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Football Fans in Training (FFIT): a randomised controlled trial of a gender-sensitised weight loss and healthy living programme for men – end of study report

Public Health Research, No. 3.2

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Author Information
Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library; .

Headline

This study aimed to assess (1) the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Football Fans in Training (FFIT) (a group-based, weight-management and healthy-living programme delivered by community coaches to men in topflight football clubs), (2) fidelity of delivery and (3) coach and participant experiences of FFIT. FFIT was popular and participation led to significant reductions in weight at 12 months. Analyses suggest it enabled lifestyle change. It was cost-effective, attracted men at high risk of future ill health and was enjoyable. Further research should investigate whether or not participants retained weight loss in the long term, how the programme could be optimised in relation to effectiveness and intensity of delivery and how group-based programmes may operate to enhance weight loss in comparison with individualised approaches.

Abstract

Background:

The prevalence of male obesity is increasing alongside low uptake of existing weight management programmes by men. Football Fans in Training (FFIT) is a group-based, weight management and healthy living programme delivered by community coaches.

Objectives:

To assess (1) the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of FFIT, (2) fidelity of delivery and (3) coach and participant experiences of FFIT.

Design:

A two-arm, pragmatic, randomised controlled trial; associated cost-effectiveness [in terms of incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) within trial and over individuals’ lifetimes]; and process evaluation. Participants were block randomised in a 1 : 1 ratio, stratified by club; the intervention group started FFIT within 3 weeks and the comparison group were put on a 12-month waiting list.

Setting:

Thirteen professional football clubs in Scotland, UK.

Participants:

A total of 747 men aged 35–65 years with an objectively measured body mass index (BMI) of ≥ 28 kg/m2.

Interventions:

FFIT was gender sensitised in context, content and style of delivery. A total of 12 weekly sessions delivered at club stadia combined effective behaviour change techniques with dietary information and physical activity sessions. Men carried out a pedometer-based walking programme. A light-touch maintenance programme included six e-mails and a reunion session at 9 months. At baseline, both groups received a weight management booklet, feedback on their BMI and advice to consult their general practitioner if blood pressure was high.

Primary outcome:

Mean difference in weight loss between groups at 12 months expressed as absolute weight and a percentage. Intention-to-treat analyses used all available data.

Data sources:

Objective measurements, questionnaires, observations, focus groups and coach interviews.

Results:

A total of 374 men were allocated to the intervention and 333 (89%) completed 12-month assessments; a total of 374 were allocated to the comparator and 355 (95%) completed 12-month assessments. At 12 months, the mean difference in weight loss between groups, adjusted for baseline weight and club, was 4.94 kg [95% confidence interval (CI) 3.95 kg to 5.94 kg]; percentage weight loss, similarly adjusted, was 4.36% (95% CI 3.64% to 5.08%), in favour of the intervention (p < 0.0001). Sensitivity analyses gave similar results. Pre-specified subgroup analyses found no significant predictors of primary outcome. Highly significant differences in favour of the intervention were observed for objectively measured waist, percentage body fat, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and self-reported physical activity, diet and indicators of well-being and physical aspects of quality of life. Eight serious adverse events were reported, of which two were reported as related to FFIT participation. From the within-trial analysis, FFIT was estimated to cost £862 per additional man maintaining a 5% weight reduction at 12 months and £13,847 per additional QALY, both compared with no intervention. For a cost-effectiveness threshold of £20,000/QALY, the probability that FFIT is cost-effective, compared with no active intervention, is 0.72. This probability rises to 0.89 for a cost-effectiveness threshold of £30,000/QALY. From the longer-term analysis, FFIT was estimated to cost £2535 per life-year gained and £2810 per QALY gained. FFIT was largely delivered as intended. The process evaluation demonstrated the powerful draw of football to attract men at high risk of ill health. FFIT was popular and analyses suggest that it enabled lifestyle change in ways that were congruent with participants’ identities.

Conclusions:

Participation in FFIT led to significant reductions in weight at 12 months. It was cost-effective at standard levels employed in the UK, attracted men at high risk of future ill health and was enjoyable. Further research should investigate whether or not participants retained weight loss in the long term, how the programme could be optimised in relation to effectiveness and intensity of delivery and how group-based programmes may operate to enhance weight loss in comparison with individualised approaches.

Study registration:

Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN32677491.

Funding:

Scottish Government and The Football Pools funded the delivery of FFIT. National Institute for Health Research Public Health Research programme funded the evaluation and will be published in full in Public Health Research; Vol. 3, No. 2. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.

Contents

Article history

The research reported in this issue of the journal was funded by the PHR programme as project number 09/3010/06. The contractual start date was in June 2011. The final report began editorial review in January 2014 and was accepted for publication in June 2014. The authors have been wholly responsible for all data collection, analysis and interpretation, and for writing up their work. The PHR editors and production house have tried to ensure the accuracy of the authors’ report and would like to thank the reviewers for their constructive comments on the final report document. However, they do not accept liability for damages or losses arising from material published in this report.

Declared competing interests of authors

Professor Peter Donnan has received research grants in the past from GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Otsuka and Amgen Inc. He is also a member of the New Drugs Committee of the Scottish Medicines Consortium. Dr Adrian Brady has received research grants from Merck, Servier, AstraZeneca and Bayer, has provided consultancy to Merck USA and Bayer Germany, and been awarded lecture fees and/or honoraria from Merck, Servier, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer and Bayer. Eleanor Grieve has received unrestricted research funds from Cambridge Weight Plan.

Disclaimer

This report contains transcripts of interviews conducted in the course of the research, or similar, and contains language which may offend some readers.

Copyright © Queen’s Printer and Controller of HMSO 2015. This work was produced by Wyke et al. under the terms of a commissioning contract issued by the Secretary of State for Health. This issue may be freely reproduced for the purposes of private research and study and extracts (or indeed, the full report) may be included in professional journals provided that suitable acknowledgement is made and the reproduction is not associated with any form of advertising. Applications for commercial reproduction should be addressed to: NIHR Journals Library, National Institute for Health Research, Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, Alpha House, University of Southampton Science Park, Southampton SO16 7NS, UK.

Included under terms of UK Non-commercial Government License.

Bookshelf ID: NBK273998PMID: 25654156DOI: 10.3310/phr03020

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