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Self Management Assessment and Resource Tool (S.M.A.R.T.)

EPA National Community Recognition Program - Question 14

Our community includes gathering evidence about and evaluating the effectiveness of and level of participation in our active aging/physical activity programs and opportunities for older adults.


How many older adults participate in community physical activity programs? How effective are these programs in promoting health and well-being? These questions help you evaluate physical activity programs in your community to identify strengths and weaknesses and strategize ways to improve current programming. Program evaluation can be especially useful in convincing policymakers and funders of the importance of programs and ensure that funding and other resources are put to good use. It also demonstrates your commitment to providing high quality programs.

Getting Started

Determine whether your goal is to gain insight about programs, improve programs, or assess the programs’ effects. Program evaluation is not quantitative research, and therefore is not as costly or timely, and doesn’t require a researcher to perform the evaluation. Much of the information can be gleaned from participant feedback, administrative records, and observation. Information that can be gathered may include:

  1. Participation attendance rates
  2. Usage patterns
  3. Participant satisfaction surveys
  4. Cost analysis
  5. Health indicators

Internet Resources on Program Evaluation

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Physical Activity Evaluation Handbook
(73 pp, 576K)

Active Living Coalition for Older Adults
Research Update, March 2003
Monitoring and Evaluating Physical Activity Programs for Older Adults
http://www.alcoa.ca/research_u_docs/2003_03mar_en_update.pdf#search=%22evaluating%20physical%20activity%20programs%22 (6 pp, 1.54MB)  Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

National Council on the Aging
Center for Healthy Aging
Physical Activity Programs Checklist
http://www.healthyagingprograms.com/content.asp?sectionid=73&ElementID=334 Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

Physical Activity Evaluation Handbook
http://www.healthyagingprograms.org/content.asp?sectionid=73&ElementID=35  Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

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