Frequently Asked Questions

What is Project Spraoi?

  • Project Spraoi is a research intervention aimed at increasing physical activity, reducing sedentariness (sitting time) and improving dietary habits among primary school children. The project is based on the successful methodological approach adopted by Project Energize, New Zealand which has had positive effects on the health of New Zealand children.


Has ethical approval been granted for this project?

  • Project Spraoi received ethical approval from the Research Ethics Board at Cork Institute of Technology in October 2013.


Will all data collected be confidential and anonymous including physical measurements and video recordings? How and where will they be stored? Who will have access to the files?

  • All data (including physical and fitness measurement scores as well as video recordings) that is collected as part of the research will be securely stored in the Department of Sport, Leisure and Childhood Studies postgraduate research office in Cork Institute of Technology. Scoring sheets with the raw data will be stored in a locked press, while electronic copies of the data will be stored on a password protected PC in the postgraduate office. Only the postgraduate researchers and their supervisors will have access to the data. No reference to an individual school or child will be made as part of the research, therefore ensuring anonymity.


Will any other personal details be required for each child?

  • Participants date of birth and gender will be requested from the school in order to calculate age-specific body mass index scores.  


Who are the research team involved in the project?

  • The research team responsible for collecting the data will consist of postgraduate students and supervisors from Cork Institute of Technology who are members of the Project Spraoi Research Team.  All members of the team have been garda vetted. 


What is expected of each child participating in Project Spraoi with regard to the physical test measures?

The following physical test measures will be taken for each child: height, weight, body fat, waist circumference and blood pressure. Measurements will be taken confidentially and other children will not see the scores.







Height will be measured using a height measuring device consisting of a base from which extends a measuring pole with an attached movable slider. The child will be required to remove their footwear. The child stands on the base of the device with their feet together. They place their heels, shoulders and head gently against the measuring pole and they look straight ahead. The movable slider will be moved by the tester to rest on top of the child’s head. Height can then be read from the measuring pole.



Weight will be recorded using a Tanita weighing scales. The child will be required to step on to the centre of the scales with their hands by their sides and looking forward. The body mass of the child is displayed on a separate digital monitor which will only be seen by the tester. The child being tested nor any other child will see the readings taken.


Body fat percentage


Body fat will be measured using a bioelectrical impedance machine, which involves the child removing their left sock and lying on their back on a physiotherapy bed. Sticky pads will be attached to the child’s left hand and foot, to which will be attached the bioelectric impedance monitor, with clips. Readings can then be taken from the machine. The child will neither be harmed or feel any discomfort during this measurement.


Waist circumference


Waist circumference is measured using a measuring tape. The child will be asked to stand with their hands by their sides. From the right side of the child, the tester will put the measuring tape around the waist of the participant. The narrowest circumference between the lower rib and hip is measured.


Blood pressure


Blood pressure is carried out using a blood pressure monitor. The child is seated with their two feet firmly on the ground. They place their left arm with their palm facing up, resting on a pillow which is placed on a table beside the chair. The blood pressure cuff is then placed on their left arm. When the tester presses the start button the cuff inflates and the child will feel a slight squeeze on their upper arm for a brief moment before the cuff deflates. A reading is produced on a monitor which can only be seen by the tester.




What will each child be requested to do as part of the exercise related tasks?

Participants will also be asked complete a number of exercise related tasks as part of the project.


550m run


Participants will complete a 550 metre run (5 laps of 110 metre loop) which will measure cardiovascular fitness levels.

