Looking for Ways to Evaluate California's Social Marketing Approach to Nutrition

Convening evaluation experts to review California's large-scale, social marketing approach to nutrition education

The California Nutrition Network for Healthy, Active Families conducted in-depth interviews with experts in program planning and evaluation in order to gain an external critique of its evaluation model.

The Network for a Healthy California sponsored local and regional programs as part of a state-wide social marketing campaign that was designed to improve nutrition and increase physical activity among low-income parents and children. The Network for a Healthy California is the largest social marketing network funded through the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Stamp Program (now the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).

Key Results

  • The project team:

    • Interviewed 17 national experts from the fields of public health, nutrition, agricultural economics, social marketing and communications regarding various aspects of program evaluation. The participants discussed and affirmed the utility of the Social-Ecological Model in general, and then discussed evaluation approaches, data and maximizing program resources for interpersonal, community and media, and environmental levels of influence.
    • Interviews were transcribed and summarized in an internal report.

      Recommendations included extensive publication of research and evaluation work, seeking funding to conduct environmental work disallowed by USDA, expanding environmental work and conducting an in-depth process evaluation for multiple program components.
    • Presented results from the project at the November 2007 American Public Health Association annual conference in Washington.