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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Designing a Community Assessment Tool: Defining Communities Where Nutrition and Activity Count

Authors
item Harris, Ellen
item Chester, Deirdra

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 28, 2006
Publication Date: September 28, 2006
Citation: Harris, E.W., Chester, D.N. 2006. Designing a community assessment tool: Defining communities where nutrition and activity count. Public Health Nutrition. 9(7A):97. Abstract EN01-1.

Technical Abstract: Communities play an important role in that their infrastructures and characteristics may influence healthy behaviors. In the United States, fruit and vegetable intake increases with each additional supermarket in a census tract. Food choice also is influenced by neighborhood wealth status, for example, the availability of large food chains and types of foods sold in outlets. This may also hold true for physical activity outlets. Most community assessment guidance has been from toolkits and case studies, which tend to be expensive and time consuming for some community based organizations. A user-friendly assessment tool that incorporates easily accessible data does not exist. An assessment tool was created to define or identify the state of nutrition and physical activity in a community. Indicators include food and nutrition, physical activity, socioeconomic well- being, religion and faith, safety, school environment, and other programs and services. These indicators were selected based on a review of the literature and input from an expert panel of community partners. Initial tests of reliability were conducted to develop various segments of the tool. Reliability tests were conducted on the entire tool using the same zip code area as well as different zip code areas. Further research to validate the tool will be conducted in a community setting in partnership with the local health department. Results of the reliability tests will be presented. This tool could be used to identify problems and barriers to a healthy community environment. The tool may suggest needs and opportunities for programs and intervention research.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014