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London2012 fails to 'Inspire a Generation' in Newham

London 2012 is still not inspiring people in the host borough of Newham to take up sport. A recent report from UKActive showed that the borough was home to the least active population in England. A second host Borough, Barking and Dagenham, came second in the list. UKActive also highlighted the unsurprising finding that participation was lowest in the poorest parts of the county. But not only is poverty a marker for lower rates of activity so, perhaps surprisingly, is youth. Far from inspiring sport participation among the 'target' age group of 16-25 year olds the period after the Games witnessed an actual decline in activity in this age group.

Oddly enough sport participation is not necessarily accompanied by a decline in obesity, a benefit usually claimed by those advocating for sport. As Australian researchers have noted it is diet and lifestyle rather than sport participation which is at the heart of tackling obesity. Obesity among children in Australia rose even as level of participation rose, hardly helped by the Olympics promotion of fizzy drinks and burgers particularly to young people.

Of course the message about 'participation' has got slightly confused in recent times with Lord Sir Seb claiming that the London Anniversary Games of 2013 would inspire the "next generation of track and field fans". But then the expansion of sports fandom is really what the Olympics is about. Watching Olympic sport on tv and eating and drinking Olympics sponsored food and drink helps keep the IOC in business.


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