From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

A systematic review of the health impact of major sporting events on the host population

Completed
 
It was decided on 9 November 2007 that the 2014 Commonwealth Games were to be held Glasgow. In 2012 London is set to host the much larger Olympic Games. Although there are studies looking at the health and socio-economic impacts of hosting a major sporting event on the host community, it is not clear what the aggregate health effects are and what pathways might mediate these effects. A systematic review was conducted during 2008 by the MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in Glasgow to inform the planning of these events such that any positive health impact can be maximised.

Aim of systematic review
To assess the impact of major sporting events on the health, and the determinants of health, of the host population.

Review objectives
  1. To develop and conduct a comprehensive search using bibliographic databases, websites and expert contacts to identify relevant research according to the review protocol.
  2. To assess the quality of relevant studies with regard to key methodological characteristics and potential for bias.
  3. To synthesise the best available evidence, statistically where appropriate, from included studies to produce a summary of type, size and direction of impacts on health and its determinants.
  4. To identify knowledge gaps in the available research.

The sporting events included were any occurring between January 1978 and January 2008 of international importance where the event did not have a fixed annual location.

Findings

The available evidence is not sufficient to confirm or refute expectations about the health or socioeconomic benefits for the host population of previous major multi-sport events. 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.

Further work
This work will feed into a proposed health impact assessment of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow to be conducted in partnership between Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Centre for Population Health, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and East Glasgow Community Health and Care Partnership.

Publications

2013

McCartney G, Hanlon P, Bond L. How will the 2014 Commonwealth Games impact on Glasgow’s health, and how will we know?. Evaluation 2013;19:24-39

2010

McCartney G, Palmer S, Winterbottom J, Jones R, Kendall R, Booker D. A health impact assessment of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Public Health 2010;124:444-51

pubmed  open access  

McCartney G, Thomas S, Thomson H, Scott J, Hamilton V, Hanlon P, Morrison D S, Bond L. The health and socioeconomic impacts of major multi-sport events: systematic review (1978-2008). BMJ 2010;340:c2369

pubmed  open access  

2009

Booker D, Palmer S, Winterbottom J, McCartney G, Jones R, Kendall R. 2014 Commonwealth Games Health Impact Assessment report: planning for legacy. Glasgow, 2009

open access  

Booker D, Palmer S, Winterbottom J, McCartney G, Jones R, Kendall R. 2014 Commonwealth Games Health Impact Assessment: summary report. Glasgow, 2009

open access  

McCartney G, Thomas S, Thomson H, Scott J, Hamilton V, Hanlon P, Morrison D, Bond L. A systematic review of the impact of major sports events on host populations [Interim findings report to key stakeholders]. Glasgow, 2009