Community-based Settings

Community-based interventions usually involve a number of different strategies and activities aimed at creating changes in knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and skills that influence health. One of the unique features of these approaches is that they typically include strategies to create change in individuals and families as well as efforts to change organizational and environmental factors and policies that influence behavior and health. These interventions are designed to increase daily intake of nutritious foods (e.g., fiber, fruits, vegetables, fish), decrease daily intake of non-nutritious foods (e.g., saturated fats, salts, sugars), enhance access to nutritious foods (increase availability, reduce cost, increase quality, increase variety), support nutritious food purchases, and eliminate disparities in nutritious food purchasing and consumption patterns among various community members.

Community-based interventions include strategies that are implemented in a variety of places with a variety of partners including:

  • Supermarkets or grocery stores
  • Restaurants (fast food and other)
  • Food producers/manufacturers
  • Food vendors/retailers
  • Consumer organizations
  • Food stamp offices
  • WIC clinic sites
  • Adult education centers
  • Public libraries
  • Senior center/independent living facilities
  • Civic organizations/community organizations
  • Coalitions
  • Schools (administrators and teachers
  • Worksites
  • Health departments
  • Health care providers
  • Community members
  • Health care facilities
  • Churches
  • Health fairs
  • Public housing/residential areas
  • Building managers
  • Social service agencies
  • Neighborhoods
  • Metropolitan centers
  • Rural areas
  • Cooking professionals
  • Media personnel (food journalists)
  • Advertising agencies
  • Researchers
  • Celebrities
  • Professional models
  • County officials/community leaders
  • Government agencies
  • TV and radio personnel.

Previous work in community-based settings has found:

  • Community-based nutrition campaigns can reach populations that may not be reached in other settings.
  • Tailored nutrition education CD-ROMS can be developed and used for clients in WIC clinic settings.
  • Children spend many hours after school at community organizations (e.g., boys and girls clubs). Community-based settings provide an alternative to schools and allow for the tailoring of programs to each individual child. In these settings, children may work on goal setting and skill building to improve their nutrition behaviors.
  • Community and leisure time settings for nutrition education can provide support, motivation, and reinforcement for behavior change that is learned in other settings.
  • Retirement villages can incorporate nutrition activities into their social events to encourage healthy lifestyles among the older residents.
  • Day care centers have an abundance of children and can provide direct messages to parents regarding the nutrition behaviors of their children.
  • College campuses are effective settings to launch nutrition campaigns using the campus newspaper, advertisements in various places around campus, and promotional items distributed to students.
  • The supermarket is especially suitable to influence behaviors because it is a point of choice setting that can provide individuals with information, reminders, recommendations, prompts and reinforcements to perform certain behaviors as part of a healthier lifestyle.
  • Restaurants can serve as an important setting for nutrition education programs by advertising in their menus which items are nutritious choices.
  • It is important to establish legitimacy for nutrition interventions in the community as a community project and not an experiment.
  • In community or organizational settings, intervention strategies often include informational support (information about nutrition), tangible support (skills and abilities people have to increase consumption of nutritious foods) and appraisal support (sense of acceptance and belonging as individuals make choices to change eating patterns).

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