The impact of a family-based physical activity promotion programme on child physical activity: feasibility and pilot of the Families Reporting Every Step to Health (FRESH) intervention.

Record ID 32016001081
Authors' objectives: PROJECT AIM This project aims to refine and pilot test the FRESH programme, developed to increase physical activity in 8-10 year old children and their families. BACKGROUND A low level of physical activity raises the risk of obesity, mental health problems and poor bone development. Children s physical activity levels are low and decline as they get older, particularly in rural areas. Youth physical activity declines mostly outside of school, yet physical activity promotion continues to use the school settings. Family-based physical activity promotion is potentially effective, but rarely targets the whole family. FRESH PROGRAMME FRESH (Families Reporting Every Step to Health) was developed with families. This web-based pedometer-based programme includes goal setting and rewards, and encourages family relations by getting families to be active together. Children (and their families) travel across the world virtually by accumulating activity throughout the week. They get rewards for achieving goals, and have access to a website to help them set goals, which also includes fun facts about the places they visit and other activity challenges. We will test a child-only and a whole-family version of the website, to explore whether family involvement helps to increase effectiveness. PROJECT DESIGN During the first phase, we will refine FRESH with families. We will recruit 20 families; 10 will trial the family intervention with the remaining 10 trialling the child-only version. Verbal and written feedback from families will help us to further develop the website and our measurement protocols. The second phase will be a pilot randomised controlled trial with 60 families (20 whole-family, 20 child-only, 20 no programme), in which we will test our recruitment and evaluation plans. We will compare the physical activity level of children (and their families) in the 3 different groups, using a waist-worn device similar to a pedometer. We will measure waist circumference, blood pressure, fitness and cognitive performance, and questionnaires will ask families about the types of activity they do together, family support and motivation, plus how they see their quality of life. We will measure the outcomes in all participating family members at project start, and 8 weeks and 1 year later. We will also review how many family members took part and how often, and whether they liked FRESH and how they would improve it. INVOLVING FAMILIES Involving the people who will be working with FRESH is important to the success of the project. Therefore, throughout the project, we will meet with parents, teachers, children, and other agency staff regularly working with families to get their input. These sessions will focus on making sure that this research will provide answers to the questions that matter and that the FRESH programme is attractive to families. Further contributions will focus on improving the study materials and identifying ways of recruiting families. GETTING THE WORD OUT The results of this project will form the basis for a larger evaluation. The final results will be presented to children in schools, parents, and teachers as well as those in local and national government. This will help to get the FRESH programme delivered to more families across the country. We will also present the work to other academics, through journal publications and presentation at conferences.
Project Status: Ongoing
Anticipated Publish Date: 2021
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: England, United Kingdom
MeSH Terms
  • Health Behavior
  • Child
  • Exercise
  • Family Health
  • Healthy Lifestyle
  • Parent-Child Relations
Organisation Name: NIHR Public Health Research programme
Contact Address: NIHR Journals Library, National Institute for Health and Care Research, Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, Alpha House, University of Southampton Science Park, Southampton SO16 7NS, UK
Contact Name:
Contact Email:
Copyright: Queen's Printer and Controller of HMSO
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.