The negative consequences of unhealthy weight gain and the high likelihood of pediatric obesity tracking into adulthood highlight the importance of targeting youth who are ‘at risk’ of obesity. The aim of this paper is to report the rationale and study protocol for the ‘Active Teen Leaders Avoiding Screen-time’ (ATLAS) obesity prevention intervention for adolescent boys living in low-income communities.
The ATLAS intervention will be evaluated using a cluster randomized controlled trial in 14 secondary schools in the state of New South Wales (NSW), Australia (2012 to 2014). ATLAS is an 8-month multi-component, school-based program informed by self-determination theory and social cognitive theory. The intervention consists of teacher professional development, enhanced school-sport sessions, researcher-led seminars, lunch-time physical activity mentoring sessions, pedometers for self-monitoring, provision of equipment to schools, parental newsletters, and a smartphone application and website. Assessments were conducted at baseline and will be completed again at 9- and 18-months from baseline. Primary outcomes are body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference. Secondary outcomes include BMI z-scores, body fat (bioelectrical impedance analysis), physical activity (accelerometers), muscular fitness (grip strength and push-ups), screen-time, sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, resistance training skill competency, daytime sleepiness, subjective well-being, physical self-perception, pathological video gaming, and aggression. Hypothesized mediators of behavior change will also be explored.
ATLAS is an innovative school-based intervention designed to improve the health behaviors and related outcomes of adolescent males in low-income communities.