Establishing consensus on key public health indicators for the monitoring and evaluating childhood obesity interventions: a Delphi panel study

Type Article

Journal Article


S. O'Donnell; G. Doyle; G. O'Malley; S. Browne; J. O'Connor; M. Mars; M. M. Kechadi

Year of publication



BMC Public Health








BACKGROUND: Childhood obesity is influenced by myriad individual, societal and environmental factors that are not typically reflected in current interventions. Socio-ecological conditions evolve and require ongoing monitoring in terms of assessing their influence on child health. The aim of this study was to identify and prioritise indicators deemed relevant by public health authorities for monitoring and evaluating childhood obesity interventions. METHOD: A three-round Delphi Panel composed of experts from regions across Europe, with a remit in childhood obesity intervention, were asked to identify indicators that were a priority in their efforts to address childhood obesity in their respective jurisdictions. In Round 1, 16 panellists answered a series of open-ended questions to identify the most relevant indicators concerning the evaluation and subsequent monitoring of interventions addressing childhood obesity, focusing on three main domains: built environments, dietary environments, and health inequalities. In Rounds 2 and 3, panellists rated the importance of each of the identified indicators within these domains, and the responses were then analysed quantitatively. RESULTS: Twenty-seven expert panellists were invited to participate in the study. Of these, 16/27 completed round 1 (5 9% response rate), 14/16 completed round 2 (87.5% response rate), and 8/14 completed the third and final round (57% response rate). Consensus (defined as > 70% agreement) was reached on a total of 45 of the 87 indicators (49%) across three primary domains (built and dietary environments and health inequalities), with 100% consensus reached for 5 of these indicators (6%). CONCLUSION: Forty-five potential indicators were identified, pertaining primarily to the dietary environment, built environment and health inequalities. These results have important implications more widely for evaluating interventions aimed at childhood obesity reduction and prevention.