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Open Access Study protocol

A cluster randomised trial of a school-based intervention to prevent decline in adolescent physical activity levels: study protocol for the ‘Physical Activity 4 Everyone’ trial

Rachel Sutherland123*, Elizabeth Campbell123, David R Lubans4, Philip J Morgan4, Anthony D Okely5, Nicole Nathan123, Luke Wolfenden123, Jannah Jones13, Lynda Davies13, Karen Gillham13 and John Wiggers123

Author Affiliations

1 Hunter New England Population Health, Locked Bag 10, Wallsend, NSW, 2287, Australia

2 School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, 2308, Australia

3 Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle, NSW, 2300, Australia

4 Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Education, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia

5 Interdisciplinary Educational Research Institute and Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:57  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-57

Published: 22 January 2013

Abstract

Background

Adolescence is an established period of physical activity decline. Multi-component school-based interventions have the potential to slow the decline in adolescents’ physical activity; however, few interventions have been conducted in schools located in low-income or disadvantaged communities. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of a multi-component school-based intervention in reducing the decline in physical activity among students attending secondary schools located in disadvantaged communities.

Methods/Design

The cluster randomised trial will be conducted with 10 secondary schools located in selected regions of New South Wales, Australia. The schools will be selected from areas that have a level of socio-economic status that is below the state average. Five schools will be allocated to receive an intervention based on the Health Promoting Schools framework, and will be supported by a part-time physical activity consultant placed in intervention schools who will implement a range of intervention adoption strategies. Study measures will be taken at baseline when students are in Year 7 (12–13 years) and again after 12- and 24-months. The primary outcome, minutes of moderate- to-vigorous- intensity physical activity per day and percentage of time in moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA), will be objectively assessed using accelerometers (Actigraph GT3x+). Group allocation and intervention delivery will commence after baseline data collection. The intervention will continue during school terms through to 24-month follow-up.

Discussion

The study will provide evidence regarding the effectiveness of a multi-component school-based intervention that includes an in-school physical activity consultant targeting the physical activity levels of adolescents in disadvantaged Australian secondary schools.

Trial registration

Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12612000382875.

Keywords:
Physical activity; Adolescents; School; Randomized controlled trial