Development of a Food Dudes Healthy Eating and Activity Programme for preschool children in nursery settings, and their families at home (Presentation)

Student: Sophie Mitchell
Company: Food Dudes Health Ltd
Academic Supervisor: Prof Pauline Horne & Dr Simon Viktor

The Development of a Multicomponent Behaviour Change Intervention to Increase Physical Activity in Primary School Children

Rising levels of obesity are a common problem in society today. In 2012/13, according to national statistics, 9.3% of Reception aged children were classed as obese and this is comparable to a proportion of 18.9% of children in Year 6. National recommendations for physical activity for children in the UK suggest that 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity is required daily. However, according to statistics in England only 32% of boys and 24% of girls are meeting these requirements.

My project is in collaboration with Food Dudes Health Ltd, who already have an award winning Healthy Eating Intervention and are now keen to develop a physical activity intervention to tackle the ongoing issue of obesity.

The first aspect of my project was to test the reliability, validity and feasibility of measures that are commonly used in the literature to measure health and physical activity. This study involved testing: the Fitbit Flex, the 20-Metre Shuttle Run Test and taking height, weight and waist circumference. The measures were taken twice over a two-week period and then all measures were compared between the two time points.

The next stage of my project is to develop four exercise videos to be used in the final study.

These exercise videos are one component of the behavior change intervention that is being developed. The four videos will be based on four characters that each have a signature skill, these include: football, dance, martial arts and gymnastics. Each video will include a sequence of four movements and children will be able to level up depending on how many times they can complete the sequence. The children starring in the exercise videos are being recruited from local schools.

In the final study, four schools will be recruited, two will receive the intervention and the two will act as matched controls. We will take measures in a stratified manner over three times points, baseline, post intervention and follow up. The measures include; blood pressure, the 20-Metre Shuttle Run Test and the use of the Fitbits. We will then ask the intervention schools to play the DVD in every class once a day for 16 days and get the children to copy the exercises they see in the DVD.

The children will also self-monitor and record in an activity book the level they reach each day and receive social praise from teachers and peers. The control school will continue as they normally would. We will then repeat the measures at post intervention and again at follow up after the children return from summer break. We expect to find an increase in activity recorded by Fitbits, a decrease in blood pressure and possibly a decrease in waist circumference at follow up. However, we are not expecting to find a change in BMI because of the short time period of the study.