Research and Evaluation
In an ideal world, substantial research evidence would guide us toward interventions that are effective for preventing obesity. However, in the real world, this type of evidence is difficult to gather due to the complex and interrelated factors affecting obesity.
Typical criteria for evidence-based medicine are too narrow for the kinds of decision making needed in obesity prevention—relying on clinicians to evaluate scientific evidence when choosing procedures. We believe evidence-based decision making for obesity prevention needs a different framework for thinking about “evidence.”
We believe that a multisector, multilevel approach to obesity prevention is called for. In addition to research, this approach should include evidence-based decision making, experimental and observational studies, effectiveness and economic analyses, program logic and theory, evaluation of existing strategies, and informed opinion based on perspectives of feasibility, sustainability, unintended consequences, effects on equity, and acceptability to those involved. This broader framework complements supportive scientific research evidence to influence ASSO’s recommendations for obesity prevention.
To this end, we engage in research and evaluation activities to add to the evidence base for effective obesity prevention strategies. In addition, we provide training, resources, and technical assistance to our partners in Australia communities to aid in their program evaluation efforts.
This framework of research and evaluation guides ASSO’s recommendations for:
- Improving physical activity opportunities in communities
- Increasing healthy eating, water consumption, and breastfeeding in communities
- Focusing on child-serving institutions for childhood obesity prevention—physical activity
- Focusing on child-serving institutions for childhood obesity prevention—healthy eating
- Strengthening clinical mechanisms for treating and preventing obesity in children
- Promoting consistent healthy lifestyle messaging