Table 2

Sociocultural targeting strategies used in the NEAT and ATLAS cluster RCT

Programme componentsSocio-cultural targeting strategies to engage adolescent girls and boys
  • Presentation of programme to students from same-sex role model (ie, delivered by PE or non-PE teacher) (NEAT/ATLAS).

  • Recruitment flyer depicts adolescent males performing exercises and targets valued outcomes for boys (eg, “Boys, would you like to work out with your mates and become fitter, stronger and more active?”) (ATLAS).

  • Recruitment flyer depicts adolescent females performing exercises and targets valued outcomes for girls (eg, “Girls, do you want to improve your health and fitness and have fun with your friends in a supportive environment?”) (NEAT).

  • Focused on resistance training to develop strength and fitness in a male-only environment (ATLAS).

  • Focus on enjoyable and non-competitive lifelong activities (eg, Yoga) in a female-only environment (NEAT).

  • Programme logo depicts same-sex individuals performing exercises (NEAT/ATLAS).

  • Branding of programme components to engage participants (eg, GymFit is the resistance training component and is branded to engage girls. Yoga and Pilates style exercise is branded as CoreFit to engage boys) (NEAT/ATLAS).

  • Programme resources (eg, circuit cards, smartphone app) include images of same-sex role model (NEAT/ATLAS).

  • Separate smartphone apps for boys and girls with same functionality but different colour scheme (NEAT/ATLAS).

  • Names of the predesigned workouts designed to appeal to girls (e.g., ‘Fit and Fabulous’) and boys (eg, ‘Annihilator’) (NEAT/ATLAS).

  • ‘Tailored’ emails sent via smartphone app target health behaviours specific to each sex. For example, video gaming for boys and social media use for girls. Messages use language identifying target group (eg, “Did u know that teenage girls should be active for 60 min each day to maintain good health?”) (NEAT/ATLAS).

  • Separate interactive seminars designed for girls and boys focusing on health behaviours common to each sex (eg, excessive video gaming for boys, skipping breakfast for girls), sex-specific barriers to physical activity participation (eg, beliefs that girls shouldn't get sweaty), and use of language identifying target group (eg, “Did you know that boys typically become less active as they get older”) (NEAT/ATLAS).

  • Delivered at school during scheduled PE or school sport period in single-sex groups (NEAT/ATLAS).

  • Use of smartphone apps for self-monitoring, goal setting, fitness and skill self-assessment (NEAT/ATLAS).

  • Focus on autonomy and self-direction in practical sessions (NEAT/ATLAS).

  • Same-sex teacher delivering programme to students (NEAT/ATLAS).

  • Professional learning for teachers includes information on how to adapt behavioural messages to be more relatable and meaningful for boys and girls by focusing on familiar behaviours and valued outcomes (NEAT/ATLAS).

  • Autonomy supportive strategies embedded within programme to allow boys and girls to select activities that appeal to them (NEAT/ATLAS).

  • Researcher observations and feedback to teachers to provide advice on how to increase the relevance and salience of behavioural messages to students and how to apply the SAAFE teaching principles (NEAT/ATLAS).

  • ATLAS, Active Teen Leaders Avoiding Screen-time; NEAT, Nutrition and Enjoyable Activity for Teens; NSW, New South Wales; PE, physical education; RCT, randomised controlled trial.