The Overall Evaluation of Healthy Futures nearby

FNO funded 46 small-scale projects under the umbrella of the Healthy Futures Nearby (HFN) program and issued an overall evaluation of the program to learn about participation, effectiveness, and sustainability. In this overall evaluation the combined effects of the interventions and underlying mechanisms for reducing health inequalities are identified.

The projects all aim to reduce health inequalities through lifestyle changes in vulnerable families. The HFN program aims to “improve the health behaviors of vulnerable families with a low socioeconomic background to reduce health inequalities.” Vulnerable families are defined as households in which at least 1 adult and 1 child live together, who experience multiple problems with finances, education, work, or well-being and who suffer health deprivation by smoking, heavy consumption of alcohol, or unhealthy weight combined with a lower perceived health.

• Projects have been awarded funding for the years 2016 to 2019 (34 projects) or 2017 to 2019 (12 projects).

• Projects use either a neighborhood-oriented (similar to community development) participatory approach or work from an intersectoral approach (similar to a systems perspective, including different stakeholders and levels) to reduce inequalities by promoting healthy lifestyles. These 2 approaches can be understood as the program’s theory of change.

• All 46 small-scale projects focus directly or indirectly on reducing alcohol use, promoting smoking cessation, promoting a healthy weight and improving perceived health. To reach their goals, the projects develop and implement a range of strategies and activities. For instance, some employ a participatory, dynamic neighborhood-oriented approach, whereas others focus on improving social infrastructures for families facing multiple problems.

The overall evaluation of the program HFN is conducted in collaboration with Wageningen Economic Research and the Verwey-Jonker Institute.