Are you a rugby fan who wants to improve your health? A clinical study suggests that a healthy lifestyle program delivered through professional rugby clubs could be just what you need to get on track.
In New Zealand (NZ), 31% of adults are obese (BMI > 30 kg/m2) and a further 35% are overweight. It has been estimated that excess weight costs NZ at least $NZ 2 Billion per year. Therefore, effective, sustainable, and appealing healthy lifestyle programs are needed to meet the needs of overweight and obese NZ men.
The Rugby Fans In Training-NZ (RUFIT-NZ) is a weight management and healthy lifestyle program designed to support overweight/obese men to lose weight, delivered via professional rugby clubs in NZ.
Clinical TrialA clinical trial was conducted to determine the safety and effectiveness of the RUFIT program in reducing weight and improving clinical outcomes in obese/overweight men.
The trial was conducted in New Zealand and involved 200 overweight men who were randomly assigned to either the RUFIT program or a control group.
The RUFIT program was delivered over 12 weeks by professional rugby clubs and each intervention session included: 1) a 1-h workshop-based education component focused on nutrition, physical activity, sleep, sedentary behavior, and behavior change strategies for sustaining a healthier lifestyle; and 2) a 1-h group-based, but individually tailored, exercise training session. The primary outcome was a change in body weight from baseline to 52 weeks.
The results of the clinical study were promising. At 52 weeks, the average difference in weight change between the two groups was 2.77 kg in favor of the RUFIT group. Additionally, there were significant differences between the two groups in fruit and vegetable consumption, waist circumference, fitness outcomes, physical activity levels, and health-related quality of life at both 12 and 52 weeks. These changes favored the RUFIT group. However, the RUFIT program did not report any significant effects on blood pressure and sleep.