The BEAT (Built Environment Assessment Training) Think Tank was held in Philadelphia, June 17-18, 2013. It was organized by Karen Glanz and team at U Penn to create a vision for next steps in assessing physical activity and food environments. This follows 5 years of BEAT Institute week-long courses that have built capacity among researchers and practitioners for using the best available environment measures. About 25 leading researchers and several practitioners were invited to contribute to the wide-ranging discussion.
The experience, creativity, and dedication of the assembled "thinkers" led to rich discussions and many great ideas. Two major themes dealt with next steps in measurement development for research and the need to create measures that are feasible for wide use for practice, policy, advocacy, and surveillance purposes. Though the rapid progress in measuring environments over the past decade was recognized, some gaps in measures were noted. The most common comment seemed to be the need for shorter measures for both research and practice purposes, especially for observation/audit measures, along with programs or apps for scoring and presenting the results. There was great enthusiasm, and even some compelling examples, of the use of technology to improve measures.
BEAT Think Tank Attendees, 07/18/13
Three types of outcomes of the BEAT Think Tank are planned. First, recommendations for the next generation of food and physical activity environment measures will be prioritized. Second, a set of papers will be prepared to share the vision for the future of environment assessment. Third, plans for a next phase of BEAT courses will be pursued. Check the BEAT website for updates on the Think Tank, more information on BEAT, and online training programs: http://www.med.upenn.edu/beat/
Dance lessons in this Philadelphia park are a tradition. Do our measures capture this?