Introduction: The GAA, in partnership with the HSE, have developed the ‘GAA Healthy Club’ project. A pilot phase of the project was evaluated (Lane et al., 2015) and findings supported the delivery of health promotion through the GAA club setting. In Phase 2, the overall objectives of the evaluation were; (i) to assess the impact of healthy club initiatives on the health of individuals and communities, and (ii) to assess the impact of the project on the daily workings of the GAA club unit. Methods: 60 clubs took part in Phase 2 of the ‘GAA Healthy Club’ project along with 27 control clubs. Mixed methods were used to gather data. Clubs completed a Healthy Club Questionnaire adapted from an index developed by Kokko et al., (2009) at baseline and at the end of Phase 2. The Healthy Club Index indicates the health promotion orientation of a sports club and includes a number of sub-indices such as Policy, Ideology, Practice and Environment. Clubs also self-reported on their overall activity at the end of the 18 month project. Finally, in order to assess objective I a focused evaluation was carried out on three initiatives in the areas of physical activity (PA), healthy eating and community development. Questionnaires, Interviews and FGDs were used to evaluate these initiatives. Results: At follow up, intervention clubs showed significant improvements in overall health promotion orientation (PRE: 18.24, POST: 25.40), while control clubs showed little change (PRE: 22.28, POST: 22.25). Significant improvements were also evident across the subindices. Overall, it was notable that a sense of clarity and purpose existed in clubs, but did so within resistance, which clubs actively worked to overcome. The PA initiative included the delivery of the Men on the Move programme with participants reporting an average 2kg weight loss and improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness that was maintained up to 26 weeks. Waist circumference dropped by 3-4 cm and again this was maintained up to 26 weeks. Of the 3 clubs who engaged in the healthy eating evaluation, 2 had adopted healthy eating guidelines and the third club was in the process of developing their guidelines. Across all clubs in the evaluation, 52% had partially or fully implemented these same guidelines. Conclusion(s): The GAA club displays an affiliation and commitment to health promotion that identifies it as an ideal setting for delivering health interventions. Specialist agencies should be encouraged and supported to partner with these sports clubs to ensure the delivery of evidence based, effective initiatives.
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2018|
- GAA Healthy Club Project