Researchers in Canada evaluate the value of a new gender-sensitized weight loss program called Hockey FIT, designed specifically for men.
According to 2014 statistics, 62% of Canadian men self-reported being overweight or obese as opposed to 46% of women. Data indicates that men tend to feel underrepresented in promotional health programs. There is a need for a gender-sensitized weight loss program for men. To help combat this way of thinking, Canadian researchers have retooled a previous program, called Football Fans in Training, to include hockey culture fanatics. Hockey Fans in Training (Hockey FIT) is being vetted to become a new weight loss program with male-centric goals, education, and training.
Researchers evaluated the efficacy of the program using several metrics: the coaches’ experiences in Hockey FIT execution, participants’ feedback on the Hockey FIT program, and continual optimization of Hockey FIT. For the study, they selected 80 male hockey fans, ages 35-65 years, with a body mass index greater than 28 kg/m2, characterized as overweight
The Hockey FIT program consisted of a 12-week active phase including weekly 90-minute support sessions conducted at select fitness clubs or hockey arenas followed by a 40-week minimally-supported phase. The active phase also included a 90-minute classroom session supplemented by group-based exercise delivered by Hockey FIT coaches. Support tools such as private social networks and motivational emails were utilized in the 40-week minimal support phase. The results were recently published in BMC Public Health.
The results, based on coach and participant interviews, showed positive reception toward the program. Program participants felt that Hockey FIT coaches made personal investments in their health and well-being and were more motivated to attend future sessions and create new personal goals and exercise games. There was a need for improvement to the program in the areas of increasing mid-program attendance, nutrition education, and the number of hockey skills and drills, but researchers noted these as minor changes that would not require extensive retooling of the program design. The design of this program shows the viability of gender-sensitized programs targeting sports fans and with an innovative approach to fitness, can be used to improve overall health and fitness.
Written by Cooper Powers, BSc
Reference: Blunt, W., Gill, D.P., Sibbald, S.L., Riggin, B., Pulford, R., Scott, R., Danylchuk, K., et al. (2017). Optimization of the Hockey Fans in Training (Hockey FIT) weight loss and healthy lifestyle program for male hockey fans. BMC Public Health, 17(196). Retrieved from https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-017-4926-z