Scientific evaluation of the Let's Move It key project published

Youth are insufficiently active for their mental and physical health. Schools provide an excellent opportunity for fostering motivation and skills for physically active lifestyle. Health promotion usually underutilizes behavioural scientific understanding of sustained, intrinsic motivation and behaviour change.

The Academy-funded key project “Enhancing Physical Activity Promotion In Upper Secondary Schools - Nationwide Dissemination And Implementation Of Evidence-based Intervention Strategies” (2016-18) further developed and disseminated research-based strategies to increase physical activity and reduce excessive sedentary behaviours, by adapting effective elements of a theory- and evidence-based Let’s Move It (LMI) school-based program (2012-17), and disseminated these to Finnish upper secondary schools. Large network of stakeholders informed and supported the project.

We piloted, developed and conducted two trainings. Research evaluation of them has now been published. Some insights from both:

LMI physical activity promotion program training for upper secondary school staff

Training participants rated the LMI training as highly acceptable on all acceptability dimensions, including perceived effectiveness and ethicality. The program reached at least 6,100 students and 341 school classes within less than a year in Finland. High acceptability and reach of the training indicate strong potential for implementation success. (Renko, Knittle et al., 2020.)

  • This evaluation is one of the first to use The Theoretical Framework of Acceptability (Sekhon et al.,2017) dimensions in evaluating interventions

  • Key implementation barriers were lack of time and the need for more collegial support, which are quite typical in similar implementation projects - watch out for these!

  • The LMI materials are shared openly at, and several secondary schools use them as part of their “Schools on the Move” activities.

A motivational interaction training course for pre-service physical education (PE) teachers

Experiences of learning and using motivational interaction after a training course were mostly positive: Participants described professional growth through learning motivational interaction. However, the participants expressed concerns about how to use motivational interaction without losing control, and how to allocate time and feedback equally. (Renko, Koski-Jännes et al., 2020.) To our knowledge, this is the first qualitative study to examine concerns and insights of motivational interaction adoption. 

Our findings will inform content and improve the acceptability of interaction trainings. This knowledge also provides the basis for our new project which explores comprehensively what pathways professionals take to change their interaction style, and how feasible and acceptable interaction style trainings are face-to-face and online.

Read more here:

Renko, E., Knittle, K., Palsola, M., Lintunen, T. & Hankonen, N. (2020). Acceptability, reach and implementation of a training to enhance teachers’ skills in physical activity promotion, BMC Public Health, 20:1568.

Renko, E., Koski-Jännes, A., Absetz, P., Lintunen, T. & Hankonen, N. (2020). Improving motivating styles to promote physical activity: Teachers’ experiences of using motivational interaction. Preprint: