22 Jun Physical activity and weight loss programme being trialled with Liverpool County FA
Overweight, obesity and physical inactivity represent a significant public health challenge. Following the pandemic, Healthy Stadia has teamed up with Liverpool County FA to help male football fans across the region regain their fitness and achieve a healthy weight.
In England, the majority of adults are living with overweight or obesity – 67% of men and 60% of women with those in the most deprived areas experiencing higher rates.
In 2018/2019, over 876,000 people were admitted to hospital where obesity was a factor, placing a huge burden on our NHS and healthcare system as well as making life challenging for many people living with overweight and obesity and associated health issues.
To compound the problem, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many of us live, work, and play, making it harder to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.
In response, Healthy Stadia has teamed up with Liverpool County FA to deliver the European Fans in Training or EuroFIT programme to male football fans aged 30 to 65 who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) ≥27 kg/m2.
The EuroFIT programme is a 12-week programme consisting of 90-minute sessions that combine classroom activities focusing on diet, alcohol consumption, as well as setting SMART goals with a phased return to physical activity.
At the core of EuroFIT is a robust walking programme that empowers participants to monitor their daily step count, and gradually increase this throughout the duration of the programme.
To date, EuroFIT has been delivered in professional sports settings in England, the Netherlands, Norway, and Portugal and has had major success in helping men lose weight, get active, and crucially, maintain these changes at 12-month follow-up.
This pilot is the first time EuroFIT, or indeed any other structured weight loss and physical activity programme, has been delivered in a grassroots sport setting and may present new opportunities for local authorities to support local, regional, and national public health priorities.
The current pilot programme is entering its tenth week with participants at the halfway stage already demonstrating weight loss and substantial incremental increase in step count. The ambition for the current cohort of men is to create a new walking football team to enable all men to continue making progress and maintain the gains achieved through the programme.
Further funding is now being sought to scale-up delivery.