A gender-sensitised weight-loss and healthy living program for men with overweight and obesity in Australian Football League settings (Aussie-FIT): A pilot randomised controlled trial



Kwasnicka D, Ntoumanis N, Hunt K, Gray CM, Newton RU, Gucciardi DF, Thøgersen-Ntoumani C, Olson JL, McVeigh J, Kerr DA, Wyke S, Morgan PJ, Robinson S, Makate M & Quested E (2020) A gender-sensitised weight-loss and healthy living program for men with overweight and obesity in Australian Football League settings (Aussie-FIT): A pilot randomised controlled trial. PLoS Medicine, 17 (8), Art. No.: e1003136.

Background: Recent evidence shows that sport settings can act as a powerful draw to engage men in weight loss. The primary objective of this pilot study was to test feasibility of delivering and evaluating preliminary efficacy of Aussie-FIT, a weight loss program for overweight/obese men delivered in Australian Football League settings, in preparation for a future definitive trial. Methods and Findings: This 6-month pilot trial took place in Perth, Australia. Participants were overweight/obese (BMI > 28 kg/m2), middle-aged (35-65 years old) men. Participants were recruited in May 2018 and the intervention took place between June and December 2018. The intervention involved 12 weekly 90-minute face-to-face sessions, incorporating physical activity, nutrition, and behaviour change information and practical activities delivered by coaches at two clubs. Data were collected at baseline and immediately post-intervention. For trial feasibility purposes, 6-month follow-ups were completed. Outcomes were differences in weight loss (primary outcome), and recruitment and retention rates, self-reported measures (e.g., psychological well-being), device-measured physical activity, waist size, and blood pressure at 3-months. Within three days of advertising at each club, 426 men registered interest; 306 (72%) were eligible. Men were selected on first-come first-served basis (n = 130; M age = 45.8, SD = 8; M 17 BMI = 34.48 kg/m2, SD = 4.87) and randomised by a blinded researcher. Trial retention was 86% and 63% at 3- and 6-month follow-ups (respectively). No adverse events were reported. At 3 months, mean difference in weight between groups, adjusted for baseline weight and group, was 3.3kg (95% CI 1.9, 4.8) in favour of the intervention group (p < 0.001). The intervention group’s moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was higher than the control group by 8.54 mins/day (95% CI 1.37, 15.71, p = 0.02). MVPA among men attracted to Aussie-FIT was high at baseline (intervention arm 35.61 min/day, control arm 38.38 min/day), which may have limited the scope for improvement. Conclusions: Aussie-FIT was feasible to deliver; participants increased physical activity, decreased weight, and reported improvements in other outcomes. Issues with retention were a limitation of this trial. In a future, fully powered randomised controlled trial (RCT), retention could be improved by conducting assessments outside of holiday seasons.

Intervention; Men; Overweight; Obese; Physical Activity; Diet; Weight Loss; Behaviour Change; Randomised Controlled Trial

PLoS Medicine: Volume 17, Issue 8

FundersMedical Research Council and Chief Scientist Office
Publication date31/08/2020
Publication date online06/08/2020
Date accepted by journal25/06/2020

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Professor Kate Hunt

Professor Kate Hunt

Professor, Institute for Social Marketing