A FOOTBALL programme that has helped more than 15,000 men tackle obesity is coming to Abingdon next month.

The club, which is aimed at overweight and obese men with a BMI of higher than 27.5 and organised by Man v Fat Football, will meet on Wednesday evenings at Tilsley Park, in Dunmore Road from July 6.

Similar clubs already take place in Oxford, Bicester and Banbury and through the programme, 70 men from all over the county lost over 1,500 pounds of weight last year.

Ashley Smith, from Bicester, decided to join as he realised he was finding it difficult to walk to work and lost eight stones thanks to the programme.

He said: “I don’t like exercising, but I like football and Man v Fat doesn’t feel like exercise. What I enjoy most about it is the atmosphere, we're a group of people who drive each other to lose weight and improve our lifestyle. It also makes you feel that you're not on your own with trying to lose weight. 

“I would fully encourage people in our area to at least give it a try, if more people join then we can have more teams and more competition - and ultimately this would result in more people losing weight.”



The programme was created by Andrew Shanahan, who wanted to combine the game with achievable weight loss goals.

Man v Fat can also have a positive impact on other health issues, including Type 2 Diabetes and asthma.

Players are weighed before a 30-minute game of six-a-side, with extra goal bonuses awarded to teams based on the amount of weight players have lost.

Weight loss and match scores then contribute to teams’ league positions within a club. Players receive additional support including healthy meal recipe ideas and tips on general fitness.

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In 2020, players in the Oxford league lost a combined 142.8kg of weight and, across the five seasons it has been running, a total of 837.9kg has been lost. 

Man v Fat Football now runs over 150 leagues across the UK and Australia, with more leagues due to launch.

Richard Crick, head of Man v Fat Football­, said: “We are delighted to be expanding our programme to Abingdon following many successful years of helping men lose weight and improve their lifestyle elsewhere in Oxfordshire, and we urge any local men interested in taking part to get in touch.

“Man v Fat isn’t just about losing weight, it’s about enjoying sport in a friendly environment, learning about healthy lifestyle and diet while making new friends.”

 To join, visit www.manvfat.com/football