Championing for a healthier diet

The Challenge 

As part of its efforts to improve healthy eating behaviors and reduce obesity rates, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) asked 54 local health departments to carry out nutrition education and obesity prevention activities in their communities.

To evaluate the effect of these interventions, CDPH is conducting annual health and nutrition surveys of people on food assistance in 17 of the communities receiving the CDPH funding. Westat was asked to conduct the surveys in 2014.

Our Solutions 

  • Westat is conducting a telephone survey asking participants, including teens and children, where they learn about nutrition and exercise, how much physical activity they do, what their dietary practices and beliefs are, and what they ate and drank over the past 24 hours.
  • The survey was administered by telephone interviewers using the Automated Self-Administered 24-hour Dietary Recall (ASA24) tool to record how much participants consumed.
  • Two groups of participants were interviewed.
    • One group had been interviewed in 2013 and was being recontacted for interviews in 2014.
    • One group was being contacted for the first time in 2014.
  • The surveys are conducted in both English and Spanish.

The Results 

  • CDPH will use the survey results to better understand the effectiveness and impact of its programs. Specifically, CDPH wants to know whether, over the course of the study, the participants were
    • Eating healthier foods
    • Getting better access to healthier foods
    • Drinking more water and fewer unhealthy drinks
    • Being more physically active
  • CDPH is also assessing the cost effectiveness of the programs and interventions. It plans to publish the results of the surveys.

Our Client 

California Department of Public Health