Module 6: Evaluating Program Efforts
Evaluating rural obesity programs is critical to the development of an evidence base for what works in rural
communities. Evaluation can help communities to assess the quality, cost, effectiveness, and effect of a policy,
program, intervention, initiative, or action to prevent or treat obesity (see CDC’s Framework for Program Evaluation).
Evaluations may assess individual behavioral changes or policy, system, and environmental changes. For
Individual behavioral interventions may provide training, education, or other opportunities to individuals
Policy interventions may focus on changing a law or organizational rule
Systems interventions may affect an organization or system
Environmental interventions may focus on changing a community’s economic, social, and physical
Given the nature of obesity treatment and prevention programs, and the diversity of sectors and stakeholders
involved, evaluations often measure progress across multiple aspects of the intervention simultaneously.
Similarly, obesity programs often implement a combination of policy, systems, and environmental changes. These
factors make it difficult to identify the effectiveness of individual intervention strategies.
As a result
of these challenges and others, few rigorous evaluations have been conducted on rural obesity interventions to
For a detailed overview of program evaluation, see Evaluating Rural Programs in the Rural
Community Health Toolkit.
In this module: