Summary of our pilot project
- In WA, 80% of men risk the quality and length of their lives by carrying excess body weight.
- When designed appropriately, it is possible to engage men in weight management.
- In this project we explored whether Aussie-FIT is effective in capitalising on men’s passion for AFL as a ‘hook’ to engage them in, and benefit from, a 12-week physical activity and healthy eating program.
- Aussie-FIT was completed in groups of 15 over 12, weekly 90-minute sessions. Each session included a physical activity and education component. Men discussed important issues such as reducing drinking, understanding food labels, barriers to being active and developing strategies to make sustainable changes to eating and physical activity habits. Aussie-FIT was delivered by coaches who received 16 hours of training from the research team.
- 426 men registered interest; 306 (72%) were eligible. 130 were selected on a first-come-first-serve basis for the 130 available spots.
- Men were, on average, aged 46 and were obese (83%; BMI>35) or overweight (17%; BMI>28).
- After baseline, measurements including weight, physical activity, blood pressure and mental health men were randomly allocated to receive Aussie-FIT immediately or to wait 3 months.
- 3 months later, men who completed Aussie-FIT had lost 3.33kg (3%) more than men who were waiting for the program. They did more physical activity than the comparison group and meaningful differences were also observed in several other outcomes favouring the men who had completed Aussie-FIT.
- At 6 months, results indicated that those men who completed all assessments had lost 4.5% of their initial body weight.
- Health economics analyses showed Aussie-FIT was ‘good value for money’ by Australian standards.
- Aussie-FIT is feasible to deliver, shows promise in influencing health behaviours, and is a cost-effective way to reduce obesity.
- This pilot has informed a legacy plan now underway, which includes adaptations for other sports (e.g., rugby, soccer), groups of fans (e.g., women, men with clinical conditions) and a focus on broadening reach to disadvantaged men.