The researchers have left the building: What contributes to sustaining school-based interventions following the conclusion of formal research support?

Sarah Friend, Colleen F. Flattum, Danielle Simpson, Dawn M. Nederhoff, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: This study examined the sustainability of New Moves, a school-based program aimed at decreasing weight-related problems in adolescent girls. The National Cancer Institute recognizes New Moves as a research-tested intervention program that produced positive behavioral and psychosocial outcomes. METHODS: Ten schools participated in the sustainability study. Teachers completed a survey and interview, and research staff observed 1 physical education (PE) class within 2years of the study's completion. Qualitative data were grouped by themes. Frequencies were calculated using quantitative data. RESULTS: All schools continued all-girls PE classes using New Moves components following the study period. Fewer schools continued the nutrition and social support classroom modules and individual coaching sessions while no schools continued lunch get-togethers. Program components were sustained in both New Moves intervention schools and control schools. CONCLUSIONS: Programs are most likely to be sustained if they (1) fit into the current school structure, (2) receive buy-in by teachers, and (3) require minimal additional funds or staff time. Providing control schools with minimal training and intervention resources was sufficient to continue program components if staff perceived the program was important for students' health and compatible within the school's existing infrastructure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-333
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014



  • Adolescent girls
  • Physical education class
  • School-based obesity prevention
  • Sustainability

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