The intervention process in the European Fans in Training (EuroFIT) trial: A mixed method protocol for evaluation



van de Glind I, Bunn C, Gray C, Hunt K, Andersen E, Jelsma J, Morgan H, Pereira H, Roberts G, Rooksby J, Roynesdal O, Silva M, Sorensen M, Treweek S & van Achterberg T (2017) The intervention process in the European Fans in Training (EuroFIT) trial: A mixed method protocol for evaluation. Trials, 18 (1), Art. No.: 356.

Background:  EuroFIT is a gender-sensitised, health and lifestyle program targeting physical activity, sedentary time and dietary behaviours in men. The delivery of the program in football clubs, led by the clubs' community coaches, is designed to both attract and engage men in lifestyle change through an interest in football or loyalty to the club they support. The EuroFIT program will be evaluated in a multicentre pragmatic randomised controlled trial (RCT), for which ~1000 overweight men, aged 30-65 years, will be recruited in 15 top professional football clubs in the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the UK. The process evaluation is designed to investigate how implementation within the RCT is achieved in the various football clubs and countries and the processes through which EuroFIT affects outcomes.  Methods:  This mixed methods evaluation is guided by the Medical Research Council (MRC) guidance for conducting process evaluations of complex interventions. Data will be collected in the intervention arm of the EuroFIT trial through: participant questionnaires (n = 500); attendance sheets and coach logs (n = 360); observations of sessions (n = 30); coach questionnaires (n = 30); usage logs from a novel device for self-monitoring physical activity and non-sedentary behaviour (SitFIT); an app-based game to promote social support for physical activity outside program sessions (MatchFIT); interviews with coaches (n = 15); football club representatives (n = 15); and focus groups with participants (n = 30). Written standard operating procedures are used to ensure quality and consistency in data collection and analysis across the participating countries. Data will be analysed thematically within datasets and overall synthesis of findings will address the processes through which the program is implemented in various countries and clubs and through which it affects outcomes, with careful attention to the context of the football club.  Discussion:  The process evaluation will provide a comprehensive account of what was necessary to implement the EuroFIT program in professional football clubs within a trial setting and how outcomes were affected by the program. This will allow us to re-appraise the program's conceptual base, optimise the program for post-trial implementation and roll out, and offer suggestions for the development and implementation of future initiatives to promote health and wellbeing through professional sports clubs.  Trial Registration: ISRCTN81935608. Registered on 16 June 2015.

Process evaluation; Complex intervention; Health promotion; Public health; Sedentary lifestyle; Physical activity; Diet; Behaviour change; Football; Men’s health; Masculinity; Sports stadia

Additional co-authors: H van der Ploeg, F van Nassau, M Nijhuis-van der Sanden and S Wyke

Trials: Volume 18, Issue 1

Publication date27/07/2017
Publication date online27/07/2017
Date accepted by journal11/07/2017
PublisherBioMed Central

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Professor Kate Hunt

Professor Kate Hunt

Professor, Institute for Social Marketing