A multiple health behaviour approach to prevent common and emerging risk factors for chronic

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Date Commenced:
Expected Date of Completion:
Project Supporters:

National Health & Medical Research Council/ECF Sidney Sax Public Health Overseas Fellowship

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Project Members: 
image - K. Champion
NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow
Ph 02 9385 0333
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Ph EA Jasmin Bartlett: 02 9385 0167 / j.bartlett@unsw.edu.au
Project Main Description: 

The overall aim is to evaluate the efficacy of the Climate Schools: Healthy Lifestyles program, the first online program to simultaneously target the Big 6 risk factors among adolescents.

Project Collaborators: External: 

Professor Bonnie Spring, Northwestern University, Chicago


Six behavioural risk factors (poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol use, sedentary behaviour and unhealthy sleep patterns) have been identified as the strongest determinants of poor health outcomes for Australians. Alarmingly, 74% of young Australians have consumed alcohol, 23% have used tobacco, 85% do not meet physical activity guidelines, 80% do not meet guidelines for sedentary behaviour, 25% do not get adequate sleep and 95% do not eat enough fruit and vegetables. Not only are these behaviours risk factors for chronic disease and mortality, in the short-term they are associated with obesity, mental health problems and alcohol-related harms. To reduce these harms and interrupt the trajectory towards chronic disease, prevention is critical.

These six risk factors (the “Big 6”) commonly emerge during adolescence and importantly, co-occur as clusters as people engage in multiple risk behaviours simultaneously. Once the Big 6 are established they are more likely to persist, than improve, over the life course. Multi-faceted and timely prevention is therefore critical. A multiple health behaviour change approach in which risk factors are targeted together, rather than in isolation, delivered during adolescence presents an innovative, timely and efficient way to reduce the shared risks for chronic disease. Despite

this, there are few prevention programs that adopt a multiple health behaviour change approach among adolescents, and none that target the Big 6. The proposed research aims to fill this gap by developing and evaluating the first online program internationally to simultaneously target the Big 6 among students. A cluster randomised controlled trial will be run in 16 Sydney secondary schools.


This project aims to:

·       systematically reviewing the literature on school-based MHBC interventions,

·       develop an online MHBC intervention to simultaneously target the Big 6 (the Climate Schools: Healthy Lifestyles program),

·       engage end-users to assess the relevance and acceptability of the intervention, and

·       conduct a cluster RCT to determine its efficacy.

Design and Method: 

Cluster randomized controlled trial

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