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A school-based program implemented by community providers previously trained for the prevention of eating and weight-related problems in secondary-school adolescents: the MABIC study protocol

David Sánchez-Carracedo12*, Gemma López-Guimerà12, Jordi Fauquet234, Juan Ramón Barrada5, Montserrat Pàmias6, Joaquim Puntí126, Mireia Querol6 and Esther Trepat7

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès) Barcelona, Spain

2 Research Unit on Eating and Weight-related Behaviors (UCAP), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès) Barcelona, Spain

3 Department of Psychobiology and Methodology of Health Sciences, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès) Barcelona, Spain

4 Neuroimaging Research Group, IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute), Barcelona Biomedical Research Park, C/ Doctor Aiguader, 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

5 Department of Psychology and Sociology, University of Zaragoza, 44003 Teruel, Spain

6 Mental Health Unit of the Parc Taulí Health Corporation (CSPT), 08208 Sabadell, Barcelona, Spain

7 Institute of Psychology Foundation, República Argentina, 182, 08023 Barcelona, Spain

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:955  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-955

Published: 12 October 2013



The prevention of eating disorders and disordered eating are increasingly recognized as public health priorities. Challenges in this field included moving from efficacy to effectiveness and developing an integrated approach to the prevention of a broad spectrum of eating and weight-related problems. A previous efficacy trial indicated that a universal disordered eating prevention program, based on the social cognitive model, media literacy educational approach and cognitive dissonance theory, reduced risk factors for disordered eating, but it is unclear whether this program has effects under more real-world conditions. The main aim of this effectiveness trial protocol is to test whether this program has effects when incorporating an integrated approach to prevention and when previously-trained community providers implement the intervention.


The research design involved a multi-center non-randomized controlled trial with baseline, post and 1-year follow-up measures. Six schools from the city of Sabadell (close to Barcelona) participated in the intervention group, and eleven schools from four towns neighboring Sabadell participated in the control group. A total of 174 girls and 180 boys in the intervention group, and 484 girls and 490 boys in the control group were registered in class lists prior to baseline. A total of 18 community providers, secondary-school class tutors, nurses from the Catalan Government’s Health and School Program, and health promotion technicians from Sabadell City Council were trained and delivered the program. Shared risk factors of eating and weight-related problems were assessed as main measures.


It will be vital for progress in disordered eating prevention to conduct effectiveness trials, which test whether interventions are effective when delivered by community providers under ecologically valid conditions, as opposed to tightly controlled research trials. The MABIC project will provide new contributions in this transition from efficacy to effectiveness and new data about progress in the integrated approach to prevention. Pending the results, the effectiveness trial meets the effectiveness standards set down by the Society for Prevention Research. This study will provide new evidence to improve and enhance disordered eating prevention programs.

Trial registration

Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN47682626

Prevention; Effectiveness; Disordered eating; Eating disorders; Overweight; Obesity; Eating and weight-related problems