There are currently no direct observation environmental audit tools that measure diverse aspects of the obesity-related environment efficiently and reliably in a variety of geographic settings. The goal was to develop a new instrument to reliably characterize the overall properties and features of rural, suburban, and urban settings along multiple dimensions. The Community Audit of Social, Civil, and Activity Domains in Diverse Environments (CASCADDE) is an iPad-based instrument that incorporates GPS coordinates and photography and comprises 214 items yielding seven summary indices. A comprehensive spatial sampling strategy, training manual, and supporting data analysis code were also developed. Random geospatial sampling using GIS was used to capture features of the community as a whole. A single auditor collected 510 observation points in 30 communities (2013–2015). This analysis was done in 2015–2016. Correlation coefficients were used to compare items and indices to each other and to standard measures. Multilevel unconditional means models were used to calculate intraclass correlation coefficients to determine if there was significant variation between communities. Results suggest that CASCADDE measures aspects of communities not previously captured by secondary data sources. Additionally, seven summary indices capture meaningful differences between communities based on 15 observations per community. Community audit tools such as CASCADDE complement secondary data sources and have the potential to offer new insights about the mechanisms through which communities affect obesity and other health outcomes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health