The news is full of Election campaigning and debate, one snippet came up yesterday that suggested none of the parties were being particularly clear on what they would do regarding investment in Sport,(by definition I think we can assume a direct link to healthy activity per se) after the election. With 2012 the opportunity to create a legacy, some commentators have dared to suggest that so far uptake in sport has not jumped up simply because of the impending olympics in London. I sensed from the comments I heard a rewind to the age of “build it and they will come”, what most ommitted from that great quote was ” …and then they will leave!”
I wonder how the Olympic legacy will deliver lasting habit change for our inactive and dissafected population? The legacy will not be measured in buildings or facilities, it is about the culture of activity and particiaption that we need. For my generation you didn’t need a purpose built 5-a-side court floodlit until 2200hrs – the council gave us street lights til 0600hrs and enough cul de sacs,estate walls to play around and a park around the corner. If we are suddenly struggling to get our kids active, dont blame facilities, there are more of them now than we had. The rise of video games, DVD’s and fast food outlets, has to be the biggest challenge.
If the rise in participation is to be maintained beyond the Olympic fanfare of the closing ceremony, what will need to be done? Dare I suggest providing an integrated approach to adult health education for the current teenage/under 21′s who will be the next generation of parents and role models to their children? If the children go home to a negative environment how will they break the mould set by their parents?
I see some great initiatives, but I dont see much change in the parents in the low income/low education brackets. Will anyone vote on the basis of a Health & Wellbeing agenda?