Objectives: To determine if a school obesity prevention project developed in America can be adapted for use in England.
Design: Pilot cluster randomised controlled trial and interviews with teachers.
Setting: 19 primary schools in South West England.
Participants: 679 children in year 5 (age 9-10) from 19 schools in England. Baseline and follow-up assessments were completed for 323 children (screen viewing) and 472 children (body mass index).
Interventions: 16 lessons on healthy eating, physical activity and reducing TV viewing taught over five months by teachers.
Main outcome measures: Hours of screen activities, body mass index, mode of transport to school and teachers' views of the intervention.
Results: Children from intervention schools spent less time on screen viewing activities after the intervention but these differences were imprecisely estimated: mean difference in minutes spent on screen viewing at the end of the intervention (intervention schools minus control schools) adjusted for baseline levels and clustering within schools: -11.6 (95%CI: -42.7, 19.4) for a week day and -15.4 (95%CI: -57.5, 26.8) for a Saturday. There was no difference in mean body mass index or the odds of obesity.
Conclusions: It is feasible to transfer this American school based intervention to UK schools and it may be effective in reducing the time children spend on screen based activities. The study has provided information for a full-scale trial, which would require 50 schools (~1250 pupils) to detect effects on screen viewing and body mass index over 2 years of follow-up.
- Health Promotion
- Schools, Public Health