The purpose of this paper is to examine the social impact of an initiative (Hockey FIT) aimed at improving the health and well-being of sport fans and their community.
Fans ( n =80) participated in 12 weekly health promotion sessions hosted in local hockey club facilities. Objective health measurements, diet and physical activity levels of fans were measured at baseline, 12 weeks and 12 months, to determine the intermediate, long-term, individual and community impact. Furthermore, one-on-one interviews with 28 program participants were conducted to further understand the program’s social impact.
The intermediate impact was noticed as improvements in weight loss, body mass index, waist circumference, systolic blood pressure (BP), steps per day, healthful eating, self-reported overall health and fatty food scores at 12 weeks. The long-term individual impact of Hockey FIT was realized as participants maintained or continued to improve their weight loss, waist circumference, healthful eating, systolic BP and diastolic BP 12 months after the program had been offered. The program was also reported to increase family bonding time and improved the diet, daily physical activity, and general awareness of health promotion programs and components for friends, family members and coworkers.
The positive health-related results from this study contradict prior research that has suggested there is minimal evidence of any substantial contributions from social programs in sport. Through a collective approach to corporate social responsibility, this research demonstrates the ability for sport organizations to contribute to meaningful social change and the positive role that they play within the community.