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Recent evidence predicts that by 2030, Ireland will have the highest rate of obesity in Europe. Consequently, there are concerns that health problems associated with this condition will present in childhood. Studies have shown that interventions based on increasing physical activity (PA) levels, reducing sedentary lifestyles and improving nutritional habits all pose protective mechanisms against obesity and its related disorders in youth. Yet, to date, there are no interventions being delivered in Ireland that concurrently target PA, nutritional habits and sedentary time amongst school children.
The purpose of this study is to implement and evaluate an intervention that targets PA, nutritional habits and sedentary time in primary school children.
‘Project Spraoi’ is a school based health promotion intervention, based on ‘Project Energize,’ which has been in operation in New Zealand since 2004. Measures of PA, nutritional knowledge/behaviours and health parameters including body composition, blood pressure (BP) and fitness will be gathered before and after the programme completion (24 months). For comparative purposes, we will compare these scores to a separate group who will not participate in the intervention and to counterparts partaking in Project Energize, NZ.
There is strong evidence that quality multi-component school-based programmes can increase PA, improve weight status and promote healthier dietary habits. Due to the increasing obesity levels, the implementation of such a programme that is rigorously evaluated is warranted in Ireland.
Coppinger, T., Lacey, S., O'Neill, C. and Burns, C. Coppinger, T. et al. (2016) "‘Project Spraoi’: A randomized control trial to improve nutrition and physical activity in school children", Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, 3, pp. 94-101. doi: 10.1016/j.conctc.2016.04.007
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