This evaluation, led by Seth Emont, Ph.D., of White Mountain Research Associates, is one of two conducted in conjunction with the Healthy Eating Research program. A related evaluation assesses the future potential of Healthy Eating Research and its sister program, Active Living Research, as they influence health promotion and policy-making on children's environments. Information about this evaluation can be found here.
The Program Being Evaluated
Healthy Eating Research: Building Evidence to Prevent Childhood Obesity, was designed to support research to identify and assess environmental and policy influences with the greatest potential to improve healthy eating and weight patterns among the nation's children.
Major Evaluative Topics and Questions
- To what extent, and how well, is the program working to build the field of research focused on policy and environmental factors that improve healthy eating and weight patterns among the nation's children?
- To what extent, and how well, are research findings of the program contributing to policy discussions about how to promote healthy eating and weight patterns through policy and environmental changes?
- To what extent has the program contributed to grantees' formation of new professional social networks?
- To what extent is the program working to encourage and support the racial/ethnic and disciplinary diversity of researchers on this topic?
- Does Healthy Eating Research fill a unique niche in research on healthy eating and weight patterns for children? If so, describe that niche. If not, what other funding opportunities fill this niche?
- How might other funders partner with RWJF to fund Healthy Eating Research or complement its work?
- Going forward, in what ways might the program become integrated with Active Living Research, to address childhood obesity prevention?
- Going forward, what are the most promising links to the wide variety of activities around prevention of childhood obesity, funded by the Foundation and many other governmental, nonprofit, advocacy and philanthropic organizations?
Summary of Methods
To answer these questions, the evaluators will:
- Create a tracking system of grantees' products and achievements
- Develop a logic model to plan the evaluation of program impact
- Assess the potential for Healthy Eating Research to mount joint research activities with Active Living Research
- Survey grantees to assess their progress
- Measure the program's impact on the field and examine the program's impact on grantee career trajectories.
Products and Dissemination
Success for this evaluation consists of the timely and ongoing sharing and discussion of findings with Foundation staff and with the national program office. The evaluation will produce a final report of the program’s impact on the field and on new professional networks being created by this multidisciplinary program.