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BMC Public Health. 2011 Oct 26;11:830. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-11-830.

Evaluating the effectiveness of a schools-based programme to promote exercise self-efficacy in children and young people with risk factors for obesity: steps to active kids (STAK).

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School of Community Health Sciences, Division of Psychiatry, University of Nottingham, UK.



Low levels of physical activity in children have been linked to an increased risk of obesity, but many children lack confidence in relation to exercise (exercise self-efficacy). Factors which can impact on confidence include a chronic health condition such as asthma, poor motor skills and being overweight. Increasing levels of physical activity have obvious benefits for children with asthma and children who are overweight, but few activity interventions with children specifically target children with low exercise self-efficacy (ESE). This study aims to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of a schools-based activity programme suitable for children with risk factors for adult obesity, including asthma, overweight and low exercise self-efficacy.


A clustered (at the level of school) RCT will be used to compare a targeted, 10 week, stepped activity programme (activity diary, dance DVD, circuit-training and motivational interviewing) designed to promote ESE. We will recruit 20 primary schools to participate in the intervention and 9-11 year old children will be screened for low levels of ESE, asthma and overweight. In order to provide sufficient power to detect a difference in primary outcomes (Body Mass Index-BMI & ESE at 12 month follow-up) between children in the intervention schools and control schools, the target sample size is 396. Assessments of BMI, ESE, waist circumference, peak flow, activity levels and emotional and behavioural difficulties will be made at baseline, 4 months and 12 month follow-up.


We aim to increase ESE and levels of physical activity in children with risk factors for adult obesity. The outcomes of this study will inform policy makers about the feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of delivering targeted health interventions within a school setting.


ISRCTN Register no. ISRCTN12650001.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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