Skip to main content
Rural Health Information Hub

Measurement Types

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a measure as,

“a single data element that can be collected through an objective assessment of the physical or policy environment and used to quantify without bias an obesity prevention strategy.”

Evaluation measures should be appropriate for the obesity program's intervention setting, target population, and goals. The table below provides examples of three types of measures that could be used to measure individual behavioral change or policy, system, and environmental changes. These evaluation measures are provided for illustrative purposes only. It is not intended as an exhaustive or prescriptive list of measurement types for rural obesity prevention programs.

Table 7.1: Measuring Change in Rural Obesity Programs
Description Examples for Measuring Individual Behavioral Change Examples for Measuring Policy, System, Environmental Change
Health/nutrition knowledge
  • Number of people participating in chronic disease self-management workshops
  • Number of students reporting changes in knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs regarding physical education in school
  • Number of schools participating in a program to deliver a nutrition curriculum through after-school programs
Physical activity
  • Number of seconds for a person to complete a shuttle run
  • Number of curl-ups or partial curl-ups a person can do in 60 seconds
  • Distance in centimeters stretched for the V-sit
  • Number of different types of age-appropriate physical activities a student completes each day
  • Change in a person’s body mass index
  • Annual number of farmers’ markets or farmers’ days per 10,000 residents in a local jurisdiction
  • Total number of miles of shared-use paths and bike lanes relative to total street miles maintained by the local jurisdiction
  • Number of school wellness policies passed to encourage physical activity during the school day
  • Number of new pedestrian crossings and bike lanes to improve community “walkability” and “bikeability” in a town
Healthy behaviors
  • Number of people who completed an annual health risk assessment
  • Number of days a person completes a food diary
  • Number of people experiencing a change in their hemoglobin A1C level
  • Change in percentages of healthy food and beverages sold in health departments
  • Number of children who walk or bike to school in a township
  • Number of policies passed at state or local levels prohibiting sales of less healthy food and beverages in schools

Resources to Learn More

The Kaiser Permanente Community Health Initiative: Overview and Evaluation Design
Author(s): Cheadle, A., Schwartz, P., Rauzon, S., et al.
Citation: American Journal of Public Health, 100(11), 2111-2113
Date: 11/2010

Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity in the United States
Author(s): Keener, D., Goodman, K., Lowry, A.,
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Date: 7/2008