Fast Track dietary trial

Do you think your child might be above a healthy weight? Are they between the age of 13 – 17 years?

Contact details

Principal Investigator: Professor Louise Baur

Project Contact: Ms Katharine Aldwell

Visit the website

The Children’s Hospital at Westmead is conducting a study for young people who are above a healthy weight. 

The Fast Track to Health study is a 12-month study looking at the effect of two different eating plans on health and wellbeing in young people. We want to find out which plan is the most successful at reducing weight and improving health. We may find that both work well.

We also want to find out which eating plans are acceptable to young people, so we can offer more choice and help young people with weight concerns in the future.

How the trial works

There are three phases to the Fast Track study:

Phase 1

Everyone will follow a Very Low Energy Diet to jump-start weight loss. This involves having meal replacements each day for 4 weeks. Meal replacements are provided free of charge.

Phase 2

Participants will be randomised to either a Modified Alternate Day Fasting dietary pattern (also called the 4:3 plan) or a Reduced Calorie dietary pattern. It is not possible for participants to choose the plan they follow.

Phase 3

Everyone will continue to follow the plan they’ve been given with support from the dietitian.

Participants will have opportunities to join Facebook groups and phone, SMS or email contact with the dietitian.

Fast Track will run for 12 months, so it is really important that you and your child are committed to attending the hospital up to 10-13 times over the 12 month study period.

Four of these visits will be longer (one visit is 1-1.5 hours, three visits are 3-3.5 hours). Other visits will take approximately 30-45 minutes.

Screening process

There are several screening processes to go through if you would like your child to be involved. These are designed so we can ensure it is safe and appropriate for your child to participate.

To be considered for the trial, you will need to complete the following:

  • complete two questionnaires related to eating behaviours (e.g. binge eating) and wellbeing (e.g. depression)
  • have a blood sugar level tested via a finger prick meter
  • be briefly assessed by one of the study doctors.

Participants need to:

  • be aged 13-17 years
  • be well above a healthy weight
  • have parental, or legal guardian consent
  • independently agree to participate in the study.

Like to know more?

Interested? Or know someone who might fit the criteria?

Email Katharine Aldwell or visit the Fast Track website

Ethics approval

This project has been approved by Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network Human Research Ethics Committee. If you have any concerns about the conduct of this study, please contact the Executive Officer at the Ethics Committee (02 9845 3066) and quote approval number HREC/17/SCHN/164.