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Action Schools! BC implementation: from efficacy to effectiveness to scale-up
  1. Heather A McKay1,2,3,
  2. Heather M Macdonald1,3,4,
  3. Lindsay Nettlefold3,
  4. Louise C Masse4,5,
  5. Meghan Day6,
  6. Patti-Jean Naylor7
  1. 1Department of Orthopaedics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  2. 2Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  3. 3Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  4. 4Child and Family Research Institute, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  5. 5School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  6. 6Population and Public Health, British Columbia Ministry of Health, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  7. 7School of Exercise Science, Physical & Health Education, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Professor Heather A McKay, Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, 798-2635 Laurel Street, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9; heather.mckay{at}


Objectives To describe Action Schools! BC (AS! BC) from efficacy to scale-up.

Participants/setting Education and health system stakeholders and children in grades 4–6 from elementary schools in British Columbia, Canada.

Intervention At the provincial level, the AS! BC model reflected socioecological theory and a partnership approach to social change. Knowledge translation and exchange were embedded as a foundational element. At the school level, AS! BC is a comprehensive school health-based model providing teachers and schools with training and resources to integrate physical activity (PA) and healthy eating (HE) into the school environment. Our research team partnered with key community and government stakeholders to deliver and evaluate AS! BC over efficacy, effectiveness and implementation trials.

Results On the basis of significant increases in PA, cardiovascular fitness, bone and HE in AS! BC schools during efficacy trials, the BC government supported a provincial scale-up. Since its inception, the AS! BC Support Team and >225 trained regional trainers have delivered 4677 teacher-focused workshops (training approximately 81 000 teachers), reaching approximately 500 000 students. After scale-up, PA delivery was replicated but the magnitude of change appeared less. One (HE) and 4 (PA) years after scale-up, trained AS! BC teachers provided more PA and HE opportunities for students even in the context of supportive provincial policies.

Conclusions Whole school models like AS! BC can enhance children's PA and health when implemented in partnership with key stakeholders. At the school level, adequately trained and resourced teachers and supportive school policies promoted successful scale-up and sustained implementation. At the provincial level, multisectoral partnerships and embedded knowledge exchange mechanisms influenced the context for action at the provincial and school level, and were core elements of successful implementation.

Trial registration number Clinical Trials Registry NCT01412203.

  • Children
  • Health promotion
  • Implementation
  • Intervention
  • School

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