policy strategies. Communities are encouraged to use an evaluation tool—designed to identify existing community activities and develop action plans—that Hoehner said has been deemed useful for surveillance. Bridging the Gap, a program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is examining policy and environmental measures in a nationally representative sample of 150 to 200 communities defined by school catchment areas. Other initiatives include Healthy Kids; Healthy Communities, which uses online tracking to explore community partnerships; and the Childhood Obesity GIS System, an online tool for mapping many types of data. Finally, the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity has developed a web-based registry of valid and reliable measures4 (discussed in greater detail in Chapter 4), which Hoehner explained is expected to help in identifying gaps in measurement.


Hoehner closed by offering some recommendations, many of which echoed Sallis’s comments. Working with those outside the health sector who do or can collect valuable data, she believes, will be critical to improving the information base. At the same time, it will be important to give priority to measures that address national objectives and strategies. Collecting data periodically will enable the assessment of trends over time. Hoehner also argued that methods and measures that can be developed most easily and quickly to support the development and modification of policies for the built environment should be an early priority. Finally, both the establishment of priorities and the lessons to be learned from existing initiatives should support sound decisions about the collection, analysis, and interpretation of these data.


Boone, J. E., P. Gordon-Larsen, J. D. Stewart, and B. M. Popkin. 2008. Validation of a GIS facilities database: Quantification and implications of error. Annals of Epidemiology 18(5):371-377.

Brownson, R. C., C. M. Hoehner, K. Day, A. Forsyth, and J. F. Sallis. 2009. Measuring the built environment for physical activity. State of the science. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 36(Suppl. 4).

Chriqui, J. F., J. C. O’Connor, and F. J. Chaloupka. 2011. What gets measured, gets changed: Evaluating law and policy for maximum impact. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 39(Suppl. 1):21-26.

Ding, D., J. F. Sallis, J. Kerr, S. Lee, and D. E. Rosenberg. 2011. Neighborhood environment and physical activity among youth: A review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 41(4):442-455.


4See www.nccor.org/measures (accessed September 14, 2011).

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