Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2018 Jun 7;15(1):50.
doi: 10.1186/s12966-018-0682-4.

Results of a Feasibility Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial of a Peer-Led School-Based Intervention to Increase the Physical Activity of Adolescent Girls (PLAN-A)

Free PMC article
Randomized Controlled Trial

Results of a Feasibility Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial of a Peer-Led School-Based Intervention to Increase the Physical Activity of Adolescent Girls (PLAN-A)

Simon J Sebire et al. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. .
Free PMC article


Background: Most adolescent girls in the UK do not meet government physical activity recommendations and effective interventions are needed. This study reports the results of a feasibility trial of PLAN-A, a novel school-based peer-led physical activity intervention for adolescent girls.

Methods: A two-arm cluster randomised controlled feasibility study was conducted in six English secondary schools (4 intervention & 2 control). Year 8 (age 12-13) girls were eligible and randomisation was at school-level. The intervention involved training Year 8 girls (out of school for two consecutive days, plus one top-up day 5 weeks later), who were identified by their peers as influential, to provide informal support to their friends to increase their physical activity. Feasibility of the intervention and the research was examined, including: recruitment, training attendance and data provision rates, evidence of promise of the intervention to affect weekday moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), intervention cost and estimation of the sample size for a definitive trial. Accelerometer and questionnaire data were collected at the beginning of Year 8 (Time 0), the end of Year 8 (10-weeks after peer-supporter training) and the beginning of Year 9 (Time 2).

Results: Four hundred twenty-seven girls were recruited (95% recruitment rate). 55 girls consented to be a peer-supporter and 53 peer-supporters were trained (97% of those invited). Accelerometer return rates exceeded 85% at each time point and wear time criteria was met by 83%, 71% and 62% participants at Time 0, 1 and 2 respectively. Questionnaire data were provided by >91% of participants at each time point. Complete-case adjusted linear regression analysis showed evidence of a 6.09 minute (95% CI = 1.43, 10.76) between-arms difference in weekday MVPA at Time 2 in favour of the intervention arm. On average PLAN-A cost £2685 per school to deliver (£37 per Year 8 girl). There were no adverse events. A trial involving 20 schools would be adequately powered to detect a between-arms difference in weekday MVPA of at least six minutes.

Conclusions: The PLAN-A intervention adopts a novel peer-led approach, is feasible, and shows evidence of promise to positively affect girls' physical activity levels. A definitive trial is warranted.

Trial registration: ISCTRN, ISRCTN12543546, Registered on 28/7/2015, URL of registry record:

Keywords: Adolescent girls; Intervention; Peers; Physical activity; School.

Conflict of interest statement

Consent for publication

Consent to include anonymised information in publications was given by all participants.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Trial profile for the PLAN-A study (based on CONSORT 2010 flow diagram). a Returned at T2, b Took part in T2, c Present at T2

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 11 articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Janssen I, LeBlanc AG. Systematic review of the health benefits of physical activity and fitness in school-aged children and youth. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2010;7:40. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-7-40. - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Strong WB, et al. Evidence based physical activity for school-age youth. J Pediatr. 2005;146(6):732–737. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2005.01.055. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Ekelund U, et al. Moderate to vigorous physical activity and sedentary time and cardiometabolic risk factors in children and adolescents. JAMA. 2012;307(7):704–712. doi: 10.1001/jama.2012.156. - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Department of Health, Start Active, Stay Active: A report on physical activity from the four home countries’ Chief Medical Officers. 2011.
    1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. 2008: Hyattsville, MD.

Publication types

Associated data