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'No evidence' of games benefit

21 May 10 10:09 GMT

There is no evidence that staging the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will have a positive long-term effect on public health, it has been claimed.

Organisers of the 2014 Glasgow games hope the event will inspire local people to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

But a study funded by the Medical Research Council has found nothing to confirm expectations about the benefits of previous large sporting events.

The research is published in the latest edition of the British Medical Journal.

The study was carried out by researchers at the Glasgow-based Social and Public Health Sciences Unit.

They set out to assess the effects of major sporting events on the health of the host city's population.

Despite reviewing 54 previous studies, their report concluded that the available evidence was "not sufficient to confirm or refute expectations" about the public health impact of large sporting events.

It said: "Future events such as the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, or the 2014 Commonwealth Games, cannot be expected to automatically provide benefits.

"Until decision makers include robust, long-term evaluations as part of their design and implementation of events, it is unclear how the costs of major multi-sport events can be justified in terms of benefits to the host population."

Dr Gerry Spence, a GP in Glasgow's east end where the 2014 games will take place, said it was "a no brainer" that the event would not translate into more sporting activity.

"I think they're going to be portraying sport as an elite activity," he said.

"We're going to see people at the very top of their game who are a completely different shape, and probably colour, from the rest of us.

"Although it will look absolutely marvellous on our high definition TVs, on the ground I don't think we're going to be seeing much of an improvement in the sporting activities of the people of Glasgow."

Glasgow City Council said that it was aware a positive legacy from the games would not occur automatically but was committed to trying to ensure this happened while measuring its success.

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