Social Innovation to improve physical activity and sedentary behaviour through elite European football clubs; European Fans in Training (EuroFIT) (WC2013-065 HZ)


Starting date: 01/11/2013

20 million fans attend top division football games each week and many more watch on TV. Our aim is to attract these men, specially targeting low-SES men who do not achieve current recommendations for physical activity, to lifestyle change through the personal connection and loyalty to the club they support using the European Fans in Training (EuroFIT) programme. EuroFIT is informed and inspired by the Scottish FFIT programme, which validated several of the key concepts that underpin this project.

We will integrate two technologies 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. 

We will generate excellent research evidence on the use of social innovation for health. Social impact will include reductions in health risk, improvements in well-being and the decreased inequalities as more men, especially those in low SES groups, are attracted to lifestyle change. Research impact will utilise new understanding of the how health indicators respond to change in sedentary behaviour and physical activity and through new knowledge of long-term maintenance of lifestyle changes. Policy impact will result from the production of clear implementation strategies and involvement of policy makers and opinion leaders from the outset, supported by a targeted communication strategy.