Findings from a new trial suggest that delivering a lifestyle programme for men through professional football clubs could help to improve men’s health.
The randomised controlled trial included 1,113 men aged 30-65 with self-reported body mass index ≥27 kg/m2. Half of the participants were randomised to the European Fans in Training (EuroFIT) programme; a 12-week, group-based programme delivered by coaches in football club stadia in weekly 90-minute sessions, which aimed to improve physical activity, sedentary time and diet, and maintain changes long term. The remainder were randomised to a 12-month waiting list comparison group. A pocket-worn device allowed self-monitoring of sedentary time and daily steps, while a game-based app encouraged between-session social support.
The study found participation in EuroFIT led to improvements in physical activity, as well as diet, body weight, well-being and biomarkers of cardiometabolic health. Participants in the intervention group had a higher mean daily step count at 12 months than the comparison group, with an estimated difference of 678 steps per day. The study also objectively measured participants sedentary time, but found this was not reduced following participation in the trial.
Writing in PLOS Medicine, the authors suggested programmes such as EuroFIT could play an important public health role in engaging underserved men.