BACKGROUND: This study tests the feasibility of an innovative school-based program for obesity prevention among adolescent girls. New Moves was implemented as a multicomponent, girls-only, high-school physical education class.
METHODS: Six schools were equally randomized into intervention and control conditions. Data were collected at baseline, postintervention, and 8-month follow-up to assess program impact on physical activity, eating patterns, self-perceptions, and body mass index (BMI) among 89 girls in the intervention and 112 girls in the control conditions. Program evaluation also included interviews with school staff, parent surveys, and participant interviews and process evaluation surveys.
RESULTS: The feasibility of implementing New Moves was high, as indicated by strong satisfaction among participants, parents, and school staff, and by program sustainability. Participants perceived a positive program impact on their physical activity, eating patterns, and self-image. Girls in the intervention significantly progressed in their stage of behavioral change for physical activity from baseline to follow-up. However, for the majority of outcome variables, differences between intervention and control schools at postintervention and follow-up were not statistically significant.
CONCLUSIONS: New Moves was well received and fills a needed niche within school physical education programs. An expanded intervention and evaluation is needed to enhance and assess long-term program effectiveness.