A new study published in The Lancet suggests that getting football fans to participate in training sessions with their favorite clubs could help them slim down.
The study was conducted by researchers at Glasgow University who invited around 374 overweight football fans to take part in a 12-week program of training sessions at their local clubs. Around 13 Scottish league clubs took part in the study, including Aberdeen, Celtic, Dundee United, Dunfermline Athletic, Hamilton Academical, Heart of Midlothian, Hibernian, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Kilmarnock, Motherwell, Rangers, St Johnstone and St Mirren.
A similar number of fans were kept on a waiting list with healthy-eating advice and tips on weight management offered to all 748 men. At the end of one year, the researchers found that those who participated in the training program had lost an average of 5kg compared to those on the waiting list while around 40 percent of the men managed to maintain a weight loss of at least 5 percent of their original body weight 12 months later.
"Participants really enjoyed being with other men like them, with a shared interest in football and similar health issues to address. They loved having the opportunity to spend time at the club, using parts of the stadium that they couldn't ordinarily access. And they appreciated the chance to be encouraged, trained, and informed by the club's coaches. This model has real potential for the future", co-author Prof Kate Hunt said.