Supporting adolescents' participation in muscle-strengthening physical activity: protocol for the 'Resistance Training for Teens' (RT4T) hybrid type III implementation-effectiveness trial
INTRODUCTION: In Australia, only 22% of male and 8% of female adolescents meet the muscle-strengthening physical activity guidelines, and few school-based interventions support participation in resistance training (RT). After promising findings from our effectiveness trial, we conducted a state-wide dissemination of the 'Resistance Training for Teens' (RT4T) intervention from 2015 to 2020. Despite high estimated reach, we found considerable variability in programme delivery and teachers reported numerous barriers to implementation. Supporting schools when they first adopt evidence-based programmes may strengthen programme fidelity, sustainability, and by extension, programme impact. However, the most effective implementation support model for RT4T is unclear. OBJECTIVE: To compare the effects of three implementation support models on the reach (primary outcome), dose delivered, fidelity, sustainability, impact and cost of RT4T. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We will conduct a hybrid type III implementation-effectiveness trial involving grade 9 and 10 (aged 14-16 years) students from 90 secondary schools in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Schools will be recruited across one cohort in 2023, stratified by school type, socioeconomic status and location, and randomised in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive one of the following levels of implementation support: (1) 'low' (training and resources), (2) 'moderate' (training and resources+external support) or 'high' (training and resources+external support+equipment). Training includes a teacher workshop related to RT4T programme content (theory and practical sessions) and the related resources. Additional support will be provided by trained project officers from five local health districts. Equipment will consist of a pack of semiportable RT equipment (ie, weighted bars, dumbbells, resistance bands and inverted pull up bar stands) valued at ~$A1000 per school. Study outcomes will be assessed at baseline (T0), 6 months (T1) and 18 months (T2). A range of quantitative (teacher logs, observations and teacher surveys) and qualitative (semistructured interviews with teachers) methods will be used to assess primary (reach) and secondary outcomes (dose delivered, fidelity, sustainability, impact and cost of RT4T). Quantitative analyses will use logistic mixed models for dichotomous outcomes, and ordinal or linear mixed effects regression models for continuous outcomes, with alpha levels set at p<0.025 for the outcomes and cost comparisons of the moderate and high support arms against the low support arm. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics approval has been obtained from the University of Newcastle (H-2021-0418), the NSW Department of Education (SERAP:2022215), Hunter New England Human Research Ethics Committee (2023/ETH00052) and the Catholic Schools Office. The design, conduct and reporting will adhere to the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials statement, the Standards for Reporting Implementation Studies statement and the Template for Intervention Description and Replication checklist. Findings will be published in open access peer-reviewed journals, key stakeholders will be provided with a detailed report. We will support ongoing dissemination of RT4T in Australian schools via professional learning for teachers. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ACTRN12622000861752.
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