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Program Linked to Professional Soccer Teams Helps Men Lose Weight

Summary and Comment |
January 30, 2014

Program Linked to Professional Soccer Teams Helps Men Lose Weight

  1. Bruce Soloway, MD

Weight loss was significant among overweight soccer fans enrolled in this team-based intervention.

  1. Bruce Soloway, MD

Men are poorly represented in commercial weight-loss programs and clinical trials of weight-loss interventions. Now, researchers report results of a study in which 747 overweight and obese men (age range, 35–65; body-mass index, ≥28 kg/m2) were recruited through Scottish professional football (soccer) league clubs to participate in a program of dietary advice and physical activity, with context, content, and delivery style tailored specifically to men. The program consisted of 12 weekly sessions conducted by team-employed community coaches in home-team stadiums using team-branded materials and peer-support activities that encouraged male banter, followed by a 9-month weight-loss maintenance phase that involved e-mails and group reunions at team clubs. Participants were randomized to receive the intervention immediately (intervention group) or after a 12-month waiting period (comparison group).

At 12 weeks, mean weight loss was significantly greater in the intervention group than in the comparison group (5.8 kg vs. 0.4 kg), and the difference was largely unchanged at 12 months (5.6 kg vs. 0.6 kg). Other 12-month between-group differences that significantly favored intervention participants were waist circumference; percent body fat; blood pressure; and self-reported physical activity, dietary behaviors, psychological health, and physical health–related quality of life.

Comment

Interventions designed to change health-related behaviors in specific populations might be more effective if they're delivered by trusted figures in supportive settings outside of traditional health care environments. Similar “outside-the-box” programs tailored to other groups and behaviors merit rigorous investigation.

  • Disclosures for Bruce Soloway, MD at time of publication Nothing to disclose

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