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Not Applicable
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
A lack of physical activity among young people can result in them becoming obese, developing mental health problems and suffering from poor bone development. Children tend to exercise less as they become adolescents and remain physically inactive once they become an adult. This makes them more at risk of developing long-term health problems including diabetes and cancer. GoActive! stands for Get Others Active and is designed to increase physical activity in young people, aged 13 to 14 (Year 9). It has been designed to include all students and be particularly appealing to students who do not do a lot of exercise, are shy and are not happy with their relationship with others at school. We want to see if GoActive! helps to increase physical activity of year 9 students when in the school environment. This study has two phases. The pilot phase tests to see if GoActive! can be run successfully in a small number of schools and whether its effective in helping students to become more physically active. The main randomised controlled trial expands the study to include 16 schools in total.

Who can participate?
Selected schools in Cambridgeshire.

What does the study involve?
Schools are randomly allocated to one of two groups: the intervention group or the control group. Year 9 students in the intervention schools have the opportunity to engage in GoActive!” during the study period. Year 9 students in the control school have no changes to their normal school day during the study period, but their school will have the opportunity to receive the GoActive! programme materials and training once the study period has ended. For the pilot study, there are two schools in the intervention group and one school in the control group. For the main randomised controlled trial, there are 8 schools in the intervention group and 8 schools in the control group. We assess students three times: before the programme starts, during the programme when schools have our help to run it, and when schools are running the programme without our help. Measurements include physical activity measured using a waist worn device similar to a pedometer, height, weight, body fat percentage and questionnaires about physical activity, social support, friendship quality and mood. We also examine programme participation rates, acceptability and delivery cost, as well as student attendance and academic performance.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Students who take part in the study receive a small gift in appreciation of taking part: A GoActive! pen after the baseline (first) measurement session and a choice of sports-related gift (sports water bottle/drawstring bag/T-shirt) after the second measurement session. In our experience, participation in research of this type can be an interesting and valuable educational experience for young people. We are happy to talk about or present any aspect of our work to small groups, classes or in school assemblies. Schools receive £200 worth of PE/sports equipment vouchers as a thank you’ for taking part in the study. This is a very low risk study employing non-intrusive measures of height, weight, body composition and free-living (everyday) physical activity. The GoActive! programme encourages participation in new types of physical activity. Participating in new types of physical activity brings with it a small risk of injury. We aim to reduce this risk by providing safety information for students and their teachers on all suggested activities.

Where is the study run from?
The study is run from the CEDAR hub. CEDAR is a UKCRC Public Health Centre of Excellence and the CEDAR hub is located within the MRC Epidemiology Unit on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (UK).

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
September 2013 to February 2019

Who is funding the study?
University of Cambridge (UK) - UK CRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR)

Who is the main contact?
Dr Kirsten Corder

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Kirsten Corder


Contact details

UK CRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR)
MRC Epidemiology Unit
University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine
Box 285 Institute of Metabolic Science
Cambridge Biomedical Campus
United Kingdom

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

A cluster randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the GoActive! programme to increase physical activity among 13-14 year-old adolescents



Study hypothesis

We hypothesize that participation in the “GoActive” programme (intervention) will result in increased daily physical activity. Our null hypothesis is that participation in “GoActive” will result in no change to physical activity levels.

Ethics approval

University of Cambridge Psychology Research Ethics Committee; 22/04/2013, ref Pre.2013.40

Study design

Pilot study and randomised controlled trial

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type

Quality of life

Patient information sheet

Our ‘infovites’ for schools, parents, students and mentors will be available on our website:


Public health, healthy participants, physical activity


GoActive is implemented using a tiered-leadership system where mentors (older adolescents within the school) and peer-leaders (within each class) encourage students to try these activities each week. The mentors remain paired with each class for the duration of the programme whereas the peer-leaders (two per class each week) change every week. Teachers are encouraged to use one tutor time weekly to do one of the chosen activities as a class, however, students gain points for trying these new activities in or out of school. Points are gained every time they try an activity; there is no expectation of time spent in the activity as points are rewarded for the taking part itself. Individual students keep track of their own points privately on the study website and their points are entered into the between-class competition so that each class competes against each other. Class rankings are circulated each week to encourage teacher support and students receive small rewards (e.g. frisbee, water bottle) for reaching points thresholds.

School level randomisation with individual participants as the unit of analysis; eight schools randomised to the intervention group and eight schools randomised to the control group. An independent statistician will conduct randomisation after completion of the baseline measurement sessions. The control schools will not run the GoActive programme during the study period but students will participate in PE lessons as per the usual school curriculum.

Intervention type



Drug names

Primary outcome measures

1. Pilot study:
Objectively measured free-living moderate and vigorous physical activity measured at baseline and week 4-8 of the programme

2. Randomised controlled trial:
Accelerometry-assessed change in average daily MVPA. Measurements will be conducted at four time points; (T1) baseline, pre-randomisation (T2) interim assessment (week 6), (T3) post intervention (week 14-16), and (T4) 10-month follow-up (primary outcome

Secondary outcome measures

1. Pilot study:
1.1. Body mass index (BMI)
1.2. Body fat percentage
1.3. Other objectively measured physical activity intensities
1.4. Self-reported physical activity
1.5. Self-efficacy for physical activity
1.6. Peer and parental support for physical activity
All measured at baseline and week 4-8 of the programme.

2. Randomised controlled trial:
2.1. Accelerometer-assessed sedentary, light, overall physical activity during school time, weekday evenings, weekends
2.2. Self-reported physical activity, self-efficacy, self-esteem, peer support, friendship quality, mood, school-reported absence and academic performance, body fat %, BMI
2.3. Within-trial, long term cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analyses
2.4. Mixed methods process evaluation assessing programme acceptability, uptake, maintenance, and dose; and putative moderators/mediators

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned


Participant inclusion criteria

All Year 9 students at participating secondary schools are eligible for inclusion into this study.

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants

Approximately 600 for pilot study, 2400 for randomised controlled trial

Participant exclusion criteria

There are no formal exclusion criteria for the GoActive study.
1. Language support will be sought for any student/parent who is not fluent in the English language
2. In the unlikely case that a student or parent lacks the capacity to give fully informed consent they will not be included in the study

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

UK CRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR)
United Kingdom

Sponsor information


University of Cambridge (UK)

Sponsor details

c/o Mrs Carolyn Read
University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine
Box 111 Cambridge Biomedical Campus
United Kingdom

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

University of Cambridge - UK CRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

We will publish the trial protocol online rather than as a protocol paper. In addition to the final report, we anticipate that at least six peer reviewed publications will be published as a result of this project. We aim for the main outcome paper to be submitted in October 2018. We will also produce Evidence Briefs, which will be developed with stakeholder feedback and are an effective way of disseminating key information to practitioners and policymakers. We anticipate that the final one will be disseminated February 2019.

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Results - basic reporting

Publication summary

2015 results in:

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes

20/05/2016: Publication reference added.