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An internet-supported school physical activity intervention in low socioeconomic status communities: results from the Activity and Motivation in Physical Education (AMPED) cluster randomised controlled trial
  1. Chris Lonsdale1,
  2. Aidan Lester1,
  3. Katherine B Owen1,
  4. Rhiannon L White1,
  5. Louisa Peralta2,
  6. Morwenna Kirwan3,
  7. Thierno M O Diallo1,
  8. Anthony J Maeder4,
  9. Andrew Bennie5,
  10. Freya MacMillan5,6,
  11. Gregory S Kolt6,
  12. Nikos Ntoumanis7,
  13. Jennifer M Gore8,
  14. Ester Cerin9,10,
  15. Dylan P Cliff11,
  16. David R Lubans12
  1. 1 Institute for Positive Psychology and Education, Australian Catholic University, Strathfield, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2 School of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3 Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  4. 4 College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  5. 5 School of Science and Health, Western Sydney University, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  6. 6 Translational Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  7. 7 School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  8. 8 School of Education, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia
  9. 9 Institute for Health and Ageing, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  10. 10 School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  11. 11 School of Education, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
  12. 12 School of Education, Priority Research Center in Physical Activity and Nutrition, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to A/Prof Chris Lonsdale, Institute for Positive Psychology and Education, Faculty of Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University-Strathfield Campus, 25A Barker Rd, Strathfield, NSW 2135, Australia; chris.lonsdale{at}


Objective Quality physical education (PE) is the cornerstone of comprehensive school physical activity (PA) promotion programmes. We tested the efficacy of a teacher professional learning intervention, delivered partially via the internet, designed to maximise opportunities for students to be active during PE lessons and enhance adolescents’ motivation towards PE and PA.

Methods A two-arm cluster randomised controlled trial with teachers and Grade 8 students from secondary schools in low socioeconomic areas of Western Sydney, Australia. The Activity and Motivation in Physical Education (AMPED) intervention for secondary school PE teachers included workshops, online learning, implementation tasks and mentoring sessions. The primary outcome was the proportion of PE lesson time that students spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), measured by accelerometers at baseline, postintervention (7–8 months after baseline) and maintenance (14–15 months). Secondary outcomes included observed PE teachers’ behaviour during lessons, students’ leisure-time PA and students’ motivation.

Results Students (n=1421) from 14 schools completed baseline assessments and were included in linear mixed model analyses. The intervention had positive effects on students’ MVPA during lessons. At postintervention, the adjusted mean difference in the proportion of lesson time spent in MVPA was 5.58% (p<0.001, approximately 4 min/lesson). During the maintenance phase, this effect was 2.64% (p<0.001, approximately 2 min/lesson). The intervention had positive effects on teachers’ behaviour, but did not impact students’ motivation.

Conclusions AMPED produced modest improvements in MVPA and compares favourably with previous interventions delivered exclusively face-to-face. Online teacher training could help facilitate widespread dissemination of professional learning interventions.

Trial registration number ACTRN12614000184673.

  • adolescents
  • online
  • teacher
  • professional learning
  • professional development

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  • Contributors CL and DRL conceived the study, and CL led its development and design. DRL, AL, MK, JMG, LRP, AB, GSK, AJM and NN provided input on the design of the intervention. KBO, RLW, FM, DPC, DRL, AL, EC and GSK provided input on design of the study. EC, NN and TMOD designed and led the data analysis. CL drafted the manuscript. All authors edited and approved the final version of the paper.

  • Funding An Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP130104659) funded this research. During the course of this research, AL, KBO and RLW were each supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award and an Australian Catholic University Postgraduate Award. DRL (FT140100399) and EC (FT140100085) were each supported by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship. DPC was supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DE140101588).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Obtained from Australian Catholic University (Reference: 2014185N) and the New South Wales Department of Education (Reference: 2013162#).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Presented at Results were presented at the 2016 Meeting of the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity in Cape Town, South Africa.