Childhood Obesity

Project:

Promoting behaviours that protect against childhood obesity

Lead LHD:

Hunter New England

Research Project:

This project focuses on an implementation trial of a multi‐component school-based physical activity intervention in disadvantaged secondary schools across HNE Health and beyond. The implementation trial will provide vital information on the effectiveness of the promising ‘Physical

Activity for Everyone’ strategy and be readily scaled up if proven effective.  

Physical Activity 4 Everyone (PA4E1) is a multi-component secondary school PA program, recently trialled in the Hunter New England region of NSW (funded by a NSW Ministry of Health, Demonstration Grant). The program was cost-effective (under review) and acceptable to stakeholders.

There is little evidence to guide the successful scale-up and population wide implementation of effective PA programs, such as PA4E1, in secondary schools. Without adequate implementation ‘at scale’ of such programs, their benefits in promoting PA and preventing obesity among adolescents cannot be realised. The aim of this study is to assess the effectiveness of an intervention in increasing the implementation by secondary schools of practices proven by the PA4E1 trial to increase student physical activity. The effectiveness of the program in improving adolescent PA and preventing excessive weight gain, and its cost effectiveness in doing so, will also be assessed.

The study will employ a cluster RCT design. An implementation support intervention has been designed using the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) to address known barriers to program implementation, and incorporating proven strategies from the Good for Kids (G4K) program and the NSW Healthy Children Initiative (HCI). Thirty-eight secondary schools will be randomised to receive the implementation support and 38 will be allocated to a control group. The impact of the strategy on school implementation of physical activity promoting practices will be assessed via observations conducted at schools at 12-month follow-up. Objective measures of student PA and BMI will be assessed in a nested sample of 44 schools over the same period.

Project Lead:

Professor John Wiggers.