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Open Access Study protocol

A cluster-randomised, controlled trial to assess the impact of a workplace osteoporosis prevention intervention on the dietary and physical activity behaviours of working women: study protocol

Ai May Tan1*, Anthony D LaMontagne1, Rani Sarmugam2 and Peter Howard3

Author affiliations

1 McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, 3010, Australia

2 Health Promotion Board, Singapore, 168937, Singapore

3 Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, 3010, Australia

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:405  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-405

Published: 29 April 2013

Abstract

Background

Osteoporosis is a debilitating disease and its risk can be reduced through adequate calcium consumption and physical activity. This protocol paper describes a workplace-based intervention targeting behaviour change in premenopausal women working in sedentary occupations.

Method/Design

A cluster-randomised design was used, comparing the efficacy of a tailored intervention to standard care. Workplaces were the clusters and units of randomisation and intervention. Sample size calculations incorporated the cluster design. Final number of clusters was determined to be 16, based on a cluster size of 20 and calcium intake parameters (effect size 250 mg, ICC 0.5 and standard deviation 290 mg) as it required the highest number of clusters.

Sixteen workplaces were recruited from a pool of 97 workplaces and randomly assigned to intervention and control arms (eight in each). Women meeting specified inclusion criteria were then recruited to participate. Workplaces in the intervention arm received three participatory workshops and organisation wide educational activities. Workplaces in the control/standard care arm received print resources. Intervention workshops were guided by self-efficacy theory and included participatory activities such as goal setting, problem solving, local food sampling, exercise trials, group discussion and behaviour feedback.

Outcomes measures were calcium intake (milligrams/day) and physical activity level (duration: minutes/week), measured at baseline, four weeks and six months post intervention.

Discussion

This study addresses the current lack of evidence for behaviour change interventions focussing on osteoporosis prevention. It addresses missed opportunities of using workplaces as a platform to target high-risk individuals with sedentary occupations. The intervention was designed to modify behaviour levels to bring about risk reduction. It is the first to address dietary and physical activity components each with unique intervention strategies in the context of osteoporosis prevention. The intervention used locally relevant behavioural strategies previously shown to support good outcomes in other countries. The combination of these elements have not been incorporated in similar studies in the past, supporting the study hypothesis that the intervention will be more efficacious than standard practice in osteoporosis prevention through improvements in calcium intake and physical activity.

Keywords:
Osteoporosis prevention; Cluster randomised trial; Premenopausal women; Workplace; Calcium intake; Physical activity