Effectiveness of a behavioral incentive scheme linked to goal achievement: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Julie Redfern, Gemma Enright, Simon Raadsma, Margaret Allman-Farinelli, Christine Innes-Hughes, Santosh Khanal, Sarah Lukeis, Chris Rissel, Alex Gyani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Childhood obesity is a concern in Australia and across the world. Community-based weight management programs are an important response to address childhood obesity. However, the scientific literature suggests that their effectiveness could potentially be enhanced by providing a structured incentive scheme. This proposal aims to determine the effectiveness of enhanced goal setting linked to a structured incentive scheme designed to improve the sustained health and wellbeing of overweight/obese children within the context of an existing community-based program. Methods/Design: This study is a cluster randomized controlled trial delivered within the context of the existing NSW "Go4Fun" program with a 10-week and 6- and 12-month follow-up (n = 40 sites, 570 participants) that compares the effectiveness of small changes to the program in which children were asked to set goals (supported by text messages) and were given rewards for achieving them (intervention). This will be compared to the standard/existing program (control), which did not have the same structured incentive program. Data will be collected for all participants at baseline, end of program, and at 6 and 12 months. The primary outcome is a mean change in body mass index (BMI) z score at the 12-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes include anthropometric measures (body weight, height, and waist circumference) and behavioral measures collected via validated questionnaires. A process evaluation (comprising surveys and focus groups) to determine acceptability and sustainability and to inform downstream translation will also be conducted. Discussion: This study will inform policy and program delivery as well as the broader evidence base regarding goal achievement and incentive schemes directed at children's health-related behaviors and will provide evidence that is likely to be transferrable across a range of health conditions. Trial Registration:ACTRN12615000558527registered on 29 May 2015.

Original languageEnglish
Article number33
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2016 Redfern et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to
the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver
(http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


  • Behavior change
  • Children
  • Health services
  • Incentives
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Prevention


Dive into the research topics of 'Effectiveness of a behavioral incentive scheme linked to goal achievement: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this