Study protocol of European Fans in Training (EuroFIT): a four-country randomised controlled trial of a lifestyle program for men delivered in elite football clubs: a four-country randomised controlled trial of a lifestyle program for men delivered in elite football clubs

Femke van Nassau, Hidde P. van der Ploeg, Frank Abrahamsen, Eivind Andersen, Annie S. Anderson, Judith E. Bosmans, Christopher Bunn, Matthew Chalmers, Ciaran Clissmann, Jason M. R. Gill, Cindy M. Gray, Kate Hunt, Judith G. M. Jelsma, Jennifer G. La Guardia, Pierre N. Lemyre, David W. Loudon, Lisa Macaulay, Douglas J. Maxwell, Alex McConnachie, Anne MartinNikos Mourselas, Nanette Mutrie, Ria Nijhuis-van der Sanden, Kylie O'Brien, Hugo V. Pereira, Matthew Philpott, Glyn C. Roberts, John Rooksby, Mattias Rost, Oystein Roynesdal, Naveed Sattar, Marlene N. Silva, Marit Sorensen, Pedro J. Teixeira, Shaun Treweek, Theo van Achterberg, Irene van de Glind, Willem van Mechelen, Sally Wyke, Øystein Røynesdal

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27 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Lifestyle interventions targeting physical activity, sedentary time and dietary behaviours have the potential to initiate and support behavioural change and result in public health gain. Although men have often been reluctant to engage in such lifestyle programs, many are at high risk of several chronic conditions. We have developed an evidence and theory-based, gender sensitised, health and lifestyle program (European Fans in Training (EuroFIT)), which is designed to attract men through the loyalty they feel to the football club they support. This paper describes the study protocol to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the EuroFIT program in supporting men to improve their level of physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour over 12 months.

METHODS: The EuroFIT study is a pragmatic, two-arm, randomised controlled trial conducted in 15 football clubs in the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the UK (England). One-thousand men, aged 30 to 65 years, with a self-reported Body Mass Index (BMI) ≥27 kg/m(2) will be recruited and individually randomised. The primary outcomes are objectively-assessed changes in total physical activity (steps per day) and total sedentary time (minutes per day) at 12 months after baseline assessment. Secondary outcomes are weight, BMI, waist circumference, resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure, cardio-metabolic blood biomarkers, food intake, self-reported physical activity and sedentary time, wellbeing, self-esteem, vitality and quality of life. Cost-effectiveness will be assessed and a process evaluation conducted. The EuroFIT program will be delivered over 12 weekly, 90-minute sessions that combine classroom discussion with graded physical activity in the setting of the football club. Classroom sessions provide participants with a toolbox of behaviour change techniques to initiate and sustain long-term lifestyle changes. The coaches will receive two days of training to enable them to create a positive social environment that supports men in engaging in sustained behaviour change.

DISCUSSION: The EuroFIT trial will provide evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the EuroFIT program delivered by football clubs to their male fans, and will offer insight into factors associated with success in making sustained changes to physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and secondary outcomes, such as diet.


ISRCTN: 81935608 . Registered 16 June 2015.

Original languageEnglish
Article number598
Pages (from-to)598
JournalBMC public health
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2016


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardio-metabolic health
  • Diet
  • England
  • Exercise
  • Football
  • Football club
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Intervention
  • Journal Article
  • Long-term behaviour change
  • Male
  • Men's health
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Obesity
  • Peer Influence
  • Physical activity
  • Portugal
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomised controlled trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Sedentary behaviour
  • Self Report
  • Soccer

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