•    Determine the exposures and outcomes of greatest interest using, for example, expert recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Institute of Medicine as starting points.

•    Assess existing measurement techniques, measures (assessment methods), strategies, and data sources. The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research’s Measures Registry and Catalogue of Surveillance Systems may be helpful resources in this regard.

•    Identify gaps (such as the lack of a survey of public health policies, the lack of measures tailored to racial and ethnic minorities, and the lack of measures of consumers’ responses to marketing), and establish priorities. McKinnon presented a possible model for prioritizing future work, shown in Figure 8-1. She suggested that the focus should be on measures that are anticipated to have high impact but are relatively easy to implement. Measures with high impact and high implementation costs might also be a focus, but measures anticipated to have low impact should not have priority.

•    Identify partners from beyond the public health sector, including the transportation and urban planning communities, and identify the necessary strategies for collaboration.

•    Focus on and promote study designs that emphasize answering the right questions.

•    Evaluate results, and disseminate them widely.


FIGURE 8-1 Possible model for setting priorities for filling gaps in measures.

SOURCE: McKinnon, 2011.

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