Co-design of a school-based physical activity intervention for adolescent females in a disadvantaged community: insights from the Girls Active Project (GAP)
Worldwide, more than three-quarters (81%) of adolescents (aged 11-17) do not meet the World Health Organisation recommended physical activity (PA) guidelines . The World Health Organisation recommends that children and adolescents (aged 5–17) do at least an average of 60 min a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) . The robust evidence that informed these guidelines on PA for children and adolescents found that greater amounts and higher intensities of PA are associated with multiple beneficial health outcomes, including cardiometabolic health, physical fitness, bone health, cognitive outcomes, reduced adiposity and a reduced risk of experiencing depression . Research indicates that PA levels decline during adolescence [4,5,6] and that there are clear gender differences between the PA levels of adolescent females and males, with females less likely to meet recommended guidelines [1, 7, 8]. Evidence also suggests that socio-economic status is correlated to adolescents' PA participation [9, 10], where females with lower socio-economic status are consistently the least active . Inactive adolescents are at a greater risk of long-term ill health , and given that participation in PA during adolescence can be a significant contributor to levels of PA in adulthood [12, 13], tackling the decline in PA during adolescence is a major public health priority.
This paper describes how the BCW, a comprehensive, evidence-based, theory-driven framework was used in combination with PPI to co-design a school-based intervention aimed to increase adolescent females’ PA levels. This approach could be replicated in other settings to develop targeted behavioural interventions in populations with specific demographic characteristics.