Targeting multiple health risk behaviours among vocational education students using electronic feedback and online and telephone support: protocol for a cluster randomised trial.
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BACKGROUND: Technical and Further Education (TAFE) colleges are the primary provider of vocational education in Australia. Most TAFE students are young adults, a period when health risk behaviours become established. Furthermore, high rates of smoking, risky alcohol consumption, inadequate fruit and vegetable intake and insufficient physical activity have been reported in TAFE students. There have been no intervention studies targeting multiple health risk behaviours simultaneously in this population. The proposed trial will examine the effectiveness of providing TAFE students with electronic feedback regarding health risk behaviours and referral to a suite of existing online and telephone services addressing smoking, risky alcohol consumption, fruit and vegetable intake, and physical activity levels.
METHODS/DESIGN: A two arm, parallel, cluster randomised trial will be conducted within TAFE campuses in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. TAFE classes will be randomly allocated to an intervention or control condition (50 classes per condition). To be eligible, students must be: enrolled in a course that runs for more than 6 months; aged 16 years or older; and not meet Australian health guideline recommendations for at least one of the following: smoking, alcohol consumption, fruit and/or vegetable intake, or physical activity. Students attending intervention classes, will undertake via a computer tablet a risk assessment for health risk behaviours, and for behaviours not meeting Australian guidelines be provided with electronic feedback about these behaviours and referral to evidence-based online programs and telephone services. Students in control classes will not receive any intervention. Primary outcome measures that will be assessed via online surveys at baseline and 6 months post-recruitment are: 1) daily tobacco smoking; 2) standard drinks of alcohol consumed per week; 3) serves of fruit consumed daily; 4) serves of vegetables consumed daily; and 5) metabolic equivalent minutes of physical activity per week.
DISCUSSION: Proactive enrolment to existing online and telephone services has the potential to address modifiable determinants of disease. This trial will be the first to examine a potentially scalable intervention targeting multiple health risk behaviours among students in the vocational training setting.