Wednesday, March 18, 2009

London Olympics will not inspire inactive people to take up sport

Professor Mike Weed, quoted in a Department of Health press release:
In particular, evidence suggests that elite sport rarely motivates physical activity take-up among non-participants and the least active.

5 comments:

dheigham said...

Odd. Studies seem to discover this every eight years or so; not every four years as the Olympic cycle would suggest.

Professor Mike Weed said...

A little disingenuous I'm afraid....

The quote here is true, but the headline is not. Yes, elite sport rarely inspires/motivates physical activity take up among non participants and the least active...

BUT:
The non-sporting aspects of the Olympic Games (eg the Cultural Olympiad) CAN contribute to physical activity take up among the least active via a "festival effect". This is clear in the full press release (and the report) which can be accessed via the link in the original post.

Jonathan said...

Not disingenuous at all.

I provided a link to the whole press release so that my readers can judge for themselves. Still, thanks for pointing it out.

I remain convinced that spending the original Olympic budget on community sports clubs and other groups would have been a far better way of improving the health of the general population. As it is, those groups are being starved of funds to pay for the Games.

May I ask who funded your study?

Professor Mike Weed said...

The study was jointly funded by five Department of Health Regional Offices (SE, London, EoE, WM, EM)...this is outlined at the start of both the report and the quick reference guide.

The report is quite clear about what London 2012 may and may not be able to do, and includes a detailed consideration of how to evaluate the "opportunity cost" of investing in Olympic programmes for physical activity and for sport.

A key message, however, is that physical activity take-up among the least active is unlikely to be via formal sporting activities. "Sport" and "Physical Activity" are rarely interchangable in this respect.

Jonathan said...

Mike

Have you got the URL for the full report?

Many thanks