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Protocol for developing a core outcome set for evaluating school-based physical activity interventions in primary schools
  1. Kimberley A Foley1,
  2. Tishya Venkatraman1,
  3. Bina Ram1,
  4. Louisa Ells2,
  5. Esther van Sluijs3,
  6. Dougal S Hargreaves1,
  7. Felix Greaves1,4,
  8. Mansour Taghavi Azar Sharabiani1,
  9. Russell M Viner5,
  10. Alex Bottle1,
  11. Sonia Saxena1
  1. 1Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK
  2. 2Centre for Public Health Research, Teesside University, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, UK
  3. 3MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  4. 4Science and Strategic Information, Public Health England, London, UK
  5. 5Population, Policy and Practice Research Programme, UCL Institute of Child Health, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Sonia Saxena; s.saxena{at}


Introduction Primary school-based physical activity interventions, such as The Daily Mile initiative, have the potential to increase children’s physical activity levels over time, which is associated with a variety of health benefits. Comparing interventions or combining results of several studies of a single intervention is challenging because previous studies have examined different outcomes or used different measures that are not feasible or relevant for researchers in school settings. The development and implementation of a core outcome set (COS) for primary school-based physical activity interventions would ensure outcomes important to those involved in implementing and evaluating interventions are standardised.

Methods and analysis Our aim is to develop a COS for studies of school-based physical activity interventions. We will achieve this by undertaking a four-stage process:(1) identify a list of outcomes assessed in studies through a systematic review of international literature; (2) establish domains from these outcomes to produce questionnaire items; (3) prioritise outcomes through a two-stage Delphi survey with four key stakeholder groups (researchers, public health professionals, educators and parents), where stakeholders rate the importance of each outcome on a 9-point Likert scale (consensus that the outcomes should be included in the COS will be determined as 70% or more of all stakeholders scoring the outcome 7%–9% and 15% or less scoring 1 to 3); (4) achieve consensus on a final COS in face-to-face meetings with a sample of stakeholders and primary school children.

Ethics and dissemination We have received ethical approval from Imperial College London (ref: 19IC5428). The results of this study will be disseminated via conference presentations/public health meetings, peer-reviewed publications and through appropriate media channels.

Trial registration number Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials Initiative (COMET) number: 1322.

  • core outcomes set
  • consensus methods
  • delphi technique
  • physical activity interventions
  • primary schools

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  • Twitter @DrAlexBottle, @SoniaKSaxena

  • Contributors KAF, SS and TV conceived and designed this study with input from BR, LJE, EvS, DSH, FG, MTAS, RMV and AB. KAF drafted the article with critical revision provided by SS, BR, LJE, EvS, DSH, FG and MTAS. All authors approved the final version.

  • Funding SS is funded by the National Institute for Health Research School for Public Health Research (NIHR SPHR) and the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC). KAF and BR are funded by ‘The Daily Mile Foundation’ supported by INEOS.TV is funded by an NIHR SPHR PhD Studentship. The NIHR School for Public Health Research is a partnership between the Universities of Sheffield; Bristol; Cambridge; Imperial; and University College London; The London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM); LiLaC – a collaboration between the Universities of Liverpool and Lancaster; and Fuse - The Centre for Translational Research in Public Health a collaboration between Newcastle, Durham, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside Universities. EvS is supported by the Medical Research Council (MRC) (Grant MC_UU_12015/7).

  • Competing interests SS, BR and KF have received funding from 'The Daily MIle Foundation' supported by INEOS.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval This study has received ethics approval from the Imperial College Research Ethics Committee (reference: 19IC5428).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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