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Scalable intervention to improve cardiovascular risks in primary school students

Hunter New England Local Health District & University of Newcastle

  • Cardiovascular Early-Mid Career Researcher Grant
Organ System:
  • Cardiovascular
Date Funded:
  • 22 May, 2020
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Associate Professor Luke Wolfenden

Project summary

Assessing the impact of a simple intervention to improve physical activity and cardio-respiratory fitness among primary schools students.

What is the issue for NSW?

To reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease on the community, it is recommended that governments invest in promoting physical activity in schools.

What does the research aim to do and how?

Associate Professor Wolfenden is a NHMRC Career Development Fellow / National Heart Foundation Future Leaders Fellow and Health Promotion Program Manager at the Hunter New England Local Health District. He is also the Director of the NHMCR Centre for Research Excellence in Implementation for Community Chronic Disease Prevention and serves as a Co-Director for the WHO Collaborating Centre for NCD Program Implementation.

His research seeks to reduce the burden of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease in the community through undertaking research to trial interventions to reduce modifiable cardiovascular disease risks, and trialling implementation strategies to increase their adoption in clinical and community settings. He has a particular interest in identifying low cost interventions that can rapidly be delivered at scale to reduce population levels cardiovascular disease risks.

As part of the NSW Cardiovascular Research Capacity Program funding, he will seek to test the impact of a simple intervention to improve physical activity and cardio-respiratory fitness among primary schools students, and in particular girls.
The aim of this study is to assess the effectiveness of an ‘activity supporting’ school uniform in reducing cardiovascular risks in children attending NSW primary schools. The study will recruit NSW primary schools who will either introduce an activity supporting school uniform, or to maintain their current traditional school uniform. In each group the team will assess student cardio-respiratory fitness, physical activity levels, and weight status. These measures will be assessed at baseline, six months and twelve month follow-up.

This research tests an intervention that has been purposefully selected on the basis that it is amenable to rapid spread (highly scalable). If effective, the intervention may represent a priority candidate for adoption across the Hunter New England Local Health District, and other jurisdictions to reduce cardiovascular disease risks. The research has been developed to address a specific need identified by local health services and will be undertaken in partnership with end-users.