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Southampton students take part in exciting project with LifeLab

Engaging, educational and exciting, students and staff at two secondary schools in Southampton get involved in

cutting-edge health research and be two of the first schools in the country to take part in a national innovation project in partnership with the University of Southampton.

Science classes at Oasis Academy Mayfield and Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill, Southampton were chosen to take part in an exciting new study programme called EACH-B (Engaging Adolescents in Behaviour Change) with LifeLab. LifeLab is a unique, purpose-built facility at Southampton General Hospital.

LifeLab was first initiated in 2008 at the University of Southampton. It has continued to develop through the

collaboration of researchers from the University's Education School, Faculty of Medicine, and the Mathematics and Science Learning Centre.

David Spratt, the Director of Science at Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill commented on the day saying; “It was brilliant to host the EACH-B Research Team at Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill. It is a great opportunity for the students to be part of a real research project particularly around the relevant topic of the health behaviours.”

The group of students took part in an assessment as part of a special lesson about health. Students had their height and weight recorded, along with completing questionnaires about their diet, lifestyle and wellbeing.

As part of the project, students are asked to wear a watch-like activity tracker for a week to complete a log of their

sleep pattern and other activities during their usual day. These assessments will take place twice, four months apart.

Robert Forder, Principal of Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill, commented on the day saying; “We are extremely fortunate to be working with LifeLab on this exciting project. This is part of the Academy’s commitment to provide a modern, world-class curriculum that allows our students to learn first-hand the science behind important health issues.”

LifeLab draws on the project findings and combines them with research evidence from elsewhere to raise teenagers' awareness and interest in the science underpinning health issues, and make positive changes to adolescent health-related attitudes.

Professor Mary Barker, the EACH-B Project Lead at the University of Southampton, commented saying; “Oasis Mayfield and Lordshill Academies have been amazing partners in this project. We could not be doing this ground-breaking piece of research without their support and enthusiasm. Staff and students at both schools have been full of ideas and energy, and the students have been particularly brilliant in helping us find new ways of measuring and testing this intervention.”

LifeLab works in close partnership with LENScience in Auckland, and this was recently strengthened further through the awarding of funding from the BUPA Foundation to carry out an international evaluation of the intervention in both locations.