Sports clubs encourage fans to fight battle of the bulge

Men who participated in the Football Fans in Training Programme (FFIT) lost more than nine times more weight than men in a comparison group who did not complete the program, and nearly 40% of them maintained a weight loss of at least 5% of their original body weight 12 months later.

Other benefits included many men significantly reducing their waist size, body fat and blood pressure as a result of the intervention. 

The study is one of the first randomised controlled trials of a gender sensitised health program delivered through a professional sports club and could pave the way for delivering new weight management strategies that target men at risk of future poor health.

“The professional football club setting appears to have provided these men with a physical and social opportunity [to lose weight] which matches well with their own identities and values as men,” the researchers from the University of Glasgow said.