1.   draw on the recommendations and recommended indicators of progress from the preceding IOM Committee and report Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation (APOP); consider currently used and new tools and metrics (e.g., trend analysis, community/local measures) to measure progress; and develop a plan for a national-level evaluation of obesity prevention efforts by sector and, if appropriate, across sectors;

2.   develop a community-level evaluation plan that adds detail and support to the national-level evaluation plan; and

3.   identify measurement ideas that can determine the specific impact of the Home Box Office (HBO)/IOM campaign The Weight of the Nation (TWOTN).

The audience for the report includes decision makers, community members, researchers, and evaluators at all levels and across all sectors. The report’s recommendations are not expected to be implemented or even relevant to every level of evaluation from community and organizational to national, but report users can build on available monitoring and surveillance data and evaluations to aggregate up to community and even state and national evaluations of specific components of obesity control efforts, and they draw on the Committee’s recommended resources to strengthen their capacity for evaluation.

This chapter sets the stage by articulating the Committee’s vision for evaluating progress of obesity prevention efforts at national, state, and community levels, and introducing a framework for evaluation. The chapter then describes how the Committee approached its task by (1) providing an overview of the needs of important users of evaluation, (2) describing the scope and use of existing objectives and strategies (as defined by its task), and (3) reviewing the current context of surveillance and summative evaluation. This chapter offers a brief introduction and background to the Committee’s task and how it will be particularly relevant and useful to evaluation users, helping to establish an infrastructure for monitoring progress of obesity prevention efforts at national, state, and community levels.

Much of this report’s guidance for evaluation plans may seem like generic methodological convention to the research-minded reader, so it is helpful to describe some ways in which the evaluation of progress in obesity prevention is similar to, and different from, evaluation of other prevention efforts. The fields of evaluation, policy analysis, surveillance, and community health assessment are hardly new, and this background knowledge contributed greatly to the Committee’s ability to anticipate issues, relate them to other prevention experience, and where necessary, differentiate the evaluation of obesity prevention from that experience.


The prevention field generally, and obesity prevention in particular, need to engage in surveillance of diseases and related conditions and assess the relative importance and trends in prevalence of factors associated with diseases and related conditions (see Chapters 3 through 8). In evaluating interventions, prevention efforts need to focus not only on implementation and outcomes but also on the reach of interventions—their ability to influence large numbers of people to achieve population-level benefits (Gaglio and Glasgow, 2012; Glasgow et al., 1999; Green and Glasgow, 2006). The ecological model of prevention identifies many potential influences on health, and evaluation permits prevention practitioners to select the most powerful levers for change among the multiple ecological levels. National monitoring of preven-

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