Football Fans in Training (FFIT) was developed in response to two concerns:
- The ‘obesity pandemic’: forecasts suggest that, by 2030, up to half of adults in the UK will be obese, costing the UK economy as much as £2 billion every year.
- Commercial and NHS weight management programmes are still predominantly attended by women. This is reflected in the growing evidence base on what works in weight management interventions.
The idea behind FFIT was to tap the potential of professional football clubs to engage overweight and obese men in weight loss. It was hoped that by using professional football clubs as a setting for a weight management group, men’s loyalty to their football team would encourage them to sign up.
The FFIT research project began as a feasibility study funded by the Chief Scientist Office and SPL Trust (now the SPFL Trust) in 2010. For more information about development and piloting, see here. Following this, a full scale randomised controlled trial commenced in 2011, funded by the National Institute for Health Research Public Health Programme. For more information about the evaluation, see here.