Assessing the effectiveness of training models for national scale-up of an evidence-based nutrition and physical activity intervention: a group randomized trial

Nov 28, 2019 | Lee

BACKGROUND: There is a great need to identify implementation strategies to successfully scale-up public health interventions in order to achieve their intended population impact. The Out-of-school Nutrition and Physical Activity group-randomized trial previously demonstrated improvements in children’s vigorous physical activity and the healthfulness of foods and beverages consumed. This implementation study aimed to assess the effects and costs of two training models to scale-up this evidence-based intervention.

METHODS: A 3-arm group-randomized trial was conducted to compare effectiveness of in-person and online training models for scaling up the intervention compared to controls. One-third of sites were randomized to the in-person train-the-trainer model: local YMCA facilitators attended a training session and then conducted three learning collaborative meetings and technical assistance. One-third were assigned to the online model consisting of self-paced monthly learning modules videos quizzes and facilitated discussion boards. Remaining sites served as controls. Fifty-three afterschool sites from three YMCA Associations in different regions of the country completed baseline and follow-up observations using a validated tool of afterschool nutrition and physical activity practices. We used multivariable regression models accounting for clustering of observations to assess intervention effects on an aggregate afterschool practice primary outcome and conducted secondary analyses of nine intervention goals e.g. serving water). Cost data were collected to determine the resources to implement each training model.

RESULTS: Changes in the primary outcome indicate that on average sites in the in-person arm achieved 0.44 additional goals compared to controls 95%CI 0.020.86 p = 0.04). Increases in the number of additional goals achieved in sites in the online arm were not significantly greater than control sites 0.28 95% CI -0.180.73 p = 0.24). Goal-specific improvements were observed for increasing water offered in the in-person arm and fruits and vegetables offered in the online arm. The cost per person trained was $678 for the in-person training model and $336 for the on-line training model. CONCLUSIONS: This pilot trial presents promising findings on implementation strategies for scale-up. It validated the in-person training model as an effective approach. The less expensive online training may be a useful option for geographically disbursed sites where in-person training is challenging.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Although this study does not report the results of a health care intervention on human subjects it is a randomized trial and was therefore retrospectively registered in on July 4 2019 in accordance with the BMC guidelines to ensure the complete publication of all results NCT04009304).

PubMed Abstract

Lee R. M. B. J. L. Daly J. G. Mozaffarian R. S. Giles C. M. Cradock A. L. Gortmaker S. L. 2019). Assessing the effectiveness of training models for national scale-up of an evidence-based nutrition and physical activity intervention: a group randomized trial. BMC Public Health191) 1587. doi:10.1186/s12889-019-7902-y