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Part 4: Environmental Intervention Planning 101
A Guide for Custom Community Intervention Planning

dot Key Points

Part 4: Environmental Intervention Planning 101 is a step-by-step plan you can follow to plan your own environmental intervention. Key points covered are:

dot Precede-Proceed Model

It is important to briefly note the research behind planning health education interventions.

Planning and implementing any type of population health program or environmental intervention follows a basic agenda: enhance the quality of life and health status by doing what is necessary to prevent illness and injury. These types of programs operate at one or a combination of stages of prevention as shown in the following table.

Stage of Prevention  



Hygiene and health enhancement;
health protection through environment controls.


Early detection and treatment of known risk factors.


Therapy to prevent recurrence.

Most environmental interventions will operate at the primary stage, focused on improving or enhancing the health of the community.

The PRECEDE-PROCEED model is a basic framework for planning, and is referred to in much of the health program planning literature (Green & Kreuter, 2005). This model has two components:

checkThe PRECEDE-PROCEED model is typically followed closely in planning environmental interventions. It is also valuable for program evaluation.

An example of the dynamic nature of the PRECEDE-PROCEED model and its application to environmental interventions

dot The Planning Process

1. Print the Environmental Intervention Planning Worksheet. PDF
2. Plan your Environmental Assessment. Use the printed worksheet and the steps below as a guide.
3. Conduct an Environmental Assessment. Systematically evaluate the current healthy eating and active living environments in your target community. Identify promising areas for intervention.

dot Plan Your Intervention Step-by-Step

1. Define the problem. Have a clear understanding of what you perceive the problem to be, and make sure you can communicate this problem to all relevant parties.

2. Define your community. Where can you make a measurable difference?

A community can be:

As you will see once you begin to use the tools and resources in this guide, key steps in planning an environmental assessment are:
1. Define the community
2. Know the community members
3. Define the nature of the problem as you and the community members see it.

The third step is the most important.

3. Define your audience. Focus on the specific people you want to reach. Clarify this detail to collect targeted, meaningful data. For example:

4. Identify your partners. An effective community collaboration team might involve nutrition and health professionals; city and regional planners; community, business, and organizational leaders; and community members.

4a. Assemble your partners. Have a meeting to reach consensus about the proposed intervention goals.

5. What dimension(s) of the environment is the team going to assess?

6. What data collection methods, tools, and strategies will be used? Who will collect data, how and by whom will data be analyzed? See Assessment Tools for tools you might use.

7. How you are going to use the information you collect? To whom will you be presenting your findings?

7a. Gain community support and confirm that they see the problem as you and your partnership team see it. This is critical. If the community does not see a problem, participation and success will be highly unlikely.

8. Identify opportunities for environmental change. Prioritize opportunities based on your assessment, areas with the broadest consensus, and likelihood of biggest impact.

9. Select an intervention strategy.Environmental interventions are especially dependent on community resources such as time, money, and goodwill to achieve long-term change. See the example with the worksheet, as well as the Case Studies for ideas for environmental interventions. Choose intervention strategies based on:

Remember: your assessment will guide your choice of intervention, and your evaluation will guide your ongoing intervention strategy.

We have included some suggestions for intervention strategies. These are programs that are being tried by others, and may offer you some ideas as you plan your own intervention. See Suggestions for Intervention Strategies.

10. Plan your evaluation. Design an evaluation that will tell you whether the intervention made a difference. See Part IV: Evaluating and Moving Forward for more information.

By conducting a good evaluation you can add to the evidence about what works and share your success with others.

11. Plan your intervention. Be prepared to monitor how things are going, and be flexible about intervention strategies. Have a general timeline in place for both implementation and evaluation.

Next Step: Part 5: Evaluating and Moving Forward