Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 3, 2006
Publication Date: July 13, 2006
Citation: Harris, E.W., Chester, D.N. 2006. Healthy communities: Designing an assessment tool. [Abstract]. International Society for Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity (ISBNPA). Paper No. 203P, p. 254. Technical Abstract: Purpose: Community plays a special role in that their infrastructures and characteristics may influence health outcomes. For example, fruit and vegetable intakes increase for each additional supermarket in a census tract. Physical availability of food outlets and types of foods sold are influenced by neighborhood wealth status. Similar circumstances may hold true for physical activity. The purpose of this study will be to use existing tool kits and models to design a community assessment tool. Background: Most guidance on community assessment is not through the provision of actual tools. Therefore, investigators can only create community profiles or case studies, which may vary in scope and comparability. This may be impractical and expensive for some community based organizations. A community assessment tool should incorporate easily accessible data and user-friendly, standardized methodologies for researchers and lay practitioners. Methods: Qualitative and quantitative methodologies will be utilized to gather information on the food, nutrition, physical activity and demographic characteristics of a community. Data collected from the assessment tool indicators will be combined to create a score. The assessment tool will be pilot tested within Prince George's County, Maryland to determine reliability and validity. Conclusions: This assessment tool is intended to increase our ability to identify healthy communities and those at risk, and to make comparisons between them. Such tools are clearly warranted as the need for community based interventions increases.