skip to primary navigation skip to content

MRC Epidemiology Unit : Data Sharing

Studying at Cambridge


SPEEDY Study Level Descriptors

SPEEDY (Sport, Physical activity and Eating behaviour: Environmental Determinants in Young people)

Parent study:

Other names:

SPEEDY is a population-based longitudinal cohort study aiming to investigate factors associated with physical activity and dietary behavior in 9-10 year-old (Year 5) children attending schools in the county of Norfolk, UK.

The SPEEDY study was established in 2007 to examine physical activity levels and dietary behaviour in a large population-based sample of British 9-10 year old children, and to investigate the individual and collective factors associated with these behaviours. Children were recruited from 92 primary schools across the county of Norfolk, East-Anglia, UK. Schools in rural location were purposively oversampled to achieve heterogeneity in environmental exposure. A total of 2064 children were recruited at baseline (57% response rate), and measured during Summer term 2007 (Apr-Jul) (SPEEDY-1). Measures include objectively measured physical activity (Actigraph accelerometer), four-day food diaries, anthropometry, questionnaires for children, parents and head teachers, a school audit and objectively measured environmental features (GIS).

All children were subsequently invited to participate in a postal data collection one year later (Summer term 2008; SPEEDY-2); 1019 completed a questionnaire and wore the accelerometer again (49.4% response rate). A second follow-up was conducted four years after baseline, after children had transitioned to secondary school (Summer term & summer holiday 2011; SPEEDY-3). All 1964 participants with a valid home address at SPEEDY-2 were contacted, 480 provided consent and took part (24% response rate). All baseline measures were repeated (incl. measurements at secondary schools); additional measures include blood pressure and location assessment using Global Positioning System (GPS) monitors.

Additional to the follow-up of the main cohort, the following studies were embedded within SPEEDY:

- SPEEDY-GPS: During the summer holiday of 2007, 100 children were recruited from the main SPEEDY cohort to simultaneously wear an accelerometer (Actigraph) and a GPS monitor.
- SPEEDY qualitative study. In 2011, 45 9-10-year old children, and 14 parents were recruited from six of the original SPEEDY primary schools and participated in focus groups. This work explores the beliefs, attitudes and perceptions of parents and children regarding children playing outside in the neighbourhood and travelling independently in the local area.


Norwich Test Centre
The Centre

Children, open access, physical activity, school, diet, healthy eating, dietary behaviour, family, anthropometry, demographic determinants, prospective study, environment

Research areas:
Descriptive epidemiology of physical activity and dietary behaviour in young people; associations between physical activity, diet and health outcomes; determinants of physical activity and diet in young people.

Research purposes:
To study (changes in) physical activity and dietary behavior in young people, its associations with health and to investigate influences on behaviour.

Children attending Year 5 in participating schools in Norfolk were recruited at baseline and re-assessed at 1- and 4-year follow-up.

Data collection is finished, data preparation near completion. Available for data requests.

No longer recruiting

Start date:
2007/April (pilot conducted in Feb/2007)

End date:
2011/Aug (end of SPEEDY-3 data collection)

SPEEDY publications

MRC or any other unique identifiers for the study

Speedy Qualitative Ethics
Speedy3 Ethics

Approvals required:
external approvals that may be required to use the data

Full ethical approval for all phases of the SPEEDY study was received from the University of East Anglia local research ethics committee.

Funding required:
details of financial support required for data access/sharing

Funded by a grant from the National Prevention Research Initiative (NPRI)
Funded by the MRC Epidemiology Core grant (MC_UU_12015/3; MC_UU_12015/4; MC_UU_12015/7)
SPEEDY qualitative study
Funded using pump-priming funded from UK Clinical Research Collaboration (via CEDAR)

Data access:
Data requests are submitted to the SPEEDY Study steering committee (SC) for approval. A Data Request Form for submission to the SPEEDY SC is available and once completed should be sent in the first instance to datasharing@mrc-epid (or alternatively please print, complete, scan and submit using this PDF). The SPEEDY data analyst, Tom White, will manage the processing of your data request.

Data collected:
Physical activity (Actigraph accelerometers), four-day food diary (incl. where, with whom and when), anthropometric data (height, weight, waist, impedance), blood pressure, objective environmental data of home, school travel route and school environment (GIS), GPS, physical activity questionnaire (YPAQ), school audit, child questionnaire (incl. self-efficacy, travel mode, barriers, PA preferences etc.), parent/guardian questionnaire (incl. family support, perceived environment, parental PA/diet behaviour, active travel attitudes), and head teacher questionnaire (incl. school PA/diet facilities and policies).

Sample size:
Baseline: 2064 primary school pupils (mean age: 10.3 (SD: 0.3); 44.8% boys; 96.2% White ethnic background).

Sampling method:
Schools with more than 12 Year 5 pupils were purposively sampled to achieve heterogeneity in urban/rural location; within locational strata, the schools were randomly selected to be invited. Out of 157 invitations, 92 schools participated (59% response rate). All Year 5 pupils at participating schools were eligible to participate (N=3619); 2064 participated (57% of eligible sample). Original participants were re-contacted and re-consented at 1- and 4-year follow-up.

Participation type:
Opt in (written parent consent and child assent)

Inclusion criteria:
All children at participating schools were eligible to participate; only children with a fully completed consent form (signed by both a parent/guardian and the child) on the day of measurement were included in the study.

Exclusion criteria:

Current size:
SPEEDY-1: 2064; SPEEDY-2: 1019; SPEEDY-3: 480

Data collection event:

Collection type
Actigraph accelerometer, 4-day food diary, anthropometry, questionnaires (child, parent/guardian, head teacher), school audit, GIS
Actigraph accelerometer, GPS monitor
Actigraph accelerometer, child questionnaire
SPEEDY qualitative
Focus groups
Actigraph accelerometer, 4-day food diary, anthropometry, blood pressure, questionnaires (child, parent/guardian, head teacher), school audit, GIS, GPS

Accountable people:

Name (follow link for contact details)
Programme Lead / Chief Investigator
Senior Investigator Scientist
Deputy Director, Professor of general Practice
Data Analyst

Data sources:

  • Access overview study details by following the OVERVIEW link for a study
  • Access the details of a studies data and releases by following the RELEASE link for a study
  • Access the latest study data dictionary by following the DICTIONARY link for a study
  • Access the study questionaiires by following the QUESTIONNAIRES link for a study

Related parties:

Name (follow link for contact details)
Prof Andy Jones, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia
Prof Aedin Cassidy, Norwich Medical School, University of East

Additional information:
See the up-to-date list of SPEEDY publications.

Information created: 10th June 2014 by Esther Van Sluijs
Information last updated: 12 June 2014 by A Dickinson and Esther Van Sluijs