MEASURES REGISTRY USER GUIDE
Measurement is a fundamental component of all forms of research and it is certainly true for research on childhood obesity. A top priority for the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) is to encourage consistent use of high-quality, comparable measures and research methods across childhood obesity prevention and research.
NCCOR’s Measures Registry—a free, online repository of articles about measures—helps achieve this aim. It is widely recognized as a key resource that gives researchers and practitioners access to detailed information on measures in one easy-to-search location. The Registry’s measures focus on four domains that can influence childhood obesity on a population level:
- Individual Diet
- Food Environment
- Individual Physical Activity
- Physical Activity Environment
NCCOR: WORKING TOGETHER TO REVERSE CHILDHOOD OBESITY
NCCOR is a partnership of the four leading funders of childhood obesity research: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Robert Wood Foundation (RWJF), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These four leaders joined forces in 2008 to continually assess the needs in childhood obesity research, develop joint projects to address gaps and make strategic advancements, and work together to generate fresh and synergetic ideas to reduce childhood obesity. For more information about NCCOR, visit www.nccor.org.
Even with this resource, however, it can be challenging for users to choose the most appropriate measures for their work. To address this need, NCCOR began the Measures Registry User Guide project in 2015. Organized by the same four domains as the Measures Registry, the User Guides are designed to provide an overview of measurement, describe general principles of measurement selection, present case studies that walk users through the process of using the Measures Registry to select appropriate measures, and direct researchers and practitioners to additional resources and sources of useful information (Figure 1). The User Guides will help move the field forward by fostering more consistent use of measures, which will allow for standardization, meta-analyses, and synthesis.
Figure 1: NCCOR Measures Registry User Guides
Overview of the Food Environment Measures Registry User Guide
The overall goal of this User Guide is to help users of the NCCOR Measures Registry make informed decisions when selecting, processing, and interpreting measurement tools for assessing the food environment with an emphasis on environments affecting childhood obesity including neighborhoods, schools, preschools and other community venues and homes. This guide is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all measures, an evaluation of the measures, or a compilation of research using the measures. Instead, it fills a different niche by emphasizing the measurement issues that should be considered when selecting and using food environment measures for research and practice purposes.
Organization of this User Guide
This guide provides an orientation to food environment assessment methods by setting and discusses considerations for measure selection and utilization. The guide includes a few case studies that give examples of these considerations in practice. The guide is designed to be useful for both researchers and practitioners. Below is an outline of the sections included in this User Guide.
In addition to this Introduction, this User Guide includes the following sections: