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Defining Audiences

Developing an approach that is tailored to the target audience requires an understanding of the target population’s characteristics. Target populations can be classified in a number of ways, such as:

  • Race/ethnicity
  • Literacy level
  • Health status
  • Level of risk for overweight or obesity

It may be helpful to classify interventions by target audience because similar intervention models can be implemented in different settings. For example, an intervention to provide behavioral and lifestyle coaching and counseling to overweight individuals could be carried out in a clinic, but could also take place in a setting such as a USDA Cooperative Extension Service office.

Table 3-1: Types of Obesity Prevention Interventions, Organized by Target Audience
Indicated Selective Universal
Prevention interventions targeted to high-risk individuals identified as having minimal but detectable amount of excess weight that foreshadows obesity. Prevention interventions directed toward a subgroup of the population whose risk of developing obesity is above average or high. Prevention interventions designed to reach everyone in the eligible population

Source: Weighing the Options: Criteria for Evaluating Weight-management Programs; Edited by P.R. Thomas, Washington, D.C., National Academy Press, 1995