Success in Europe: EuroFIT

Issued: Thu, 04 Jul 2013 12:26:00 BST

Sally Wyke and Cindy Gray of the Institute of Health and Wellbeing and the School of Social and Political Sciences are to lead a new European project starting in November 2013. They have won €5,957,158.00 from the European Commission’s FP7 programme to develop and evaluate a programme to help men become more active and less sedentary in their lives. The project draws on sociological understandings of gender and social scientific evidence on lifestyle change in context and involves University of Glasgow colleagues in the School of Computing Science, Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences and Robertson Centre for Biostatistics. EuroFIT builds on existing research they lead with Professor Kate Hunt who leads the gender programme in the University of Glasgow’s MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Programme.

Concept and aim

20 million fans attend top division football games each week and many more watch on TV. Our social innovation is to attract people to lifestyle change through the personal connection and loyalty to the club they support. Our aim is to use this social innovation to change physical activity and sedentary behaviour, specially targeting low-SES groups and men as well as women. EuroFIT is supported by UEFA and top football clubs.

Workplan

  1. Produce a device (SitFIT) that provides real-time feedback on objectively measured sedentary time and physical activity.
  2. Deploy and evaluate smartphone games to drive activity through social interaction (MatchFIT).
  3. Integrate these with state-of-the-art evidence on behavioural change and its maintenance in a web-supported lifestyle programme delivered by top EU football clubs (EuroFIT).

End-users and policy-makers are involved throughout.

We will evaluate EuroFIT in a multi-centre randomised controlled trial to assess impact on physical activity and sedentary behaviour, physical and mental health. We will investigate the correlates of long term changes and impact on participants’ families. Finally we will develop a robust strategy for replication of EuroFIT.

Impact

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.


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