Male-friendly services are kicking goals across Europe, where male football fans turned up for health and lifestyle classes at their favourite clubs.
The 12-week, group-based initiative was speared by EuroFIT, an EU-funded project that harnesses “the love of the game” to engage football fans in health-promoting lifestyle changes through their connection to clubs.
Participants at clubs from Arsenal, Manchester City, Newcastle and Stoke City were offered a range of activities to get them moving under the guidance of football coaches, and were also given recommendations on diet.
A follow-up study by PLOS Medicine (Public Library of Science) surveyed 1113 men aged 30-65 who took part in the trial at 15 clubs across England, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal.
“EuroFIT was primarily designed to support men to become more physically active, reduce their sedentary time, and maintain these changes to at least 12 months after baseline,” the study reported.
“There were significant improvements in diet, weight, well-being, self-esteem, vitality, and biomarkers of cardiometabolic health in favour of the intervention group, but not in quality of life,” the study found.
“Men attracted to the program already had quite high levels of physical activity at baseline (8,372 steps/day), which may have limited room for improvement. Although participants came from across the socioeconomic spectrum, a majority were well educated and in paid work.”
The intervention significantly improved self-reported well-being, self-esteem and vitality, the study said.
The authors surmised that “gender-sensitised lifestyle programs delivered in professional football clubs have shown great promise in Europe and could play an important public health role in engaging underserved men.”
Participants’ activity was monitored by wearable devices and a game-based app to log activity.
VIEW: European Fans in Training (EUROFIT) Study (PLOS Medicine)
READ: Football fans score health benefits in EU-funded fitness scheme (The Guardian)
VIEW: The EuroFIT project (EuroFIT)