Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
Being overweight or obese is a major cause of ill health. Many men are overweight or obese, but are reluctant to join existing weight loss programmes. Professional football clubs, with their large (mainly male) fan base, have the potential to attract and support men to lose weight, become more active and live more healthily. Scottish Premier League (SPL) clubs, supported by the SPL Trust, are committed to providing the coaches and facilities to deliver a weight loss and healthy living programme for men aged 35-65 years. This programme is called Football Fans in Training (FFIT) and men who take part attend 12 weekly group sessions at the SPL club they support.
Who can participate?
Men aged 35-65 years with a body mass index of at least 28 kg/m2.
What does the study involve?
Participating men will be randomly allocated to either the intervention group or the comparison group. Men in the intervention group will take part in the Football Fans in Training programme, a weight loss, physical activity and healthy living programme consisting of 12 weekly 90-minute sessions of classroom-based discussion and pitch-side training. This study will find out whether the FFIT programme helps men lose at least 5% of their body weight when they are measured one year later compared with the comparison group men who did not take part in FFIT during that time period. The men in the comparison group will be offered a place on FFIT after the study is completed.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
The risks to men taking part in FFIT are very low. However, as some may be disappointed if they lose less weight than other men in their group, the coaches delivering the programme will be trained to give individual support where needed.
Where is the study run from?
Men will take part in FFIT at their local SPL Club.
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
The study is starting in June 2011 and will run until December 2013.
Who is funding the study?
Delivery of the FFIT programme is funded by the Scottish Government and Football Pools. The study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Public Health Research programme.
Who is the main contact?
Dr Cindy M Gray
Football Fans in Training (FFIT): A randomised controlled trial of a gender-sensitive weight loss and healthy living programme delivered to men aged 35-65 by Scottish Premier League (SPL) football clubs
To determine whether Football Fans in Training (FFIT), a gender-sensitive, weight loss, physical activity and healthy living programme delivered in SPL football clubs, can help men aged 35-65 years with BMI at least 28kg/m2 achieve a 5% reduction in body weight 12 months after the start of their participation in FFIT.
University of Glasgow College of Social Sciences Ethics Committe for Non Clinical Research Involving Human Subjects approved on 17th May 2011; Ref CSS/2011/029
Pragmatic two arm stratified randomised controlled trial
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Randomised controlled trial
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet
Overweight and obesity
Men in the intervention group will take part in the Football Fans in Training prgramme, an evidence-based, gender-sensitised, weight loss, physical activity and healthy living programme consisting of 12, weekly, 90-minute sessions of 'classroom-based' discussion and 'pitch-side' training. The programme fully adheres to National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) 2006 and Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) 2010 guidance. The comparison group will be offered a place on FFIT following the 12-month follow-up measurements.
Primary outcome measure
Percentage weight loss at 12 months
Secondary outcome measures
1. Percentage weight loss at 12 weeks
2. Percentage reduction in waist circumference and body fat (as measured by bioimpedance) at 12 weeks and 12 months
3. Physical activity: changes in self-reported frequency and duration of walking, moderate and vigorous activity, and sedentary behaviour over the last 7 days at 12 weeks and 12 months measured by the short International Physical Activity Questionnaire
4. Eating habits: changes in self-reported intake of key contributors to weight gain [e.g. fast foods, chocolate bars, chips, pies, sugary drinks] at 12 weeks and 12 months using questions adapted from the Dietary Instrument for Nutrition Education
5. Changes in self-reported alcohol consumption over the last 7 days at 12 weeks and 12
6. Reduction in resting blood pressure at 12 weeks and 12 months
7. Psychological outcomes
7.1. Changes in positive and negative affect as measured by the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule
7.2. Changes in self esteem as measured by the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale
7.3. Changes in health-related quality of life as measured by SF-12, all at 12 weeks and 12 months
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Men aged 35-65 years
2. Body mass index (BMI) at least 28kg/m2
3. Have completed the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire
4. Willing to consent to weight, height and waist measurements
Target number of participants
Participant exclusion criteria
1. Prior participation in FFIT
2. Men whose measured blood pressure (BP) contraindicates vigorous exercise will be excluded from in stadium training until they can provide evidence of its reduction
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
University of Glasgow
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) (UK) - Public Health Research programme (Ref 09/3010/06)
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Not provided at time of registration
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Not provided at time of registration
Basic results (scientific)
Hunt K, Wyke S, Gray CM, Anderson AS, Brady A, Bunn C, Donnan PT, Fenwick E, Grieve E, Leishman J, Miller E, Mutrie N, Rauchhaus P, White A, Treweek S, A gender-sensitised weight loss and healthy living programme for overweight and obese men delivered by Scottish Premier League football clubs (FFIT): a pragmatic randomised controlled trial., Lancet, 2014, 383, 9924, 1211-1221, doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62420-4.
Wyke S, Hunt K, Gray CM, Fenwick E, Bunn C, Donnan PT, Rauchhaus P, Mutrie N, Anderson AS, Boyer N, Brady A, Grieve E, White A, Ferrell C, Hindle E, Treweek S, Football Fans in Training (FFIT): a randomised controlled trial of a gender-sensitised weight loss and healthy living programme for men – end of study report.