Researchers believe that nutrition environments contribute to obesity and may explain some health disparities. The Nutrition Environment Measures Surveys (NEMS) are valid and reliable observational measures of the nutrition environment. This article describes the dissemination of the measures, including the development, implementation, and evaluation of training workshops, and a follow-up survey of training participants.
To disseminate the NEMS measures, we developed a 2-day intensive, participatory workshop. We used an immediate postcourse evaluation and a structured telephone follow-up interview to evaluate the workshops and the dissemination strategy. Topics included use of the NEMS measures, reactions to the workshops, and participants' training others on the measures.
During the study period, 173 people participated in 14 workshops. Participants indicated a high level of satisfaction with the training workshops. Almost two-thirds of respondents reported using the measures to train an additional 292 people and to rate more than 3,000 food outlets. The measures have been used in diverse locations across the United States for various purposes. Respondents have reported NEMS results in peer-reviewed journals, master's theses, newspaper articles, and presentations.
The NEMS measures are the only nutrition environment measures that have been packaged for distribution and widely disseminated. The measures fill a need in the worlds of research and community action, and dissemination was successful in accelerating diffusion and promoting adoption of the measures. The use of an ongoing, continual process to improve workshops and measures contributes to the usefulness of the surveys and accelerates their adoption and continued use.