Measurement & Evaluation

The Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition is dedicated to discovering solutions to challenges in the areas of childhood obesity, local food systems and food insecurity. Not only do we lead projects that directly support our mission, but we also serve as evaluation consultants to facilitate investigation with our local and national partners that include: federal agencies, national-scope advocacy organizations and local non-profit groups committed to creating long-lasting and impactful change. In order to better understand the impact of a program or a complex phenomenon related to areas within our mission, accurate measurement is a necessity.

We work across a broad range of areas including survey development or modification and evaluation (e.g., validity and reliability testing) of existing surveys. We also assist others with the design and implementation of both quantitative and qualitative survey methodologies including:


  • focus group testing
  • key informant interviews
  • cognitive interviewing


  • survey development
  • validity and reliability testing
  • program and intervention evaluation

If you are looking for assistance, please contact us at to discuss a potential collaboration.


In-Store Marketing

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) funded the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, LA Sutherland group and The Food Trust to conduct complementary assessments of in-store food marketing practices across multiple retail channels and to share findings from ongoing in-store marketing efforts among RWJF-funded programs and initiatives. To read the executive summary of the final report, click here.

Share Our Strength’s Cooking MattersTM

Share Our Strength’s Cooking MattersTM is a national program that is dedicated to helping teach parents, children, childcare providers and others how to plan, purchase and prepare healthy and affordable meals. The Center is currently aiding Cooking Matters on survey design and evaluation efforts.


The Center was contracted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to evaluate measurement tools in the areas of physical activity, healthy eating and injury prevention for National 4-H, a positive youth development organization. Specifically broad constructs assessed included behaviors, knowledge, attitudes and related psychosocial constructs in youth as well as parents as proxy reports for younger children. These indicators are being used for trickle-down training throughout the organization as well as to provide guidance on measures to be used by 4-H throughout the U.S. The report is available for download. This project was supported by funding from Kraft Foods, Inc.

Hunger Free Heartland

The Center is a partner in the Hunger Free Heartland (HFH) initiative. The Center serves as the research arm of HFH to identify and contribute to the development of a scientific evidence base to inform community activities aimed at improving food security for households in the Omaha metro region.

The mission of HFH is to ensure that sustainable solutions are available to provide access to the nutritious foods children and their families need to live active, healthful lives. This initiative is a grassroots effort including representation from more than 50 businesses, charitable and community organizations including education, health care and social service groups and government representatives uniting behind a common purpose of providing children and their families with nutritious food. The initiative was launched in response to the growing need to alleviate child food insecurity in the Omaha metro area.