A number of national youth-related organizations are working with their multiple local chapters to incorporate obesity prevention efforts and goals into their programs, often with the support of foundation or corporate sponsors. For example, Girl Scout councils have developed partnerships with community parks and recreation departments, sports organizations, as well as schools and colleges for physical activity instruction and facilities. Girl Scout programs that are focused on healthy lifestyles include shape UP! and GirlSports (Girl Scouts, 2006). Additionally, the Girl Scouts organization conducted focus group research with online surveys of more than 2,000 8- to 17-year-old girls to explore how they view obesity, how they define health, and what motivates them to lead a healthy lifestyle (Girl Scout Research Institute, 2006).
Other examples are also available. The YMCA has instituted YMCA Activate America™, a long-term commitment to obesity prevention that focuses on improving their programs; providing community leadership; and developing strategic partnerships with universities, government, and corporations (YMCA, 2006). The Boys and Girls Clubs of America feature a number of fitness-related programs, including Triple Play: A Game Plan for the Mind, Body and Soul. The Coca-Cola Company and Kraft Foods Inc. have sponsored that program with the goal of increasing healthy habits and physical activity, and promoting healthful diets (BGCA, 2006). At the IOM committee’s symposium in Wichita, Kansas, students presented a local 4-H-sponsored mentoring program, Kansas Teen Leadership for Physically Active Lifestyles, in which high school students engage with elementary school children in after-school and summer programs focused on promoting physical activity and healthful eating (Sparke et al., 2005).
Community centers, after-school programs, and summer camps are often used as sites for obesity prevention interventions. For example, the GEMS (Girls Health Enrichment Multisite Studies) set of research-based studies has examined a variety of approaches (e.g., dance, team building, games, aerobics, nutrition education, and reduced television viewing) that