#PHTwitJC 16 – Summary of Olympic Legacy Discussion

On Sunday 9th April we discussed this paper:

The health and socioeconomic impacts of major  multi-sport events: systematic review (1978-2008) (2010) Gerry McCartney, Sian Thomas, Hilary Thomson, John Scott, Val Hamilton, Phil Hanlon, David S Morrison and Lyndal Bond

A full transcript can be obtained here and will be stored in our Archive, also.

Summary of #PHTwitJC Discussion

1.  Were the aims of this study clear?

It was agreed that the aims were appropriately wide-ranging, but overall clear.  The premise for conducting this systematic review was clear – no previous systematic reviews had been conducted, and there is a need to understand the impact/legacy of events for financial justification.

However further clarification would’ve been beneficial on some points.  E.g. the distinction between ‘major’ and ‘minor’ multi-sport events, whethere there is a different in impact of multi-sport versus single-sport major events… this was not discussed in the paper.

2.  Was the systematic review comprehensive?

The search strategy employed was well described and transparent, encompassing a variety of grey literature resources.  The breadth of studies included was considered appropriate in order to measure all legacy aspects.  Further comments included:

“Exclusions interesting: support for event or new physical infrastructure. Latter partic important in supporting impact #PHTwitJC” @Fibigibi

3.  Were any adjustments made for study size or quality?

The authors acknowledged the lack of quality evidence identified through their search strategy.  They attempted to grade evidence and weight narrative/judgement more strongly on ‘stronger’ evidence – however it would’ve been nice to have the adjustments applied outlined in a table.  The narrative summary made it difficult to know how and where any adjustments had been applied.

Although it was acknowledged that the journal word count may have been a factor, suggestions for improvements included reference to a hierarchy of evidence and a demonstration of how grading was conducted using tables or a forest plot.

4.  Do you beleive the results?  Could anything else explain these findings?

One participant (@rorymorr) pointed out the publication bias was more likely to favour studies which supported the games, therefore further unpublished evidence may be unsupportive of a legacy.  No assessment of publication bias was conducted by the authors.

However overall it was felt the results justified the evidence presented.  As a group we were very suprised at the lack of evidence regarding legacies!

5.  What implications do the findings have for public health practice and policy?

We agreed with the authors that more quality research is needed!  The discussion explored a variety of aspects of measuring the impact of legacies, for example:

“Does community ownership of brand create more participation?” @Fibigibi13

“it’s fascinating that we’ve seen the wider health benefits claim crop up recently. Creeping medicalisation of sport?” @Dunautumnstore

“future studies should use validated outcome measures such as quarter pounder sales & number of portions supersized” @Rorymorr

“longitudinal study with matched control in a non-games city/country would be one way. A bit late for London though” @Rorymorr

“Specific aims not trying to catch all and contradicting. E.g. legacy=improved phys activity or =improved infrastructure” @Fibigibi13

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