EuroFIT report on CORDIS

You can find the EuroFIT January 2019 report now on the CORDIS website. Read it here.

CORDIS is the Community Research and Development Information Service. It is the European Commission’s primary public repository and portal to disseminate information on all EU-funded research projects and their results in the broadest sense.

Lifestyle change programmes run for fans by football clubs score health goals

A programme which targeted the lifestyles of male football fans of 15 European football clubs has been more effective in improving physical activity than other physical activity intervention programmes, according to research published in PLOS Medicine today, February 5, 2019.

The clubs involved were Arsenal, Everton, Newcastle, Manchester City, Stoke (England); ADO Den Haag, FC Groningen, PSV, Vitesse (the Netherlands); Rosenborg, Strømsgodset, Vålerenga (Norway); and SLBenfica, FCPorto, SportingCP (Portugal).

EuroFIT is a groundbreaking programme which harnesses the intense loyalty that many fans have for their club, using this to attract them to a lifestyle change programme at club facilities.

The European Fans in Training (EuroFIT) programme, an EU-funded randomised control trial of 1113 men aged 30-65, carried out across 15 professional football clubs in England, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal, also led to important improvements in diet, weight, wellbeing, self-esteem, vitality and biomarkers of health risk.

EuroFIT is delivered by club’s community coaches in football club stadia in 12 weekly, 90-minute sessions which are aimed at increasing physical activity, reducing time spent sitting and improving diet in a way that maintains change over the long term. A novel pocket-worn device (SitFIT) developed for EuroFIT by the Glasgow company PAL Technologies allowed self-monitoring of time spent sitting and daily steps, in real time while a game-based app encouraged between-session social support.

In the randomised control trial men were split into two groups. The first group undertook the 12-week, group-based EuroFIT programme straightaway, and the second, comparison, group were asked to wait until after the trial to take part. After a year, men who took part in EuroFIT were doing on average 678 steps a day more than the comparison group.  They had also improved their diet, eating more fruit and vegetables, less fat and less sugar and had increased wellbeing and vitality. However, attempts to reduce time spent sitting were not successful.  After a year men who did the programme were not sitting less than those who had to wait to take part.  

EuroFIT was built on the experience of the Football Fans in Training (FFIT) programme. FFIT was developed and evaluated by a team of researchers led by the University of Glasgow, is delivered in Scotland by the Scottish Professional Football League Trust and has been adapted for delivery in Canada and Australia.  Using cutting-edge behavioural science EuroFIT adds the novel technologies in a bid to prevent, rather than treat, chronic illnesses associated with inactivity, such as type2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In addition, EuroFIT included part of the “toolbox” of strategies for enhancing sustained behaviour change.

Professor Sally Wyke, the programme’s Principal Investigator and Interdisciplinary Professor of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow, said: “The results of our randomised control trial of EuroFIT support the findings of the earlier FFIT study. Gender-sensitised lifestyle programmes delivered in professional football clubs show great promise in Europe and could play an important public health role in engaging under-served men.

“The results also show that reducing the amount of time that people spend sitting is a real challenge for public health. We recommend that future lifestyle studies should attempt to ensure that participants understand the distinction between being more physically active and spending less time sitting down being very inactive. 

With a finalised version of the programme now successfully tested by additional pilot clubs in England, Netherlands, Norway and Portugal, project partner, European Healthy Stadia Network, will be responsible for the roll out of EuroFIT across Europe using a not-for-profit licensing system. Matthew Philpott, Executive Director of European Healthy Stadia Network, said: “We are hugely excited about the roll-out of EuroFIT, as we now know this intervention is effective across different European countries. We are working with our partners at UEFA to promote this evidence-based lifestyle programme to European football, and are already planning delivery of the programme in a number of new territories this Spring, with the aim of having EuroFIT embedded across European football over the next 5 years.”

Read the paper here.

Media contact: Liz Buie, Head of Communications, Communications and Public Affairs Office, University of Glasgow. 0141 330 2702 / 07527 335373

EuroFIT has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 602170. The material presented and views expressed here are the responsibility of the author(s) only. The EU Commission takes no responsibility for any use made of the information set out.

EuroFIT at the 2018 Amsterdam Public Health meeting

Drs. Hidde van der Ploeg, Judith Jelsma and Femke Van Nassau presented EuroFIT results during the annual meeting of the Amsterdam Public Health (APH) research institute. Their presentation was part of an interactive panel discussion with a PSV coach and two managers from Blackburn Rovers. Hidde van der Ploeg commented, “It was great to talk to our Dutch research colleagues about EuroFIT. Representatives from Blackburn and PSV gave an excellent feel for the EuroFIT club and participant experience”.

The APH meeting in Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam, NL took place on 22 November 2018. Read the more about the meeting and read the programme here

EuroFIT results presented at A Coruña sports conference


On November 23, 2018 EuroFIT Coordinator Professor Sally Wyke of University of Glasgow presented EuroFIT results at the X Congreso Internacional de le Asociacón Espanola de Ciencias del Deporte. The meeting was organized by the Spanish Association of Sports Sciences and hosted by the Faculty of Sport Sciences and Physical Education at the University of A Coruña in A Coruña, Spain on 21-23 November 2018.

