01 April 2019- 31 March 2022
Aims of the project– This PhD project aims to investigate inequalities in adolescent physical activity behaviour and interventions, and is separated into two sections. The first section aims to understand if and why physical activity is socio-economically patterned during adolescence. The second explores the effectiveness of interventions among socio- economically deprived adolescents.
Background– The relationship between physical activity and health during and beyond adolescence is well established. Despite this, many young people are insufficiently active to accrue the health benefits. Active adolescents are more likely to become active and healthy adults. Therefore, preventing an activity decline during adolescence is a major public health priority. However, there is a scarcity of evidence addressing whether physical activity differs by socioeconomic position during adolescence and the equity of current interventions. Research in this area could help develop our understanding of why physical activity interventions during adolescence appear ineffective.
Scale of the issue-Physical inactivity during adolescence is a widespread and large-scale issue. Globally, physical activity levels are low with more than 80% of 13-15 year olds not meeting the 60-minute per day moderate-to-vigorous physical activity guidelines. This is reflective of physical inactivity nationally, 21% of boys and 16% of girlsmeet minimum physical activity recommendations for their health.
Design and methods– The PhD applies a mixed-methods research design, where the most appropriate research design to answer the research questions of interest has been selected for each sub-project.
Public involvement– Do date, a young person’s board has been involved in the design of participant facing material and recruitment methods. Going forward, we will involve young people and other key stakeholders in the development of methods to communicate our research findings.
Dissemination– The research findings will be disseminated through a variety of methods. The findings will be communicated to the scientific community via publication in peer-reviewed journals, social media platforms such as twitter and through press releases. Whilst it is hoped these methods will reach beyond the scientific community, further action will be taken to engage with key stakeholders including policymakers and members of the public. To achieve this, our unit’s communications team will be consulted on appropriate dissemination methods.
Research from this project aims to inform on the development of effective and equitable physical activity interventions targeting adolescents. The result of this project will help guide future public health practice in school and community settings. This research will be beneficial to those developing and delivering interventions in relation to effectiveness and cost effectiveness.
By understating how adolescent physical activity behaviour may differ by socioeconomic position and the equity effect of current interventions, we can help more young people become active.