|CDC's Framework for Evaluation in Public Health Programming|
At first glimpse, physical activity health promotion programs may seem beneficial to promoting health from fighting obesity to depression. But, taking a critical look at physical activity health promotion interventions are critical to ensure that the allocated resources are well spent. The CDC has developed an handbook on physical activity and evaluation that outlines guidelines and indicators in order to ease the evaluation process.
During the evaluation process of a physical activity health program, both individual and community level indicators should be used.
Direct individual measures would include the Metabolic equivalent (MET)intensity levels (MET-minutes per day or week), minutes of physical activity day or week, steps walked per day or week, and individual energy expenditure, whereas indirect indicators would include measures such as BMI and Aerobic Fitness(VO2 max). As public health interventions are focused on promoting health at a larger scale, within a population, ,community level indicators are just important, if not more. As listed below in the chart, there are four categories of community level indicators that should be considered in the evaluation process: policy and regulation, information, environmental, and behavioral outcome measures.
|CDC Physical Activity and Evaluation Handbook|
Evaluation is the last step in the Project Cycle Management and is critical to ensure lessons learned and continued improvement in health promotion and public health interventions. Milton Freidmann's statement that “one of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results” sums up the importance of managers placing an emphasis on evaluation to ensure accountability