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Watching Football as Medicine: promoting health at the football stadium.

Parry, K. D., George, E.S., Richards, J. and Stevens, A., 2019. Watching Football as Medicine: promoting health at the football stadium. In: Krustrup, P. and Parnell, D., eds. Football as Medicine: Prescribing Football for Global Health Promotion. London: Routledge, 183-200.

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Abstract

This chapter assesses the potential that watching football at stadia holds for health promotion. Football matches serve as a release for fans from their everyday life and resultantly becomes a site where they can engage in indulgent behaviour by eating and drinking to excess. However, the European Healthy Stadia Network provides a variety of initiatives that are designed to encourage healthier practices at stadia. The chapter critically examines the food provided at stadia, highlighting those attributes that may result in it being healthy or unhealthy and the measures needed to move towards healthier stadia. Away from food, we also detail a number of evidence-based programmes that encourage football fans to be more physically active. The first of these is the Football Fans in Training programme, which used sports clubs and their stadia to target men, a hard-to-reach population group. A variety of subsequent programmes from Europe, New Zealand, and Australia are also analysed. The potential for stadia to increase physical activity is then discussed, providing evidence for the activity levels that are associated with attending stadia in person. Stadia-based initiatives are not without their challenges, particularly due to the abundance of ‘unhealthy’ sponsors that are evident at many venues. Health promotion messages at stadia can become lost within these more glamorous advertisers. Furthermore, sports fans are also highly routine in their match day behaviours and resistant to engage with non-football-related messages. Despite these challenges, the case of Forest Green Rovers, the world’s first vegan football club, provides evidence that established patterns of behaviour can be changed, promoting healthier alternatives.

Item Type:Book Section
ISBN:9780367248888, 9780429284892
Number of Pages:266
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:34265
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:08 Jul 2020 13:11
Last Modified:08 Jul 2020 13:11

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