interventions in the scientific literature. The inability to find journals or other venues in which to publish the results and lessons learned from these interventions makes it difficult to share the growing body of knowledge on obesity prevention strategies and programs with colleagues within and outside of the field. One participant attributed this difficulty with getting results published to the lack of comparison groups and traditional measurable outcomes, and suggested that the situation is driving many community-based evaluators to attempt to achieve the “gold standard” for evidence-based results when, as discussed above, its application is not appropriate.
In addition, several evaluators pointed out that articles in scientific journals are not a common source of information on evaluation techniques in community-based settings. Such publications frequently focus on short-term controlled studies involving a single activity that are not applicable in these settings. As a result, published data often are not helpful to those developing or evaluating community-based obesity prevention strategies. Instead, participants reported that they rely more heavily on “gray literature” or unpublished studies to inform their work in community-based settings.
In discussing publication bias, several evaluators expressed their belief that in selecting articles on childhood obesity interventions, journals favor programmatic interventions over sustainable environmental changes, which are more difficult to specify. Yet most of these participants were working to change the community’s environment rather than implementing a single, short-term program.