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Prev Med. 2011 Mar-Apr;52(3-4):239-46. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.01.009. Epub 2011 Jan 27.

Randomized controlled trial of the Physical Activity Leaders (PALs) program for adolescent boys from disadvantaged secondary schools.

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Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia.



The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of the Physical Activity Leaders (PALs) program. PALs is an obesity prevention program for low-active adolescent boys from disadvantaged schools.


The study was conducted in the Hunter Region, New South Wales (NSW), Australia from June to December 2009. Four disadvantaged secondary schools were randomized to treatment conditions for the 6-month study period. Participants were 100 adolescent boys [mean (SD) age=14.3(0.6) years; BMI=22.1 kg/m(-2) (4.6); BMI z-score=0.6 (1.2)]. The primary outcome was change in BMI and secondary outcomes were body fat (bioelectrical impedance analysis), waist circumference, muscular fitness (leg dynamometer, 90º push-up test and 7-stage sit-up test), physical activity (5-days of pedometry) and selected dietary behaviors.


Significant group-by-time interaction effects were found for BMI (mean difference=-0.8 kg/m(-2), p<0.001, d =0.7), BMI z-score (mean difference=-0.2, p<0.001, d=0.7), and body fat (mean difference=-1.8%, p<0.05, d=0.5), but not for waist circumference, muscular fitness or physical activity. Participants in the intervention group reduced their consumption of sugar-containing beverages.


The PALs program was a feasible and efficacious approach to induce healthy weight loss in adolescent boys from disadvantaged secondary schools.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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