Bristol Girls Dance Project: A cluster randomised controlled trial of an after-school dance programme to increase physical activity among 11-12 year old girls

BGDP (lay title: Active7)
Lead investigator
Professor Russ Jago, University of Bristol

Many children do not do enough physical activity. Girls are less active than boys. Getting low-active girls to do more physical activity would improve their hearts, lungs, and mental well-being. There is a lack of studies that focus on ways to help girls to be physically active. Dance is an activity that appeals to many girls and could engage low-active girls in physical activity.
A feasibility study led by Professor Jago found that it is possible to recruit 11–12 year old girls to participate in an after-school dance study, and that an after-school dance intervention has potential to positively affect the PA levels of 11–12 year old girls.

Aims & objectives
The Bristol Girls Dance Project (BGDP) aims to: 1. Determine the effectiveness of the BGDP intervention to improve the objectively assessed (accelerometer) mean weekday minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) per day among Year 7 girls a year after the baseline assessment has been made (time 0 + 52 weeks, second follow-up). 2. Determine the effectiveness of the BGDP intervention to improve the following secondary outcomes among Year 7 girls at time 0 + 52 weeks: a) Mean weekend minutes of MVPA; b) Mean weekday accelerometer counts per minute (which provides an indication of the volume of activity in which the girls engage); c) Mean weekend accelerometer counts per minute; d) The proportion of girls meeting the recommendation of 60 minutes of MVPA per day; e) Mean accelerometer-derived minutes of weekday sedentary time; f) Mean EQ-5D-Y scores (a standardised instrument for measuring health outcomes); g) Programme costs (school-level) and mean participant costs. 3. Determine the effectiveness of the BGDP intervention during the intervention period (weeks 19-20 of the intervention – first follow-up) on all primary and secondary outcome variables. 4. Determine the extent to which any effects on primary and secondary outcomes are mediated by autonomous and controlled motivation towards physical activity (PA) and perceptions of autonomy, competence and relatedness in PA. These mediators are informed by Self Determination Theory, the psychological theory of behaviour change on which our intervention is based. 5. Determine the cost-effectiveness/utility of the BGDP intervention from a public sector perspective over the timeframe of the study.
Study design

Two-armed cluster randomised control trial, with process, economic, and quantitative and qualitative evaluations.

The intervention will be delivered simultaneously across all intervention sites, between January and June 2014. The sample of schools will be restricted to those operating within three Local Authorities in South West England: Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council, and Bath and North East Somerset Council.

The study will take place in 18 state maintained secondary schools. To determine the effect of the programme on children, there will be nine schools that receive the after-school dance programme (intervention schools), and nine schools that do not (control schools). The schools will be randomly assigned to the ‘intervention’ or ‘control’ arm of the study.

The dance programme will be led by expert dance instructors, and there will be 2×75 minute sessions per week in each of the nine schools (40 sessions overall). We aim to recruit 30 Year 7 girls (minimum, 25) from each school to take part in the study.
We will examine whether the intervention results in higher levels of physical activity at the end of a 20-week dance programme. We will also assess if this effect is maintained once the programme has ended. We will monitor all financial expenditure against a formal checklist.

Data – accelerometer, height and weight, and questionnaire – will be collected from all participants at three time points: Time 0 (baseline), Time 1 (baseline + 19-20 weeks), Time 2 (baseline +52 weeks).

Further information & publications
Start date
1 April 2013
End date
31 August 2015
Trial register number