jective and minimum criteria to consider programs for an in-depth and rigorous evaluation of their effectiveness. The process is expected to be transparent and guided by expert peer reviewers. This evaluability assessment process would allow the selection of programs that are likely to produce the greatest magnitude of impact for the financial investment. The most promising initiatives would be presented to potential funders for more extensive evaluation funding (Laura Kettel-Khan, CDC, personal communication, May 27, 2006).
Evaluation involves multiple methodological approaches, all of which should be used to reach the goal of reducing and preventing childhood obesity. Various evaluation methods are likely to be relevant to each of the four questions as discussed below.
Question 1. How does the action contribute to preventing childhood obesity? What are the rationale and the supporting evidence for this particular action as a viable obesity prevention strategy, particularly in a specific context? How well is the planned action or intervention matched to the specific setting or population being served?
These are descriptive questions about the nature and extent of childhood obesity challenges and the responses in the relevant contexts and are likely to be well addressed by three sets of methods:
Review of the existing literature and databases (e.g., the demographic, nutrition and dietary intake, physical activity, health promotion, urban planning and community design, transportation, social science, anthropology, food and beverage marketing, and entertainment literature databases) can serve to extract pertinent information about the nature and the extent of the childhood obesity epidemic in the settings and contexts to be served and may perhaps allow longitudinal monitoring of the epidemic.
Use various methods to focus on specific characteristics of the settings and contexts to be served such as consumer focus groups, key informant interviews, community-based participatory research, needs assessments, and asset mapping (Goldman and Schmalz, 2005; Green and Mercer, 2001; Kretzmann and McKnight, 1993).
Encourage networking to identify and describe the other childhood obesity prevention actions underway in these settings and contexts.
Question 2. What are the quality and reach or power of the action as designed?
This question calls for an in-depth description of the planned action,