Young & Active


Place: Norges idrettshøgskole

Formal title

Young & Active –meaningful physical activity as means to enhance fitness and health related quality of life among adolescents with overweight and obesity


The overall aim was to develop and evaluate an Internet intervention for motivating overweight and obese adolescents (13-15 years) to increase and maintain self-determined physical activity (PA) and thereby enhance their cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL).


The aim of the project was addressed in two phases using different methods. In the first phase, a the Internet program called “Young & Active” was designed and developed in a systematic way based on existing literature and a theoretical framework. Representatives of the end users were involved in the process of development. The program includes opportunities for planning PA, to keep a PA diary and to receive weekly PA-related individualized counselling. Adolescents were also recruited to give feedback on the program through iterative usability testing. In the second phase, an evaluation was performed to discuss ethical issues related to the intervention. Moreover, 120 adolescents with overweight were recruited through the school health service to participate in a controlled trial. First, baseline data was analyzed to gain increased knowledge about the associations between the main outcomes. Lastly, the short-term effects of using the Internet intervention over a period of 12-weeks were investigated.


The results from the development and usability testing found that the Internet intervention was well accepted among the representatives from the target group:

The ethical discussion argued that the intervention can be justified based on its emphasis on tailored autonomy-supportive feedback:

Investigations of associations between the study variables at baseline showed that CRF was positively related to HRQoL in this sample of overweight adolescents and that this relationship was mediated by self-determined motivation for PA and exercise:

When testing the effect of the intervention in a 12-week controlled trial, we found that “Young & Active” had beneficial short-term effects on CRF, HRQoL and BMI:

Read the whole thesis

Download thesis