Open Access Study protocol

Rationale and study protocol for the supporting children’s outcomes using rewards, exercise and skills (SCORES) group randomized controlled trial: A physical activity and fundamental movement skills intervention for primary schools in low-income communities

David R Lubans1*, Philip J Morgan1, Kristen Weaver1, Robin Callister2, Deborah L Dewar1, Sarah A Costigan1, Tara L Finn1, Jordan Smith1, Lee Upton1 and Ronald C Plotnikoff1

Author Affiliations

1 School of Education, Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Callaghan Campus, Australia

2 School of Health Sciences, Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Callaghan Campus, Australia

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:427  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-427

Published: 12 June 2012

Abstract

Background

Many Australian children are insufficiently active to accrue health benefits and physical activity (PA) levels are consistently lower among youth of low socio-economic position. PA levels decline dramatically during adolescence and evidence suggests that competency in a range of fundamental movement skills (FMS) may serve as a protective factor against this trend.

Methods/design

The Supporting Children’s Outcomes Using Rewards Exercise and Skills (SCORES) intervention is a multi-component PA and FMS intervention for primary schools in low-income communities, which will be evaluated using a group randomized controlled trial. The socio-ecological model provided a framework for the 12-month intervention, which includes the following components: teacher professional learning, student leadership workshops (including leadership accreditation and rewards, e.g., stickers, water bottles), PA policy review, PA equipment packs, parental engagement via newsletters, FMS homework and a parent evening, and community partnerships with local sporting organizations. Outcomes will be assessed at baseline, 6- and 12-months. The primary outcomes are PA (accelerometers), FMS (Test of Gross Motor Development II) and cardiorespiratory fitness (multi-stage fitness test). Secondary outcomes include body mass index [using weight (kg)/height (m2)], perceived competence, physical self-esteem, and resilience. Individual and environmental mediators of behavior change (e.g. social support and enjoyment) will also be assessed. The System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time will be used to assess the impact of the intervention on PA within physical education lessons. Statistical analyses will follow intention-to-treat principles and hypothesized mediators of PA behavior change will be explored.

Discussion

SCORES is an innovative primary school-based PA and FMS intervention designed to support students attending schools in low-income communities to be more skilled and active. The findings from the study may be used to guide teacher pre-service education, professional learning and school policy in primary schools.

Trial registration

Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry No: ACTRN12611001080910