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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 2385698, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/2385698
Research Article

Recommendations and Improvements for the Evaluation of Integrated Community-Wide Interventions Approaches

1Department of Health Sciences and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2Department of Health Promotion, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands
3National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, Netherlands

Received 13 June 2016; Accepted 30 October 2016

Academic Editor: Michele D. Levine

Copyright © 2016 Tessa M. van Koperen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. Integrated community-wide intervention approaches (ICIAs) are implemented to prevent childhood obesity. Programme evaluation improves these ICIAs, but professionals involved often struggle with performance. Evaluation tools have been developed to support Dutch professionals involved in ICIAs. It is unclear how useful these tools are to intended users. We therefore researched the facilitators of and barriers to ICIA programme evaluation as perceived by professionals and their experiences of the evaluation tools. Methods. Focus groups and interviews with 33 public health professionals. Data were analysed using a thematic content approach. Findings. Evaluation is hampered by insufficient time, budget, and experience with ICIAs, lack of leadership, and limited advocacy for evaluation. Epidemiologists are regarded as responsible for evaluation but feel incompetent to perform evaluation or advocate its need in a political environment. Managers did not prioritise process evaluations, involvement of stakeholders, and capacity building. The evaluation tools are perceived as valuable but too comprehensive considering limited resources. Conclusion. Evaluating ICIAs is important but most professionals are unfamiliar with it and management does not prioritise process evaluation nor incentivize professionals to evaluate. To optimise programme evaluation, more resources and coaching are required to improve professionals’ evaluation capabilities and specifically the use of evaluation.