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

Study Questions:

Does a weight loss and healthy living program for soccer fans improve weight loss among obese men?


This was a randomized controlled trial of 747 male soccer fans, ages 35-65 years with a body mass index of ≥28 kg/m2 who belonged to 1 of 12 Scottish professional football (soccer) clubs. Participants were randomized in a 1:1 ratio (stratified by club) to either a weight loss program delivered by a community coaching staff in 12 weekly sessions, or usual care. The usual care group was put on a wait list and all participants received a booklet on weight management. The primary outcome of interest was mean difference in weight loss between groups at 12 months, expressed as absolute weight and a percentage of the baseline weight. Analyses were based on intention to treat.


A total of 374 men were assigned to both the intervention and control groups. Completion of the trial was excellent, with 89% of the intervention group and 95% of the control group completing the 12-month assessments. At 12 months, mean weight loss for the intervention group was 5.56 kg (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.70-6.43) and for the comparison group, 0.58 (95% CI, 0.03-1.00). Mean difference in weight loss was significantly better for the intervention group (4.95 kg; 95% CI, 3.95-5.94; p < 0.0001) after adjustment for baseline weight and sports club. Improvements in waist circumference, physical activity, and quality of life were also noted for the intervention group. Eight serious adverse events were reported, five in the intervention group (lost consciousness due to drugs for pre-existing angina, gallbladder removal, hospital admission with suspected heart attack, ruptured gut, and ruptured Achilles tendon) and three in the comparison group (transient ischemic attack, and two deaths). Of these, only two adverse events were reported as related to participation in the program (gallbladder removal and ruptured Achilles tendon).


The investigators concluded that a program targeted to sports fans can result in clinically important weight loss for obese males.


This innovative program improves engagement in men who are overweight or obese, but are less likely to enroll in usual weight loss programs. The program outlined in this study is most likely adaptable to sports fans in the United States.

Keywords: Ischemic Attack, Transient, Gallbladder, Overweight, Weight Loss, Waist Circumference, Body Mass Index, Weight Reduction Programs, Quality of Life, Motor Activity, Obesity, Confidence Intervals, United States

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