Background: Adolescence is a recognised period of physical activity decline, particularly among low-income communities. We report the 12-month (midpoint) effects of a 2-year multicomponent physical activity intervention implemented in disadvantaged secondary schools.
Methods: A cluster randomised trial was undertaken in 10 secondary schools located in disadvantaged areas in New South Wales, Australia. Students in Grade 7 were recruited, with follow-up in Grade 8. The intervention was guided by socioecological theory and included seven physical activity strategies, and six implementation adoption strategies. The primary outcome was mean minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per day assessed using Actigraph GT3X accelerometers. Outcome data were analysed using repeated measures linear mixed models.
Results: At baseline, 1150 (93%) students participated in the data collection (mean age 12 years, 48% boys) and 1050 (79%) students participated at 12-month follow-up. By the 12-month follow-up, the six implementation adoption strategies had been used to support schools to deliver four of the seven physical activity elements. There was a significant group-by-time interaction for mean minutes of MVPA per day in favour of the intervention group (adjusted difference between groups at follow-up=3.85 min, 95% CI (0.79 to 6.91), p≤0.01), including significantly more vigorous physical activity (2.45 min, p≤0.01), equating to 27 min more MVPA per week.
Summary: At 12-month follow-up, the intervention had reduced the decline in physical activity among adolescents from disadvantaged schools. The intervention may assist students to meet physical activity guidelines.