Publication Details

Lubans, D. R., Morgan, P. J., Okely, A. D., Dewar, D., Collins, C. E., Batterham, M., Callister, R. & Plotnikoff, R. C. (2012). Preventing obesity among adolescent girls: One-year outcomes of the nutrition and enjoyable activity for teen girls (NEAT Girls) cluster randomized controlled trial. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 166 (9), 821-827.


Objective: To evaluate the impact of a 12-month multicomponent school-based obesity prevention program, Nutrition and Enjoyable Activity for Teen Girls among adolescent girls. Design: Group randomized controlled trial with 12-month follow-up. Setting: Twelve secondary schools in low-income communities in the Hunter and Central Coast regions of New South Wales, Australia. Participants: Three hundred fifty-seven adolescent girls aged 12 to 14 years. Intervention: A multicomponent school-based intervention program tailored for adolescent girls. The intervention was based on social cognitive theory and included teacher professional development, enhanced school sport sessions, interactive seminars, nutrition workshops, lunch-time physical activity sessions, handbooks and pedometers for self-monitoring, parent newsletters, and text messaging for social support. Main Outcome Measures: Body mass index (BMI, calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared), BMI z score, body fat percentage, physical activity, screen time, dietary intake, and self-esteem. Results: After 12 months, changes in BMI (adjusted mean difference, -0.19;95%CI, -0.70 to 0.33), BMI z score (mean, -0.08; 95% CI, -0.20 to 0.04), and body fat percentage (mean, -1.09; 95% CI, -2.88 to 0.70) were in favor of the intervention, but they were not statistically different from those in the control group. Changes in screen time were statistically significant (mean, -30.67 min/d;95%CI, -62.43 to -1.06), but there were no group by time effects for physical activity, dietary behavior, or self-esteem. Conclusions: A school-based intervention tailored for adolescent girls from schools located in low-income communities did not significantly reduce BMI gain. However, changes in body composition were of a magnitude similar to previous studies and may be associated with clinically important health outcomes.

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