Objective: To describe the rationale, development and implementation of the quantitative component of evaluation of a multi-setting, multi-strategy, community-based childhood obesity prevention project (the eat well be active (ewba) Community Programs) and the challenges associated with this process and some potential solutions. Design: ewba has a quasi-experimental design with intervention and comparison communities. Baseline data were collected in 2006 and post-intervention measures will be taken from a non-matched cohort in 2009. Schoolchildren aged 10-12 years were chosen as one litmus group for evaluation purposes.Setting Thirty-nine primary schools in two metropolitan and two rural communities in South Australia.Subjects A total of 1732 10-12-year-old school students completed a nutrition and/or a physical activity questionnaire and 1637 had anthropometric measures taken; 983 parents, 286 teachers, thirty-six principals, twenty-six canteen and thirteen out-of-school-hours care (OSHC) workers completed Program-specific questionnaires developed for each of these target groups. Results: The overall child response rate for the study was 49 %. Sixty-five per cent, 43 %, 90 %, 90 % and 68 % of parent, teachers, principals, canteen and OSHC workers respectively, completed and returned questionnaires. A number of practical, logistical and methodological challenges were experienced when undertaking this data collection. Conclusions: Learnings from the process of quantitative baseline data collection for the ewba Community Programs can provide insights for other researchers planning similar studies with similar methods, particularly those evaluating multi-strategy programmes across multiple settings.
- Community-based obesity prevention