Reflections on physical activity intervention research in young people - dos, don'ts, and critical thoughts.

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van Sluijs, Esther MF 
Kriemler, Susi 

BACKGROUND: Physical activity has been associated with many benefits throughout the life course. As levels of physical activity appear to be insufficient in large populations, the development of effective interventions to promote or maintain activity levels in young people are therefore of key public health concern. Physical activity intervention research in young people is challenging, but this should not be a reason to continue conducting inferior quality evaluations. This paper highlights some of the key issues that require more careful and consistent consideration to enable future research to achieve meaningful impact. DISCUSSION: This paper critically evaluates, amongst others, current research practice regarding intervention development, targeting, active involvement of the target population, challenge of recruitment and retention, measurement and evaluation protocols, long-term follow-up, economic evaluation, process evaluation, and publication. It argues that funders and researchers should collaborate to ensure high quality long-term evaluations are prioritised and that a trial's success should be defined by its quality, not its achieved effect. The conduct and publication of well-designed evaluations of well-defined interventions is crucial to advance the field of youth physical activity promotion and make us better understand which intervention strategies may or may not work, why, and for whom.

Adolescent, Adolescent Behavior, Exercise, Health Promotion, Humans, Research
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Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act
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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Economic and Social Research Council (ES/G007462/1)
Medical Research Council (MR/K023187/1)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12015/7)
Wellcome Trust (087636/Z/08/Z)
This work was supported by the Medical Research Council [Unit Programme number MC_UU_12015/7] and the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), a UKCRC Public Health Research: Centre of Excellence (RES-590-28-0002). Funding from the British Heart Foundation, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research, and the Wellcome Trust, under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, is gratefully acknowledged.