Research to practice: application of an evidencebuilding framework to a childhood obesity prevention initiative in New South Wales
Issue addressed: Building evidence-based health promotion programs involves a number of steps. This paper aims to develop a set of criteria for assessing the evidence available according to a five-stage evidence-building framework, and apply these criteria to current child obesity prevention programs in NSW to determine the usefulness of the framework in identifying gaps in evidence and opportunities for future research and evaluation. Methods: A set of scoring criteria were developed for application within the five stages of an 'evidence-building' framework: problem definition, solution generation, intervention testing (efficacy), intervention replication, and dissemination research. The research evidence surrounding the 10 childhood obesity prevention programs planned for state-wide implementation in the New South Wales Healthy Children Initiative (HCI) was identified and examined using these criteria within the framework. Results: The evidence for the component programs of the HCI is at different stages of development. While problem definition and, to a lesser extent, solution generation was thoroughly addressed across all programs, there were a number of evidence gaps, indicating research opportunities for efficacy testing and intervention replication across a variety of settings and populations. Conclusions: The five-stage evidence-building framework helped identify important research and evaluation opportunities that could improve health promotion practice in NSW. More work is needed to determine the validity and reliability of the criteria for rating the extent and quality of the evidence for each stage.