Mums to blame for chubby footy fans’ weightloss failures

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CHUBBY football fans have blamed their failure to lose weight on their mothers.

The Football Fans in Training (FFIT) programme allows men to take part in a group weight-loss programme which includes exercise sessions at their club’s football stadium and lessons on healthy eating.

The scheme was launched in 2011 and has 21 Scottish Football Clubs involved including the Old Firm and Hearts and Hibs.

But many fans who are struggling to shed weight claim over-indulgent mothers and mothers-in-law are piling up their plates.

A team of researchers from Glasgow University who conducted the programme found participants blamed their weight problems on the “deeply ingrained cultural values” of mothers who associate caring for their family with feeding them.

The study reported that women continued to serve what they considered “man-sized” portions and favourite treats such as puddings, which men found impossible to refuse.

Professor Kate Hunt, associate director of the Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at Glasgow University, said the behaviour may be linked to previous generations when the majority of men’s jobs were more physically demanding compared to today’s.

Ms Hunt said: “I think traditionally in our culture, we also use food for celebrating or as a way of giving people treats and showing people how much we care, whether it’s with a special birthday cake or making their favourite chocolate cake at the weekend.

“So I think it’s quite ingrained in our culture that one way of showing we care for people is to cook special food for them.

“I think it’s also quite deeply ingrained in some of our culture that men should eat man sized portions that are much bigger that the platefuls that women and children are eating.

“Some men talked about ways in which their own fathers ate when they were doing manual jobs and using an awful lot of energy during the day, and culturally these are the kinds of patterns that have been passed on.”

According to a study published in the medical journal the lancet in January this year men who took part in the scheme lost an average of just over 11 lbs a year and gave overwhelming positive feedback.

Ms Hunt said: “The beauty of FFIT is that it attracted men from the football clubs because dieting and weight-loss programmes had come to be seen so much as an issue for women.

“But there are just as many men in Scotland who could benefit from good weight management programmes- around three-quarters of men in Scotland are overweight or obese, officially.”

Brian MacFarlane, a 44 year-old Celtic fan took part in the study and lost almost four stone in one year. He recalled how his wife Hailey and 14 year-old-son lost weight which left him wanting to do the same.

He said: “Just at that moment, an email came in from FFIT and that was my motivation to go along to Celtic Park for their programme.

“Once Hailey saw I was going on the programme to lose weight, she was very supportive. We’ve completely changed as a family. We do exercises as a family and we look at what we are eating.”

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