There is little high-quality evidence about how to increase physical activity and healthy eating amongst adolescents. The peer-led model developed during ASSIST, a previous study in the School of Social and Community Medicine, offers a potentially effective approach.
Two-year feasibility study incorporating two of the phases in the MRC’s framework for evaluating complex interventions.
Phase I: Focus groups and pilot study
- Six focus group discussions (each involving 8 participants) held with young people aged 11-13 years, and interviews with other stakeholders e.g. health promotion and public health experts, teachers, school nurses, youth workers and parents.
- Develop schools-based peer-led intervention to increase physical activity and healthy eating amongst Year 8 students, based on existing evidence and focus group discussions with key stakeholders. This phase also includes a pilot study in one school.
Phase II: Exploratory trial
- Six schools recruited to the exploratory trial. Three randomised to receive the intervention and three to act as control schools.
- Primary outcomes measured: changes in levels of physical activity (activity counts per minute over a specified period of days) and changes in target food consumption (portions of target foods consumed over the same period of days).
- Detailed, mainly qualitative, process evaluation carried out, to investigate the acceptability of the training to students, teachers, school nurses, parents and schools, and to record the trainers’ views.
- Quantitative data collected on physical activity and target food consumption in all six schools at baseline, immediately post-intervention and at six months post-intervention.
- Economic evaluation assesses the costs of the peer supporter training programme.
- University of Bristol project webpage
- Bell S, Audrey S, Cooper A, Noble S, Campbell R. ‘Lessons from a peer-led obesity prevention programme in English schools’ Health Promotion International 2014. First published online: 6 April 2014.
- Audrey, S., Bell, S., Hughes, R., Campbell, R. (2012) ‘Adolescent perspectives on wearing accelerometers to measure physical activity in population-based trials’ European Journal of Public Health 22(3)
Department of Health research initiative to support implementation of the National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services