To prevent overweight and obesity the implementation of an integrated community-wide intervention approach (ICIA) is often advocated. Evaluation can enhance implementation of such an approach and demonstrate the extent of effectiveness. To be able to support professionals in the evaluation of ICIAs we studied barriers to and facilitators of ICIA evaluation. In this study ten professionals of two Dutch municipalities involved in the evaluation of an ICIA participated. We conducted semi-structured interviews (n = 12), observed programme meetings (n = 4) and carried out document analysis. Data were analyzed using a thematic content approach. We learned that evaluation is hampered when it is perceived as unfeasible due to limited time and budget, a lack of evaluation knowledge or a negative evaluation attitude. Other barriers are a poor understanding of the evaluation process and its added value to optimizing the programme. Sufficient communication between involved professionals on evaluation can facilitate evaluation, as does support for evaluation of ICIAs together with stakeholders at a strategic and tactical level. To stimulate the evaluation of ICIAs, we recommend supporting professionals in securing evaluation resources, providing tailored training and tools to enhance evaluation competences and stimulating strategic communication on evaluation.
Keywords: barriers; case study; community; evaluation; facilitators; overweight; perceptions.