CPNP Baseline Study and Evaluation

by Reaghan Tarbell


The Baseline Data Study is part of the evaluation of the Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program. It will
provide a picture of risk factors and pregnancy outcomes in communities that do not have prenatal nutrition projects. This information will act as a baseline for comparison when looking at the ability of CPNP projects to improve the health of pregnant women and their babies. The baseline information will also be useful in the planning and/or evaluation of other programs designed to improve the health of women and children.

From the inception of the program, the Policy and Consultation Branch (PCB), the Health Programs and Promotions Branch (HPPB) and the Medical Services Branch (MSB) of Health Canada have worked closely together in the development of a national program evaluation strategy, in order to meet the requirements of Cabinet. Barrington Research Group of Calgary has been contracted for the research, design and implementation of the evaluation.
Under the direction of the MSB Senior Nutritionist
Susan Beaubier, two part-time nutritionists, Julie Voorneveld and Pamela Winquist, work on the baseline study and the national evaluation respectively.


Baseline information is currently being collected across Canada in communities that do not have CPNP or similar prenatal nutrition programs. A sampling methodology was developed in consultation with Statistics Canada. Approximately 50 communities have been invited to participate in the MSB side of the study. Representation will include all regions except Quebec and the Yukon.The study will run for one year at each site. Interviews will be conducted with women who give birth during the survey period and in the six months prior to the start date. This will make for a total of 18 months of data. MSB is hoping to get a total of 800-1,000 interviews.

Data Collection

Data will be collected during in-person interviews with women who have recently given birth. A 45-item questionnaire and an Interviewer's Manual have been developed for this purpose. Each interview takes approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. The interviewers will ask women who have given birth within the previous six months about their pregnancy, their new baby and themselves. Every respondent will have the right to accept or refuse to participate in the survey. They also have the right skip questions they do not wish to answer. The interviewers will be hired within each of the selected communities. Interviewer qualifications have been drafted to assist Bands with the selection process.


MSB has contracted with the
Clinical Epidemiology Unit of Ottawa Civic Hospital to handle the data entry and analysis phase. MSB and HPPB (representing the general Canadian population) data will be analyzed as separate data sets, but will be pooled together for a national perspective.



From August to October 1998, the relevant communities, Chiefs and Councils and Tribal Councils will be notified concerning interviewer job descriptions. The interviewers will be selected and notified about training and then the regional training sessions will be held.
Data collection will be conducted from October 1998 to October 1999.
The national evaluation will be carried out in 2000.