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19 Aug 2016

Study to explore the scale of physical activity and nutritional health messaging at major sporting events

Image: Getty Images

A new study examining the promotion of health messaging at major sporting events, such as the Olympics, will be led by Loughborough University.

Dr Joe Piggin, Senior Lecturer in Sport Management and Policy, is part of an international consortium examining how physical activity and nutritional health messages are promoted in the run up to and during large-scale sporting events. 

The PHANSMER Project (Physical Activity and Nutrition at Sport Mega Events Research) as it is known, will examine the policies and processes involved in health promotion and the tensions surrounding the marketing and provision of supposedly ‘unhealthy’ food and drink during such events. 

Preliminary analysis by the PHANSMER team indicates that while the Euro 2016 tournament promoted ‘Healthy Stadiums’, there were difficulties in providing healthy food and drink options at some stadiums and in fan zones. The analysis also found that some aspects of the tournament were heavily regulated, for example, beer was sold containing only 0.5% alcohol, and in contrast, some food and drink products, which had very high sugar content and low nutrient content, were not regulated. 

In light of the current health issues relating to physical inactivity and poor nutrition, such as heart disease and obesity, this three-year study hopes to inform health policy and promotion during large-scale sporting events. An interdisciplinary approach will be adopted, with assistance from experts at Paris Descartes University in France and Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil, drawing on theories and ideas surrounding public policy, marketing, sociology, event management and nutrition. 

Dr Piggin, from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, said: “Euro 2016 and the Olympic Games are significant transnational sports events where certain messages about consumption and health are disseminated to hundreds of millions of people. 

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