Introduction: The prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescent Australian boys is not only increasing but is accelerating. Secondary schools are perhaps the most appropriate setting to intervene for overweight and obese adolescents, however to date, no interventions have specifically targeted adolescent males. The FILA (Fitness Improvement, Lifestyle Awareness) study was developed for adolescent males (12 and 13yrs). The aim of the study was to determine the feasibility of the program in an Independent Boys School in Sydney, Australia.
Methods: The FILA program was a multifaceted 16-week intervention concentrating specifically on: increasing physical activity within curricular and non-curricular time, healthy fast food alternatives, healthy recess snacks, reducing small screen recreation to less than 2 hours per day and behaviour modification techniques. The primary outcome measure was cardio-respiratory fitness. Secondary outcomes included BMI, waist circumference and time spent in sedentary behaviours. All outcomes were assessed at pre (baseline)- and post (16-weeks)- intervention in the 16 participating boys (mean age 12.79 +/- 0.48, mean BMI 21.65 +/- 3.6).
Results and Discussion: Over the 16-week intervention, cardio-respiratory fitness significantly improved from 32 to 53 laps (p<0.001). Average waist circumference reduced from 77.79 to 76.77 cm but this was not significant. No changes were evident in BMI. The small number of participants may not have provided adequate statistical power to detect changes in outcome variables. Small non-significant changes were evident in time spent in sedentary pursuits, in particular small screen recreation. Overall the FILA program proved to be feasible and strong participant, parent and staff satisfaction was reported. A pilot study is planned for 2007.