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In Journal of hypertension ; h5-index 56.0

OBJECTIVES : Football as the most popular sport could improve insufficient physical activity in patients with cardiovascular risk factors. A modified 'healthy' football training format could motivate hypertensive patients to return to sport and improve risk factors.

METHODS : The 3F study: 'Fit and Fun with Football' a prospective interventional study with 1 year follow-up. Football group: n = 103, structured 'health'-football training (1×/week, 90 min) led by Deutscher Fußball Bund-licensed football coaches. Hypertensive patients at least 45 years who have not exercised for several years were compared with a control group (n = 105).

PRIMARY STUDY OBJECTIVE : Reduction of office (OBP) and/or 24-h ambulatory blood pressure (BP) monitoring (ABPM) and/or reduction of number or dosage of antihypertensive medication.

MAIN RESULTS : OBP values decreased significantly in the football group from 142.6/87.9 to 130.8/81.8 mmHg (P < 0.001), in the control group the values increased slightly (NS). ABPM values decreased significantly in the football group, while a slight increase was found in the control group. At the end of the study, the mean values in the football group of both OPB (P < 0.001) and ABPM (systolic P < 0.001, diastolic P = 0.017) were significantly lower than in the control group. Significantly more people in the football group were able to reduce antihypertensive patients than in the control group (football group:16, control group:6), while more participants in the control group intensified antihypertensive therapy (football group:3, control group:14) (P < 0.001). Among the secondary endpoints, there was a weight loss of 3 kg in the football group and an increase of 1.7 kg in the control group (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION : Offering modified 'healthy' football-training to middle-aged hypertensive patients can lead to better BP control and a reduction of antihypertensive medication. Therefore, the offer of 'health football' should be established and supported by clubs, insurances and authorities.

Schrader Bastian, Schrader Joachim, Vaske Bernhard, Elsässer Albrecht, Haler Hermann, Del Vecchio Alessandro, Koziolek Michael, Gehlenborg Eugen, Lüders Stephan