Fundamental Movement Skills


Participants will also be asked to perform 12 different basic movement skills which include the run, hop, slide, catch, bounce, gallop, leap, jump, skip, strike, throw and kick. The testing of these 12 skills will be carried out by members of the Project Spraoi research team and final year Physical Education undergraduate students and their lecturer from University College Cork. Participants will be video recorded using standard video cameras while performing these skills. Immediately after the recording session, the video files will be transferred from the video camera onto 2 external hard drives. The videos will be deleted from the cameras immediately after the transfer to the external hard drives has been completed. The external hard drives will then be locked in a secure press in the postgraduate office at which will only be accessible to the Project Spraoi research team.  The performance of each of the skills must be recorded (as opposed to live/real-time analysis) as live testing is not feasible due to time constraints, as each child must perform 12 skills. It also does not allow for adequate analysis of the skill being performed



Activity monitors


Some participants (as only a subsample will be tested) will be requested to wear an activity monitor as part of the research for a period of 7 days. This monitor is a small device which is worn on the hip and which records physical activity levels. The participant should take off the monitor when they are in water and when they go to bed at night. Children will be requested to wear the monitor at all other times during the week. 


Children’s nutrition questionnaire


The child will be requested to complete a questionnaire relating to their knowledge of healthy eating and physical activity. The testers will ask the child these questions to which the child may answer. If the child does not feel comfortable answering any of the questions, they do not have to do so.



Household questionnaire


A questionnaire with questions relating to the food and drink consumption and physical activity habits of the child will be given to the child to bring home for completion by the parent(s)/guardian(s).  The child will be requested to return the completed questionnaire to the school.






What is the protocol if high/low blood pressure readings are observed?

  • Our blood pressure monitors are non-invasive monitors that are safe to use with children and adults. If our research team were to find a child with high/low blood pressure, this information would be relayed to the class teacher and/or school principal. 


How often does this testing take place?

  • Testing will take place at the beginning and end of the academic year.  


How long will the data be stored for?

  • Data will be securely stored for the duration of this project i.e. 5 years. After such time, the data will be destroyed.


Are there any disadvantages to participating in this project?

  • There are no forseen risks or disadvantages to participating in this project for any child.


What is the role of the Energizer?

  • Energizers will act in a number of roles; they may be catalysts, facilitators, coordinators, ideas people, strategists, negotiators and/or project supporters.


What does being an intervention school entail?

  • Each Project Spraoi school will have an Energizer assigned to their school as a key contact.  Typically, the Energizer will spend no more than two days per week in the school.      Energizers are available to support schools and school communities with any initiatives that will lead to long term sustainability of increased physical activity, reduced sedentariness (sitting) and improved healthy eating.  It is expected that Project Spraoi will become an integral part of the school. There will be a focus on assisting each school to take ownership of their own plans and initiatives.


Why does being a control school entail?

  • A control school is a school that will have testing carried out at the beginning and end of the school year but will not receive the Project Spraoi physical activity and nutrition intervention.
  • A control school is vital for the project so that comparisons can be made between schools that do and do not receive the Project Spraoi intervention. Without a control school, we would not be able to truly assess the effectivess of the intervention.


 What advantage is it to the school to participate as a control school?

  • As a control school, physical and fitness testing and fundamental movement skills testing will be carried out. A summary report of the general findings will be given to the principal, including a comparison to other children in Ireland.  In return for their co-operation and support, where possible the school will be offered to participate in a fun ‘Activity Day’ to take place in CIT later in the academic year, delivered by Spraoi staff. It is hoped, with available funding, the control school will become an intervention school in the future whereby they will receive the whole school physical activity and nutrition initiative.  

What are the goals of Project Spraoi in this school?

Spraoi staff (called Energizers) are available to assist schools with a whole range of initiatives and projects related to healthy eating and physical activity.

For example:

  • Help promote healthy eating through school lunch order systems
  • Provide information on healthier food choices for lunches and snacks
  • Assist teachers in providing varied and quality daily exercise activities
  • Encourage children to choose more active play options at home


What programme do schools follow?

The programme is tailored to each school. Working with Spraoi, schools develop their own plan in consultation with the children, teachers, parents and wider school community.


Isn't Project Spraoi yet another job for schools to add to their already busy schedule?

No - Spraoi is an "evolution not revolution" programme. Spraoi staff will help the schools change what they do, and how they do it, not just add another curriculum programme to the full school programme. Spraoi is gradual, not a "big bang". Spraoi staff help schools identify opportunities for change, provide resources where needed, and support the change process.


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