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Self-management programme to increase health through physical activity in chronic kidney disease

What we are doing:

A theory-driven intervention has been iteratively developed using expert and patient feedback, as advocated by the Medical Research Council’s Framework for the Development of Complex Interventions. 

This approach is described in the table below. Stage 5 is investigating acceptability of the intervention via recruitment, retention, engagement data.

Stages of the development of the SPARK intervention



Stage 1: Initial creation of a prototype intervention

Informed by 

  • Interventions achieving positive results in other chronic disease
  • Behaviour change theory
  • Qualitative data previously published

Stage 2: Expert panel review including PPI

  • 2 expert panel meetings including PPI representatives, members of the specialist renal MDT, health psychologists and a behaviour change expert.
  • Individual meetings.

Stage 3: Seek patient perspective 

  • 2 patient focus groups

Stage 4: Testing phase of design

  • n=8;
  • Quantitative and qualitative outcome measures
  • Semi-structured interviews to understand patient experience of engaging in SPARK.

Stage 5: Feasibility testing

  • n=26
  • Quantitative and qualitative outcome measures

The intervention comprised an eight-week walking intervention, grounded in the theory of planned behaviour, delivered using motivational interviewing and supported by written educational material and telephone calls to facilitate progression and engagement. 

Why we are doing it:

Engaging in moderately-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) has been shown to improve the symptom burden of chronic kidney disease (CKD), reduce cardiovascular risk and improve quality of life, but the patient population remains inactive. The SPARK project aims to create a self-directed intervention, underpinned by behaviour change theory, to promote MVPA for people with CKD not requiring renal replacement, to produce the positive results seen in other chronic diseases. 

What the benefits will be:

This intervention has the potential to facilitate people with CKD to engage in MVPA and thus significantly reduce cardiovascular risk and improve quality of life. The theory-driven design and the robust testing approach hopes to produce an intervention that will be easily implemented into clinical practice.

Who we are working with:

  • Professor Alice Smith and the Leicester Kidney Lifestyle Team
  • Professor Sally Singh


Heather MacKinnon,,