The encouragement of healthy lifestyles for obesity prevention in young people is a public health priority. The European Youth Tackling Obesity (EYTO) project is a multicentric intervention project with participation from the United Kingdom, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Spain. The general aim of the EYTO project is to improve lifestyles, including nutritional habits and physical activity practice, and to prevent obesity in socioeconomically disadvantaged and vulnerable adolescents. The EYTO project works through a peer-led social marketing intervention that is designed and implemented by the adolescents of each participating country. Each country involved in the project acts independently. This paper describes the "Som la Pera" intervention Spanish study that is part of the EYTO project.
In Spain, the research team performed a cluster randomised controlled intervention over 2 academic years (2013-2015) in which 2 high-schools were designated as the control group and 2 high-schools were designated as the intervention group, with a minimum of 121 schoolchildren per group. From the intervention group, 5 adolescents with leadership characteristics, called "Adolescent Challenge Creators" (ACCs), were recruited. These 5 ACCs received an initial 4 h training session about social marketing principles and healthy lifestyle theory, followed by 24 sessions (1.30 h/session) divided in two academic years to design and implement activities presented as challenges to encourage healthy lifestyles among their peers, the approximately 180-200 high-school students in the intervention group. During the design of the intervention, it was essential that the ACCs used the 8 social marketing criteria (customer orientation, behaviour, theory, insight, exchange, competition, segmentation and methods mix). The expected primary outcomes from the Spanish intervention will be as follows: increases in the consumption of fruits and vegetables and physical activity practice along with reductions in TV/computer/game console use. The secondary outcomes will be as follows: increased breakfast consumption, engagement with local recreation and reduced obesity prevalence. The outcomes will be measured by the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study (HBSC) survey at baseline and at the end of the intervention. In the control group, no intervention was implemented, but the outcome measurements were collected in parallel with the intervention group.
This study described a new methodology to improve lifestyles and to address adolescent obesity.
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02157402. Registered 03 June 2014.