Open Access Study protocol

Monitoring activities of teenagers to comprehend their habits: study protocol for a mixed-methods cohort study

Mathieu Bélanger123*, Isabelle Caissie1, Jacinthe Beauchamp1, Jennifer O’Loughlin456, Catherine Sabiston7 and Michelina Mancuso8

Author affiliations

1 Centre de formation médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick, Pavillon J.-Raymond-Frenette, 15, rue des Aboiteaux, Moncton, NB E1A 3E9, Canada

2 Department of family medicine, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Canada

3 Research Centre, Vitalité Health Network, Moncton, Canada

4 Department of social and preventive medicine, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada

5 Centre de recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada

6 Institut national de santé publique du Québec, Montreal, Canada

7 Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

8 New Brunswick Health Council, Moncton, Canada

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:649  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-649

Published: 12 July 2013



Efforts to increase physical activity in youth need to consider which activities are most likely to be sustained over time in order to promote lifelong participation in physical activity. The Monitoring Activities of Teenagers to Comprehend their Habits (MATCH) study is a prospective cohort study that uses quantitative and qualitative methods to develop new knowledge on the sustainability of specific physical activities.


Eight hundred and forty-three grade 5 and 6 students recruited from 17 elementary schools in New Brunswick, Canada, are followed-up three times per year. At each survey cycle, participants complete self-report questionnaires in their classroom under the supervision of trained data collectors. A sub-sample of 24 physically active students is interviewed annually using a semi-structured interview protocol. Parents (or guardians) complete telephone administered questionnaires every two years, and a health and wellness school audit is completed for each school.


MATCH will provide a description of the patterns of participation in specific physical activities in youth, and enable identification of the determinants of maintenance, decline, and uptake of participation in each activity. These data will inform the development of interventions that take into account which activities are the most likely to be maintained and why activities are maintained or dropped.

Physical activity; Sport; Youth; Behavior; Adolescents; Mixed methods; Cohort