The effect of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics on spectators’ physical activity

  • Guillermo Felipe López Sánchez
  • Dan Gordon
  • Lisa Hodgson
  • Brendon Stubbs
  • Benjamin Gardner
  • Lee Smith
Keywords: Sport, Public Health, Epidemiology


Objectives:  This study aimed to explore the influence of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics on physical activity motivation and behaviour among spectators.

Methods: The sample comprised 1851 spectators (mean age 36.6±12.7 years). Participants were asked via intercept surveys whether the Olympics changed or will change their desire to engage in regular physical activity, and whether they had increased their physical activity.

Findings: 60.2% reported changes in their desire to engage in regular physical activity and 51.6% increased their physical activity. Those under 55 years of age were significantly more likely to change their desire to engage in regular physical activity (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.14 to 2.08). Non-Brazilians (versus Brazilians) were significantly more likely to report a change in their desire to engage in regular physical activity, and to have increased their physical activity (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.57; OR 1.40, 1.15 to 1.71, respectively).

Conclusions: While previous studies have found no relationship between Olympics and population physical activity, our findings suggest that the Olympics may provide a unique opportunity to improve levels of physical activity.


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