Background: In the context of health-related interventions, sustainability is the capacity to maintain the changes resulting from the intervention. These can be improved policies, practices or trends intended to improve population health. The Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration (CORD) project was a multi-site, multi-intervention collaboration testing the Obesity Chronic Care Model with interventions for childhood obesity prevention and management. We present the model, definitions and methodology used for the cross-site sustainability evaluation of CORD. Methods: We applied the Ecologic Model of Obesity to childhood obesity interventions to operationalize four sustainability constructs: replicability, continuation of benefits, institutionalization, and community capacity. We used a triangulation approach and employed mixed methods to assess sustainability constructs at each level of the Ecologic Model of Obesity: Micro, Meso, Exo and Macro. We constructed checklists to count and code intervention activities, use of evidence-based practices among providers, and environmental factors and policies hypothesized to influence intervention sustainability. We developed in-depth interviews for principal investigators and project leads. We applied the Wilder Collaboration Factors Inventory with key stakeholders. Results: Lessons learned suggested that sustainability constructs should be clearly identified and operationalized a priori. Constructs must be flexible to account for differences between intervention plans and implementation to obtain robust and informative data. Conclusion: Strong links are needed among researchers, program implementers and communities to accomplish consistent, robust and valuable data collection efforts to assure sustainable and healthy communities.

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Archives of Public Health
School of Social Work

Lee, R.E. (Rebecca E.), Kao, D, Parker, N.H. (Nathan H.), Hallett, A.M. (Allen M.), Kochi, C.Y. (Camila Y.), Modelska, M.J. (Maria J.), … O'Connor, D.P. (Daniel P.). (2020). Evaluating sustainability in the Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration project: The model and process. Archives of Public Health, 78(1). doi:10.1186/s13690-020-0397-2