Current estimates place just under one quarter of adolescents in Australia as overweight or obese. Adolescence has been identified as a critical period for the development of obesity, yet despite this recognition, there is limited systematic research into or evaluation of interventions for overweight adolescents. Reviews have concluded that there is a substantive evidence gap for effective intervention, but physical activity, lifestyle change and family involvement have been identified as promising foci for treatment.
This paper reports on the development of a staggered-entry, waitlist controlled clinical trial to assess the impact of a multidisciplinary intervention aiming to change the poor health trajectory of overweight adolescents and help them avoid morbid obesity in adulthood—Curtin University’s Activity, Food and Attitudes Program (CAFAP). 96 adolescents, aged 11–16 years, and parents, will attend twice weekly during an 8 week intensive multidisciplinary program with maintenance follow-up focussed on improving activity, food and attitude habits. Follow-up assessments will be conducted immediately after completing the intensive program, and at 3, 6 and 12 months post intensive program. Main outcomes will be objectively-measured physical activity, sedentary behaviour and activity behaviours; food intake (measured by 3 day diary) and food behaviours; body composition, fitness and physical function; mental and social well-being (quality of life, mood and attitudes), and family functioning.
This trial will provide important information to understand whether a community based multidisciplinary intervention can have short and medium term effects on activity and food habits, attitudes, and physical and mental health status of overweight adolescents.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12611001187932.
Keywords: Adolescent, Obesity, Intervention, Self-determination theory, Physical activity, Dietary intake, Attitudes