The proportion of children who are obese has doubled in England in the last ten years and currently one third of 10-11 year olds are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity is associated with health issues in childhood, as well as reduced self-esteem and quality of life; however, there is still a paucity of evidence for effective interventions that engage children and parents to make and sustain lifestyle behaviour change. The Healthy Lifestyles Programme is an innovative school located intervention,developed using behaviour change theory and extensive stakeholder involvement, that seeks to deliver healthy lifestyle messages to encourage children to seek their parents support and effect change within the family.
1. To assess the effectiveness of the Healthy Lifestyles Programme (HeLP), in children aged 9-10 years, by comparing in intervention and control schools (adjusting for baseline measures)
2. To assess the costs of HeLP and cost-effectiveness versus usual practice
3. To conduct a mixed-methods process evaluation and mediational analysis to provide insight into the way the Programme worked (delivery, uptake, how it was experienced and what the behavioural mediators of change are).
The study started in March 2012 and 32 schools were recruited. Sixteen schools entered the study in September 2012 (cohort 1) and baseline measures were taken on 655/658 (99.5%) of children from all 16 schools. Eight schools were randomised to receive HeLP, with eight schools acting as controls. Delivery of the intervention in the 8 Programme schools in cohort 1 was completed in November 2013. Immediately following the end of the intervention, the 12 month measure (My Lifestyle Questionnaire) was collected on 630/658 (96%) of the children. In May/June 2014, 18 month measures were taken on 626/658 (95%) of children. All children were then tracked to their secondary school and in Oct/Nov 2014, 24 month measures were taken from 616/658 (94%) of children. The total number of children lost to follow up in cohort 1 is 37 (96%).
The second set of 16 schools (cohort 2) entered the study in September 2013 and baseline measures were taken on 657/666 (98.6%) of children from all 16 schools. The eight schools in this cohort that had been randomised to receive HeLP or act as controls were revealed to the trial team following baseline measures. Delivery of the intervention in the 8 cohort 2 schools was completed in Nov 2014. Immediately following the end of the intervention, the 12 month measure (My Lifestyle Questionnaire) was collected on 647/666 (97%) of the children. 18 month measures will be taken in May/June 2015. To date the loss to follow up in cohort 2 is 13 children (1.2%).
The trial of the Healthy Lifestyles Programme has now come to an end and the team is in the process of analysing all of the data and writing up the results. The results have been shared with the schools, children and families involved in the trial and, once the team has officially released the results, a summary and a link to the document will be available here.