Sally Wyke comments: ‘It was great to tell Spanish Sports Scientists about EuroFIT and how it works. There was a lot of interest in the whole approach.’

Find the conference programme here.

EuroFIT launch into the real world of football and public health deemed a great success

Football clubs, National Associations and key agencies such as the World Health Organisation, European Commission and UEFA gathered for the EuroFIT Launch Event held at Scotland House in Brussels on 31 October 2018. The aim of the event was to celebrate the success of the research project and to learn how the ground-breaking programme will be rolled out across Europe.

EuroFIT Coordinator Prof Sally Wyke commented, “The launch of EuroFIT into the real world of football and public health was a great success.  Over 70 people from different countries and organisation came together.  We have scientific evidence of effectiveness and cost-effectiveness and research-based guidelines on how to deliver the programme in football clubs.  We have a pragmatic, inexpensive, not-for-profit licensing system that will protect the fidelity of the programme and ensure that outcomes are the same.  All in all a great investment from the European Commission.”

Press coverage of the launch event and photos:

EuroFIT Launch press release

FPF em destaque no balanço do EuroFIT


Photos from the event:

EuroFIT programme Launch in Brussels 31 Oct – press release

The EuroFIT programme will be officially launched in Brussels on 31 October, with the participation and support of UEFA and the European Commission, participating clubs and the fully EuroFIT consortium team.

A small number of delegate places (free of charge) are still available.

For details, see our press release here.

EuroFIT’s clinical trial presented at WHO European Healthy Cities conference, Belfast

EuroFIT Coordinator, Prof Sally Wyke of the Institute of Health & Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow facilitated a session at the WHO European Healthy Cities Network’s 2018 International Healthy Cities Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK.  Sally’s talk, “Effectiveness of European Fans in Training (EuroFIT) randomized controlled trial in England, Portugal, the Netherlands and Norway” occurred on 1 October 2018 and was well-received. The conference has been organized by EuroFIT’s partner the Healthy Stadia Network.

The WHO European Healthy Cities Network was launched in 1988 as a political, cross-cutting and intersectoral initiative and movement in direct collaboration with cities across the WHO European Region. It is a crucial platform for bringing about change and achieving improved health, well-being, and equitable and sustainable development in cities across the Region and globally.

The 2018 International Healthy Cities Conference marks thirty years of the Network and the global Healthy Cities movement. The Conference presents the opportunity to learn from the work of healthy cities globally. It attracts politicians and key decision-makers from within cities, as well as technical experts. The meeting runs from 1-4 October 2018.

Prof Sally Wyke presents EuroFIT for the Society for Social Medicine

EuroFIT Coordinator, Professor Sally Wyke of the Institute of Health and Well Being at the University of Glasgow presented at the Society for Social Medicine meeting today. Sally’s talk entitled “Effectiveness of European Fans in Training (EuroFIT): randomized controlled trial in England, Portugal, the Netherlands and Norway” described the project’s origins, its core components, objectives, and the EuroFIT randomized controlled trial including its primary and secondary outcomes, effectiveness, and strengths and weaknesses.

This 62nd Society for Social Medicine meeting is being held in Glasgow this year and runs from the 5-7 September 2018. The three-day academic and professional conference offers a mix of high quality, peer-reviewed oral presentations, posters and workshops and ample opportunity for networking.

Prof Roberts raises awareness of EuroFIT at International Association of Applied Psychology meeting

The Norwegian School of Sport Sciences’ Prof Glyn Roberts was an invited symposium speaker at the International Congress of Applied Psychology in Montreal, Canada. Glyn’s talk was entitled, “Motivation strategies for sustained behavior change in active lifestyle interventions: The EuroFIT project”. The meeting was held from June 26-30, 2018.

Every four years the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP) organizes the ICAP world congress of applied psychology which serves as a review of advances in applied psychology and unites several thousand psychologists from all over the world.


EuroFIT at the FPF City of Football facilities

The Portuguese Football Federation, as a sponsor of the EuroFIT Portuguese pilots and to establish the social norm in Portugal by being an example to football clubs, hosted the EuroFIT program at the City of Football facilities (home of the Portuguese National team).  Eighteen participants, overweight and sedentary men, managers and staff from small football clubs, participated in the program. The feedback was extremely positive!

From the coaches’ point of view:

“It was an exceptional experience. All the participants increased their levels of physical activity and improved their eating habits. If they maintain this lifestyle, they’ll have a healthier life.”

Participants were also very satisfied for having this opportunity:

“Being here, in the City of Football, in the place where the Portuguese “stars” also play, being able to enjoy this atmosphere and to know some “legends” of the Portuguese football is incredible.”

“There was a big transformation, I would say almost radical eh eh.”

“I’ve learned a lot!.”

“It was a pleasure to be at this place.”

Learn more here.