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Table 1 Lessons learnt from AFLY5 & implications for future school-based diet and physical activity (PA) interventions

From: Lessons learned from the AFLY5 RCT process evaluation: implications for the design of physical activity and nutrition interventions in schools

Lesson learnt Implication for future research and practice Cross cutting themes
1) Child engagement Building on existing knowledge and resources Whole school approach
Provide children with a sense of ownership over diet and PA Create activities that allow children to be actively involved and make choices over behaviours to develop a sense of autonomy
2) School level
-Organisational  
Identify a key contact in the school to lead the intervention Support the teacher to act as a project champion – provide extra training and resource for this person
-Curricular/ethos  
Embedding diet and PA across the curriculum Include lessons across the curriculum
Support teachers to act as positive diet and PA role models Provide teachers with guidance on how to change their own behaviour and then model key behaviours to reinforce curriculum messages and to improve staff health
Eating in school Ensure school meal provision, rules around snacking and packed lunches consistently applied and are supportive of messages in intervention
Space for physical activity and provision of extra-curricular sports/PA Identify additional spaces in the school for physical activity
Ensure provision of extra-curricular sports/PA consistent/supportive of messages in intervention
3) Parental and community engagement
-Parents  
Engage parents with homework Include activities for parents and children to do together
Bring the parents into school for events Have shows, student demonstrations to create a “buzz” around diet and PA behaviour change
-Wider community  
Invite those with appropriate skills in local area to speak to parents and children Fits in with the healthy schools framework
4) Government/policy level
-Policy/school ethos  
Lack of teacher self-efficacy to teach PA Increase broader teacher expertise in PA promotion – utilise existing continuing professional development programmes
Incorporating diet and PA messages across the primary school years Identify how diet and PA messages are presented across the curriculum and how skills and knowledge are reinforced and developed across the primary school years
Environmental/setting  
Create facilities for cooking in schools Negotiated access to school canteens, integrate with school food service. Identify other local resources.
Create facilities for PA in schools Identify local resources that could supplement pre-existing school resources.