Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Randomised controlled trial adapting US school obesity prevention to England


Objectives: To determine whether a school obesity prevention project developed in the United States can be adapted for use in England.

Methods: A pilot cluster randomised controlled trial and interviews with teachers were carried out in 19 primary schools in South West England. Participants included 679 children in year 5 (age 9–10). Baseline and follow-up assessments were completed for 323 children (screen viewing) and 472 children (body mass index). Sixteen lessons on healthy eating, physical activity and reducing TV viewing were taught over 5 months by teachers. Main outcome measures were 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 was −11.6 (95% CI −42.7 to 19.4) for a week day and was −15.4 (95% CI −57.5 to 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 US 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.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.