IJERPH, Vol. 16, Pages 213: Barriers and Facilitators for the Implementation and Evaluation of Community-Based Interventions to Promote Physical Activity and Healthy Diet: A Mixed Methods Study in Argentina (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Background: Obesogenic environments promote sedentary behavior and high dietary energy intake. The objective of the study was to identify barriers and facilitators to the implementation and impact evaluation of projects oriented to promote physical activity and healthy diet at community level. We analyzed experiences of the projects implemented within the Healthy Municipalities and Communities Program (HMCP) in Argentina. Methods: A mixed methods approach included (1) in-depth semi-structured interviews, with 44 stakeholders; and (2) electronic survey completed by 206 individuals from 96 municipalities across the country. Results: The most important barriers included the lack of: adequate funding (43%); skilled personnel (42%); equipment and material resources (31%); technical support for data management and analysis (20%); training on project designs (12%); political support from local authorities (17%) and acceptance of the proposed intervention by the local community (9%). Facilitators included motivated local leaders, inter-sectorial participation and seizing local resources. Project evaluation was mostly based on process rather than outcome indicators. Conclusions: This study contributes to a better understanding of the difficulties in the implementation of community-based intervention projects. Findings may guide stakeholders on how to facilitate local initiatives. There is a need to improve project evaluation strategies by incorporating process, outcome and context specific indicators.