How can we encourage adolescents to sit less and move more? Developing and feasibility testing a school-based intervention to reduce sedentary behaviour


   Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

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  Dr Maria O'Kane  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Levels of sedentary behaviour have increased over the last decade and are thought to be due to an increased use of computers, smartphones, and social media. High levels of sedentary behaviour among adolescents is a public health concern as sedentary behaviour is associated with obesity, reduced fitness, low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. It is estimated that adolescents are sedentary for approximately 70% of the school day and as children get older, sedentary time increases by 21min/day each year.

Schools are an excellent setting for health promotion as children spend 40% of their waking day at school, virtually all children attend, and often schools have the space, resources, and staff to deliver health promotion initiatives. To address concerning levels of sedentary behaviour effective, school-based interventions are required.

In addition to a systematic review of existing interventions, the current PhD project will consist of three distinct yet complementary studies:

Study 1: Understanding the factors affecting sedentary behaviour of adolescents: a mixed-methods evaluation.

The PhD researcher will measure levels of sedentary behaviour among post-primary pupils and discuss the perceptions, barriers, and strategies to reduce school-time sedentary behaviour.

Study 2: Do schools have a role to play in reducing sedentary behaviour? Stakeholder engagement and insights. 

This study aims to engage with key staff within school communities to understand the barriers towards reducing sedentary behaviour across the school day.

Study 3: Development and feasibility testing of a school-based intervention to reduce sedentary behaviour among post-primary school pupils.

Based on the findings from the review and studies 1 and 2, the PhD researcher will develop, and feasibility test a novel intervention for post-primary school pupils.

Young people account for almost a quarter of the world’s population and reducing sedentary behaviour has the potential to deliver health benefits and improvements to the lives of thousands of children

Medicine (26) Nursing & Health (27)

References

Levels of sedentary behaviour have increased over the last decade and are thought to be due to an increased use of computers, smartphones, and social media. High levels of sedentary behaviour among adolescents is a public health concern as sedentary behaviour is associated with obesity, reduced fitness, low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. It is estimated that adolescents are sedentary for approximately 70% of the school day and as children get older, sedentary time increases by 21min/day each year.
Schools are an excellent setting for health promotion as children spend 40% of their waking day at school, virtually all children attend, and often schools have the space, resources, and staff to deliver health promotion initiatives. To address concerning levels of sedentary behaviour effective, school-based interventions are required.
In addition to a systematic review of existing interventions, the current PhD project will consist of three distinct yet complementary studies:
Study 1: Understanding the factors affecting sedentary behaviour of adolescents: a mixed-methods evaluation.
The PhD researcher will measure levels of sedentary behaviour among post-primary pupils and discuss the perceptions, barriers, and strategies to reduce school-time sedentary behaviour.
Study 2: Do schools have a role to play in reducing sedentary behaviour? Stakeholder engagement and insights.
This study aims to engage with key staff within school communities to understand the barriers towards reducing sedentary behaviour across the school day.
Study 3: Development and feasibility testing of a school-based intervention to reduce sedentary behaviour among post-primary school pupils.
Based on the findings from the review and studies 1 and 2, the PhD researcher will develop, and feasibility test a novel intervention for post-primary school pupils.
Young people account for almost a quarter of the world’s population and reducing sedentary behaviour has the potential to deliver health benefits and improvements to the lives of thousands of children
Further recommended reading:
1. Van Sluijs EMF, Ekelund U, Crochemore-Silva I, Guthold R, Ha A, Lubans D, et al. Physical activity behaviours in adolescence: current evidence and opportunities for intervention. Lancet. 2021; 398, 429-442.
2. Parrish AM, Okely AD, Salmon J, Trost S, Hammersley M, Murdoch A. Making ‘being less sedentary feel normal’ – investigating ways to reduce adolescent sedentary behaviour at school: a qualitative study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2023; 20:85.

 About the Project