Monday, 13 August 2012

Olympic Legacy

I have to confess to being a little bleary-eyed this morning having stayed up far too late yesterday evening watching the closing ceremony of the London 2012 games.

I also feel slightly grumpy that the games have ended - how will I now fill my two hours of daily evening viewing with something equally inspiring? Furthermore the prospect of my fellow GBians returning back to our ‘modus operandi’ of whinging, moaning and generally being rude to overseas tourists and immigrants is a far less inspiring image.

Interestingly, I looked up the official meaning of ‘modus operandi’  and this brings me to today’s point. According to Wikipedia it roughly translates to ‘method of destruction’ – how apt!

My concern isn’t whether the next taxi I get into in London, finds me greeted by either Mr Happy Driver or Mr Grumpy. I’m worried about the ‘Olympic legacy’

It’s impossible to escape the words Olympic Legacy at the moment as we look to justify the seemingly expensive last two weeks that have flown by incredibly quickly after so many years in the planning.

We seem to be focused on measuring the success of the Olympic legacy by how well we perform in Rio in 2016, assuming a nation of inspired youngsters will drive for more medals than we have achieved on home soil – I’m all for this by the way but this isn’t the real Olympic legacy.

According to a 2011 survey by Gallup, obesity and chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes costs British business £20bn a year in lost productivity.

The impact of these conditions is not restricted to the private sector, according to David Cameron, obesity costs the NHS a staggering £5 billion a year and that figure is set to rise to £6 billion by 2015.

A bit more digging and I found a report from the NHS forecasting that by 2030 they expect 50% of the UK population to be classed as obese and by 2050 our annual NHS bill for dealing with obesity will have risen from a now modest £5 billion to an eye-watering £45 billion a year.

The real legacy of these games therefore has to be to reverse or at least slow down of our alarming full-throttle drive towards oblivion. We all need to be inspired to get up of the sofa, not because we believe we are the next Helen Glover lying in wait to storm to an unprecedented gold with less than 4 years experience under our belts, but because it’s good for our well-being both individually and as a nation as a whole.

Remember the more money that gets spent unnecessarily dealing with obesity, the less is available to research and provide cures to less self-inflicted conditions like many forms of cancer.

Official estimates claim that putting on the games has cost this country £9 billion. When you look at it in this light – it’s beginning to look like a bargain!

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