Game-changing fitness plan for football fans

An EU-funded project has developed a game-changing physical activity programme held at professional football clubs that motivates overweight fans to get moving and lead healthier lives. Its goal is to help prevent chronic diseases among middle-aged men and cut public healthcare costs.

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


  Infocentre

Published: 31 October 2018  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Health & life sciencesPublic health
Innovation
Research policySeventh Framework Programme
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Belgium  |  Ireland  |  Netherlands  |  Norway  |  Portugal  |  United Kingdom
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Game-changing fitness plan for football fans

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© #166038460 | Author: tinyakov, fotolia.com 2018

Men who are not physically active and overweight can face a host of health problems, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Often, regular exercise can make a big difference. But for many, getting going and staying motivated is a struggle.

The EU-funded EUROFIT project tackled that challenge by creating a lifestyle-change programme geared specifically towards male football fans that taps into their love of the game and loyalty towards their team.

The three-month EuroFIT programme – which grew out of collaboration with some 20 top football clubs in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal – consists of weekly 90-minute sessions. Comprising both physical activity and learning skills for behaviour change, it encourages men to lead more active, healthier lives. The sessions are held at football-club facilities and run by trained coaches.

As of January 2019, the programme will be made available under licence to football clubs, associations and league operators around Europe. It has already been adopted by the Portuguese Football Federation and has become part of Portugal’s national physical activity strategy.

‘With the overwhelming popularity of football amongst men, EuroFIT offers football organisations and commissioning agencies a cost-effective and targeted solution to intervene in the rising health problems and costs associated with inactivity and obesity within this population group,’ says project coordinator Sally Wyke of the University of Glasgow in the UK.

The programme was tested in a gold-standard, randomised control trial involving more than 1 100 men across Europe. It resulted in greater physical activity, increased weight loss, as well as improved diets and a boost in overall wellbeing, according to Wyke.

Full results will be published by the end of the year.

Getting an insider’s view of their club is a major draw for many men, Wyke says. ‘And they really enjoy the fact that the club they have supported all of their lives is now caring about them,’ she adds.

Project details

  • Project acronym:EUROFIT
  • Participants:UK (Coordinator), Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Ireland, Belgium
  • Project Reference N° 602170
  • Total cost: €7 775 325
  • EU contribution: €5 957 158
  • Duration:November 2013 - October 2018

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