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Hopes for a health legacy from the Olympic games should focus on community not sport, says expert

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d4204 (Published 06 July 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4204
  1. Caroline White
  1. 1London

Inappropriate government policy and a lack of dedicated resources are likely to scupper hopes of a broad and sustainable effect on people’s health behaviour stemming from the London Olympic and Paralympic games, delegates at a conference on the effects of the 2012 games were told on 29 June.

The Centre for Sport, Physical Education and Activity Research (SPEAR) at Canterbury Christ Church University was asked by the Department of Health for England to produce a comprehensive review on the international evidence on the role and potential of the games. Published in January 2009, this showed that the Olympics could boost the nation’s physical activity levels, “given the right strategic approach and investment,” explained Mike Weed, who heads the centre.

But government policy was not based on evidence and placed too much emphasis …

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