In 2007, a Health and Lifestyle survey in Hull, UK showed a high prevalence of overweight and obese individuals in the adult population. While weight management services were available to adults in the city, only 10% of adult males were making use of available programs, prompting NHS Hull to create Fit Fans – a weight management service designed specifically to engage with men aged 40 to 65, particularly those from lower socio-economic groups, who were interested in losing weight. Extensive research was carried out to better understand the characteristics, motivations, and behaviors of this target audience via a literature review, stakeholder consultations, and qualitative and quantitative research with residents. Data collected was used to guide the development of Fit Fans, which took the shape of a free, 12-week weight loss program with weekly sessions that consisted of 20-30 minutes of classroom-style discussion followed by 40 minutes of physical activity. Communication materials promoting the program were displayed throughout Hull on billboards, bus panels, and washroom panels in pubs, and additionally via community events and 30-second radio advertisements. Men participating in the program could participate in sessions at a level suitable for their ability which were led by skilled professionals and set in big sports clubs located across Hull. In addition to group sessions, one-on-one coaching was provided each month and a single point of access was created to make it easy for individuals to obtain information on other weight management services. Program evaluations were conducted six months after the launch of Fit Fans and again at the one-year point. In year one, 413 men completed the Fit Fans program, with 50% of participants achieving a 5% or more drop in weight.
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