Monitor and Evaluate

Reach and Impact

To evaluate food service guidelines, you will want to measure reach and impact to demonstrate effective stewardship of funds and communicate key accomplishments. Reach and impact can also help you track progress of your food service guidelines implementation.

Reach. Reach is the number or percentage of people, organizations, or communities affected by your food service guidelines initiative. Examples of reach are:

  • 15 hospitals out of 35 in our state (43%) have written food service into their organizational policies.
  • 200 employees out of 675 potential employees (30%) have eaten in our worksite cafeteria every day since food service guidelines were implemented compared to 150 employees (22%) prior to implementation.

Calculating Reach

Reach can be calculated by using the formula below. In this example, the unit of measure is people, but you could use other units such as organizations or communities.

(Number of people affected by your initiative ÷ Potential number of people affected by your initiative) X 100 = Percentage of people reached by your initiative.

Impact. Impact is the public health effect that your initiative will have on people, organizations, or communities.  For food service guidelines, this impact could include weight loss or weight maintenance, decreased diet-related chronic diseases, or reduced mortality. Because it may take a long time to observe these kinds of outcomes, you will probably need to consider proxy measures instead. Proxy measures can include purchase of healthier foods by the consumer; purchase of healthier foods by the vendor; number of trays of healthier entrées made, served, and discarded; and number or percentage of healthier items on menu rotations. Examples are:

  • Purchases of healthy entrées increased by 27% following food service guidelines implementation.
  • The number of healthy meals on the menu rotation in a hospital cafeteria increased from 6 per six-week cycle to 15 per six-week cycle.
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