London 2012 presented an opportunity to showcase British sport. Billions of pounds were invested in developing the state-of-the-art facilities in which the world’s greatest athletes competed for Olympic glory. Millions of people cheered them on; billions tuned in to watch. However, while the numbers of people watching sport seems to know no bounds, fewer and fewer people are engaging in physical activity themselves. Sedentary behaviour is becoming the new norm.
This epidemic of physical inactivity represents a serious problem to society. Poor health outcomes cost the NHS and the broader economy. Inactivity is estimated to cost the whole economy over £8 billion a year. There is an urgent need to reverse the current trends and start increasing levels of sports and physical activity. All the evidence suggests that raising levels of activity and participation in sports not only improves health outcomes, but has other positive social effects including reducing crime,