Nutrition Policy Institute researchers publish new method for evaluating the ‘dose’ of complex, multicomponent public health interventions

Oct 28, 2021

Schools are an ideal setting to improve child nutrition and food security and are critical environments in which to implement policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) public health interventions. Federal mandates for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education, known as CalFresh Healthy Living in California, require PSE interventions for obesity prevention efforts combined with direct and indirect education interventions. Researchers at the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nutrition Policy Institute developed a new method to evaluate the ‘dose' score of complex and multicomponent SNAP-Ed interventions in schools, which can then be linked to student health outcomes. The method also proposes how to calculate dose scores for different intervention categories, including direct education, PSE, garden-based interventions, and physical education. This novel evaluation method can be used in future SNAP-Ed evaluations to inform practitioners and policymakers about the most promising school-based public health interventions to support children's health. The proposed method was published in the American Journal of Evaluation. Study authors include researchers from the NPI CalFresh Healthy Living evaluation team, Sridharshi Hewawitharana, Janice Kao, Carolyn Rider, Evan Talmage, Karen Webb, Wendi Gosliner, and Gail Woodward-Lopez, and Sadie Costello from UC Berkeley.