Midlothian MP takes to the pitch to highlight success of football weight loss programme

Midlothian MP Owen Thompson joined forces with fellow MPs to play a six-a-side weight loss football club in Westminster, part of a nationwide programme that has already helped over 15,000 men across the UK tackle obesity.

The MAN v FAT Football match saw Conservative, Labour and SNP MPs come together for the game, which the MAN v FAT team won 6-3. MAN v FAT football clubs are specifically aimed at overweight and obese men with a BMI of higher than 27.5. According toObesity Action Scotland approximately, adult obesity prevalence is at 28 per cent, with 65 per cent of the adult population overweight.

The nearest MAN v FAT club is in Edinburgh, which meets on Thursday evenings at Peffermill Playing Fields. Mr Thompson is speaking to organisers and is keen to help raise awareness and hopefully get a club set-up in Midlothian too.

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Before matches, players are weighed, which is followed by 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.

Owen Thompson (left) shoots at goal.

Mr Thompson (SNP) said: “Aside from having a great evening with the MAN v FAT team and a fairly intense and competitive match, it was a real eye opener to hear about the transformative effect that the programme is having for so many men around the country. There is currently a club in Edinburgh but hopefully there’ll be enough interest to get a club established in Midlothian too.

At a time when obesity is a real problem, initiatives like this that make such a difference deserve to be highlighted. And although we lost last night, we’re already thinking about a return fixture!”

Among the players representing MAN v FAT was Rhys Farthing, who has lost an impressive 26kg in the last year. Rhys said: “Since joining MAN v FAT last year, I have felt a massive change in my life. As someone who wasn’t big on going to the gym or exercising and had no confidence, I have now lost over 25kg because of the way MAN v FAT has helped me change my diet, by giving me information on different types of diets and the most effective ways to help lose weight.

“There is no judgement at MAN v FAT as everyone is in the same boat; everyone likes to cheer each other on whether on the pitch or on the scales The competitiveness and quality of the games makes it extremely enjoyable compared to going to the gym. But when you are all sharing the same goal and having fun doing it, it makes it really worthwhile. My confidence has improved, I feel more energetic and so much happier now.”

Midlothian MP Owen Thompson (SNP) with the rest of the players who took part in the match.

Richard Crick, head of MAN v FAT, says: “It was a real pleasure to welcome the MPs to MAN v FAT in Westminster. In addition to being a fun evening for everyone, it was great for our team to be able to show the MPs first-hand the difference that the programme is making to men all around the country.”

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Players can join up at www.manvfat.com/football and they can get more information by calling 0345 163 1042 or emailing [email protected]