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Clustered randomised controlled trial of two education interventions designed to increase physical activity and well-being of secondary school students: the MOVE Project
  1. Peter B Tymms1,
  2. Sarah E Curtis2,
  3. Ash C Routen3,
  4. Katie H Thomson2,
  5. David S Bolden1,
  6. Susan Bock4,
  7. Christine E Dunn2,
  8. Ashley R Cooper5,6,
  9. Julian G Elliott1,
  10. Helen J Moore7,
  11. Carolyn D Summerbell7,
  12. Paul A Tiffin7,
  13. Adetayo S Kasim8
  1. 1School of Education, University of Durham, Durham, UK
  2. 2Department of Geography, University of Durham, Durham, UK
  3. 3National Centre for Sport & Exercise Medicine (NCSEM), School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
  4. 4School of Applied Social Sciences, University of Durham, Durham, UK
  5. 5Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  6. 6National Institute for Health Research, Bristol Biomedical Research Unit in Nutrition, Diet and Lifestyle, Bristol, UK
  7. 7School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, University of Durham, Durham, UK
  8. 8Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing, University of Durham, Stockton-on-Tees, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Peter Tymms; p.b.tymms{at}


Objective To assess the effectiveness of 2 interventions in improving the physical activity and well-being of secondary school children.

Design A clustered randomised controlled trial; classes, 1 per school, were assigned to 1 of 3 intervention arms or a control group based on a 2×2 factorial design. The interventions were peer-mentoring and participative learning. Year 7 children (aged 11–12) in the peer-mentoring intervention were paired with year 9 children for 6 weekly mentoring meetings. Year 7 children in the participative learning arm took part in 6 weekly geography lessons using personalised physical activity and Global Positioning System (GPS) data. Year 7 children in the combined intervention received both interventions, with the year 9 children only participating in the mentoring sessions.

Participants 1494 year 7 students from 60 schools in the North of England took part in the trial. Of these, 43 students opted out of taking part in the evaluation measurements, 2 moved teaching group and 58 changed school. Valid accelerometry outcome data were collected for 892 students from 53 schools; and well-being outcome data were available for 927 students from 52 schools.

Main outcome measures The primary outcomes were mean minutes of accelerometer-measured moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity per day, and well-being as evaluated by the KIDSCREEN-27 questionnaire. These data were collected 6 weeks after the intervention; a 12-month follow-up is planned.

Results No significant effects (main or interaction) were observed for the outcomes. However, small positive differences were found for both outcomes for the participative learning intervention.

Conclusions These findings suggest that the 2 school-based interventions did not modify levels of physical activity or well-being within the period monitored. Change in physical activity may require more comprehensive individual behavioural intervention, and/or more system-based efforts to address wider environmental influences such as family, peers, physical environment, transport and educational policy.

Trial registration number ISRCTN82956355.


This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See:

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