NHS Chief hails scheme to help footy fans to slim down
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens has backed a scheme that lets overweight football fans train at their club’s stadium, encouraging them to get fit and live a healthier, more active life.
Five clubs from the English Football League Trust are already taking part in the Football Fans in Training (FFIT) programme, first run in Scotland – which sees overweight men coached for 12 weeks at their team’s home ground.
Clubs put on a three-month programme of exercise and sports and give advice on healthy eating. One programme at Swindon FC saw 30 men lose more than 40 stone in weight.
The EFL Trust wants to see the programme spread to more communities by setting up new partnerships to boost the impact of the scheme.
The scheme was developed in 2010 and is operated by the Scottish Premier Football League Trust north of the border.
Simon Stevens said that rolling out the scheme in England will help cut type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related problems including heart disease and several types of cancer, improving health and relieving pressure on the NHS.
And as the NHS prepares to publish its Long Term Plan that will have a renewed focus on illness prevention, he said commissioners should consider enabling GPs to refer supporters to the scheme as part of the growing move toward ‘social prescribing’.
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “Obesity is a public health emergency and tackling it needs to be a team effort.
“Football clubs are the centre of communities across England and working with them to encourage fans to get fit is a great idea that can produce real results.
“As the NHS prepares to publish a long term plan that will include a renewed focus on prevention, commissioners should consider whether schemes like this can help patients live fitter, healthier lives – and take pressure off on NHS services.”
In England the FFIT is currently available at Swindon Town, Wycombe Wanderers, Blackpool, Middlesbrough and Charlton Athletic. Local NHS services also work with Widnes Vikings rugby team, helping children exercise regularly through coaching by rugby players.
Mike Evans, Director of Operations at EFL Trust said: “The EFL Trust is committed to improving the lives of people within EFL communities across country and Football Fans in Training is proven to be a great way to get people to think about sustainable changes to improve their lives. We are proud of the work in our EFL Clubs in this area so far and hope to do more to address this important challenge going forward.”
The FFIT scheme is the only evidence-based programme of its kind.
Experts at the University of Glasgow, who studied the programme’s Scottish roll-out, said the men lost more than nine times as much weight as those who had not done the programme.
Men who followed FFIT in Scotland saw improvements to their health and wellbeing, with two in five maintaining a weight loss of at least 5% of their original body weight a year later.
The EFL Trust supports, advises and resources the network of community organisations associated with the 72 EFL Clubs.
Last month, NHS England announced a major expansion of its Diabetes Prevention Programme after it proved successful in early trials.
Low-calorie diets will also be piloted as part of the NHS long term plan.
Latest News from
NHS top doctor prompts stronger mental health safeguards on high street botox21/01/2019 13:15:00
Superdrug will introduce new mental health checks for customers who want to undergo cosmetic procedures, after England’s top doctor called on the beauty chain and other providers to do more to protect people against body image pressures.
NHS England’s plan to eliminate Hepatitis C decisively backed by High Court18/01/2019 15:25:00
NHS England’s plan to eliminate Hepatitis C in England by 2025 is on track after all aspects of a High Court challenge by pharmaceutical company AbbVie were dismissed.
NHS commits to long term support for race equality17/01/2019 13:15:00
A team of experts and £1 million annual investment are part of a package of measures in the NHS Long Term Plan, to improve race equality in the health service, as a new report highlights the experience of black and minority ethnic (BME) people working in the NHS.
Patients avoid 7,500 nights in hospital with ‘tailored’ home help scheme16/01/2019 11:15:00
An NHS programme in Somerset has helped patients avoid 7,500 nights in hospital and freed up at least £2 million for other services.
Update on the PrEP Impact Trial14/01/2019 10:15:00
Implementation of the PrEP Impact trial has been a huge success with over 10,000 participants already enrolled in this important HIV prevention measure.
Local health groups allocated £570 billion to fund the NHS Long Term Plan10/01/2019 16:20:00
Local health services today are being allocated £570 billion to fund NHS services and implement the new long term plan.
GP practices free up 3,000 extra patient appointments through Primary Care Network10/01/2019 15:15:00
GP practices in Luton have worked together to provide more than 3,000 extra appointments a year including halving the number of appointments lost due to patient non-attendance.
Skill and dedication of NHS staff praised as health service productivity outstrips the rest of the economy10/01/2019 11:15:00
Hardworking NHS staff boosted productivity by 3% in a single year, dramatically outstripping productivity growth in the rest of the economy new figures revealed yesterday.
NHS Long Term Plan to tackle major killer conditions and save up to half a million lives08/01/2019 10:15:00
The NHS Long Term Plan, published yesterday, will save almost half a million more lives with practical action on major killer conditions and investment in world class, cutting edge treatments including genomic tests for every child with cancer.