What we will achieve at the end of the day
The project will develop two technologies to integrate within the EuroFIT programme. The first is a novel device (SitFIT) that allows self-monitoring of objectively measured sedentary time and physical activity through real-time feedback. SitFIT will be a low-cost device with an integrated display. The second is a game-based mobile-phone app, MatchFIT, in which players form ‘teams’ to participate in an ‘alternative MatchFIT league’ which mirrors fixtures in real football leagues. These technologies will be integrated into the new lifestyle change programme, EuroFIT, to be delivered in football club grounds by club coaches. EuroFIT will target improvements in physical activity, sedentary time and eating habits/diet.
The EuroFIT programme draws on the successful Football Fans in Training Programme (FFIT) which the Scottish research team developed in partnership with the Scottish Professional Football League Trust. Find out about the FFIT research and about its ongoing delivery in Scotland.
A two-arm, individually randomised, pragmatic, controlled trial of EuroFIT delivered in 15 top-flight football clubs in Portugal, Norway, the Netherlands and UK will investigate whether the EuroFIT programme can help participants achieve an increase of at least 1000 steps per day (about 10 minutes on average per day, or 70 minutes per week) of moderate intensity (3 METs) activity and an average decrease of at least 25 minutes per day spent expending less than 1.5 MET at least 12 months after their participation in EuroFIT. Secondary outcomes will investigate whether involvement with EuroFIT: a)reduces body weight by at least 5% at 12 months if baseline BMI is ≥25; b) reduces waist circumference at 12 months; c) improves eating habits at 12 months; d) reduces blood pressure at 12 weeks and 12 months; e) reduces risk of cardiovascular disease at 12 months, as measured by blood based biomarkers; f) increases positive affect and self-esteem, and improves quality of life at 12 weeks and 12 months; g) has the potential to provide a cost-effective use of resources.
The EuroFIT project will extend the value of the randomised controlled trial by investigating the full range of benefits (both anticipated and unanticipated) and harms that participants experienced and investigate whether changes men made were extended to family members and to wider social networks. The project will also investigate what modifications would be needed to make EuroFIT attractive to women, families and other groups.
EuroFIT will overcome the ‘know-do’ gap in the implementation of public health programmes by developing detailed, validated guidelines on how to replicate and implement the programme in settings that have not delivered EuroFIT as part of the evaluative research. The guidelines will be firmly embedded in experience and mean it is much more likely to be effective for sporting organisations across Europe to take up the approach.