A GROUP of Bradford men are kicking their obesity struggles into Row Z after shedding a combined 28 stone by taking part in the first Man v Fat football league in the district.

The new league has seen 36 players pull on their boots and get active by taking to the football pitch, which has helped them shed a collective 400lbs - or 181kg - in the first 14 weeks, with one player dropping a stone and a half since starting.

The Man v Fat Football club takes place every Tuesday evening at Dixons City Academy in West Bowling, and is aimed specifically at overweight and obese men with a body mass index (BMI) of 27.5 or higher.

Following the success of its inaugural season, it now has space for new players to join, and organisers are encouraging more men from the district who want to shift some pounds and lead a healthier lifestyle to get involved.

Since beginning the league, its 36 participants have lost a collective 28 stone - the equivalent of a fully grown Californian Sea Lion - and with almost two-thirds of adults in Bradford being overweight or obese, there are plenty of prospective players who could benefit from joining the league.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Men are losing weight and having fun at the same timeMen are losing weight and having fun at the same time

Sam Keen plays in the Bradford league and since joining has lost more than a stone and a half in body weight - 11kg - and was lured to Man v Fat due to the collective and cooperative approach to the game it takes.

He said: “I hadn't played football for years and felt too unfit to join a pub team or a five-a-side league, but at MAN v FAT, we're all in the same place trying to get fitter.

“The competition gives you a real drive to lose weight, while the football gives you an incentive to weigh-in even when you know you've eaten too much that week.

“I feel like I'll be a fitter and healthier dad, and a better role model for my baby daughter who is due in March.

“I would definitely encourage other men from the area to get involved. You don't have to be any good at football, you just need to enjoy it. It's great fun, you'll make great friends, and you'll lose weight.”

Man v Fat is a Football Association affiliated scheme and nationally has 6,500 players at more than 100 clubs taking part to actively improve their lives. Since it was founded, its players in the UK have lost a collective 360,000lbs in body weight - 163.3 tonnes.

It was founded by Andrew Shanahan, who was fed up with attending weight loss classes aimed primarily at females, and decided to develop a programme designed for men that incorporated the beautiful game and gave men the opportunity to achieve sustainable weight loss goals.

Before each game players weigh in, and then take part in a 30 minute match of six-a-side football, with extra goal bonuses awarded to teams based on the amount of weight players have lost.

Weight loss and match results then contribute to a team's league position within the club, and players also receive additional support including healthy recipe plans to address the number one cause of obesity - an unhealthy diet - and tips on general fitness to keep their exercise levels up on non-matchdays.

For more information or to sign up to take part, visit manvfat.com/football