Can professional soccer clubs help male fans lose weight and become more physically active? Preliminary evidence from the Scottish Premier League

Gray, C.M., Hunt, K., Mutrie, N., Anderson, A.S., Treweek, S., Leishman, J. and Wyke, S. (2012) Can professional soccer clubs help male fans lose weight and become more physically active? Preliminary evidence from the Scottish Premier League. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 15(6(Sup)), p. 367.

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Publisher's URL: http://sma.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/1389-SMA_ConferenceBOA_WEB_FA_150ppi.pdf

Abstract

Introduction: The prevalence of overweight/obesity amongst UK men is amongst the highest in Europe. Modest (5–10%) weight loss can reduce risk of co-morbidity, but many men are reluctant to engage in traditional commercial and health service weight management programmes. Football Fans in Training (FFIT) is a gender-sensitized, weight loss, physical activity (PA) and healthy living intervention that aims to engage men in sustained positive lifestyle change by using Scotland’s elite professional football (soccer) clubs as a vehicle for delivery.

Methods: A feasibility study involving a pilot trial in two Scottish Premier League clubs (one large, city-based; one smaller, town-based), with men (N=103) aged 35–65 and BMI≥27kg/m2 randomized to intervention (starting FFIT immediately) and comparison (starting FFIT in 4 months) groups. Objective weight measurements and self reported PA, eating habits and psychological outcomes [self esteem, positive affect, health-related quality of life (SF-12)] were collected from both groups at baseline and 12 weeks. The intervention group was followed up at 6 and 12 months. Participant focus groups and interviews with the coaches delivering FFIT explored experiences of involvement in the programme.

Results: The recruitment target (n=60) was achieved in the large, but not smaller, club. Men were attracted by the setting “…obviously being connected to the football club it was a no brainer for me” and attendance at programme sessions remained high. Participants appreciated the focus on lifestyle education (rather than dieting), they found the pedometers helpful and motivating for monitoring and increasing their activity levels, and valued the camaraderie of the group “… it was the banter and folk coming back and saying, I couldn’t do as many steps this week, but somebody saying I took the dog out… shared ideas and experiences that really worked”. Attrition was low; 83.5% of men took part in 12 week measurements. Men in the intervention group recorded a 4.6% weight loss at 12 weeks, significantly greater than the comparison group (p<.001); weight reductions were still evident at 12 months. Post-programme increases in self-reported PA and fruit and vegetable consumption, and decreases in self-reported sedentary time and chocolate, biscuits and chips consumption were maintained to 12 months. Sustained improvements in self-esteem, positive affect and SF-12 scores were also demonstrated.

Discussion: Professional soccer clubs can encourage men to lose weight, increase PA and make other positive lifestyle changes, many of which appear to be sustained until 12 months. A full-scale trial of FFIT is underway.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:4th International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health, Australian Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport, National Sports Injury Prevention Conference, Sydney, Australia, 31 Oct - 3 Nov 2012.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wyke, Professor Sally and Gray, Dr Lucinda and Hunt, Professor Kathryn
Authors: Gray, C.M., Hunt, K., Mutrie, N., Anderson, A.S., Treweek, S., Leishman, J., and Wyke, S.
Subjects:R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO Unit
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport
ISSN:1440-2440

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record