Grassroots football has helped save Scottish health services £10m in type 2 diabetes costs over the last year, according to a new report.
UEFA and the Scottish Football Association commissioned a report to see how much grassroots football has impacted Scotlan’’s economic, social and health benefits.
The UEFA GROW report also showed that football has helped prevent more than 5,000 mental health conditions and over 8,000 cardiovascular disease cases in just a year.
Around £40m of healthcare savings were made on mental health, and around £25m was saved on cardiovascular disease.
People with diabetes have an increased risk of mental health problems and cardiovascular disease, but getting regular exercise can help to boost mood and also improve heart health.
While type 2 diabetes is commonly associated with lifestyle, engaging in football can help people to exercise regularly and also enjoy social aspects of the game.
There is “unique tangible evidence” of how the team sport has impacted the Scottish economy and the health of local communities, delivering more than £1bn of positive value to the country, according to the report.
Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA chief executive said: “We have known for decades the positive impact football as the national sport has on the population: it can inspire a natio, unite families and entire communities, and make society a better place.”
Academics from Birmingham, Brunel and Loughborough universities carried out the research, which involved looking at case studies from Aberdeen FC’s Community Trust.
Speaking to the Press and Journal news site, the trust’s operations manager, Steven Sweeney, said: “This demonstrates the true value of football participation and the impact it has within local communities.
“We feel that football clubs have a significant part to play in improving public health, contributing to the local economy and using sport and physical activity for social change.”
It is thought Scotland has more than 147,000 registered football players but in total 780,000 people play the game in total, mostly at informal level.

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