Vancouver and the 2010 Olympic Games: physical activity for all?

J Phys Act Health. 2014 Nov;11(8):1556-64. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2012-0469. Epub 2013 Dec 31.


Background: The City of Vancouver, British Columbia strategically designed and implemented a municipal health promotion Policy--the Vancouver Active Communities policy--to leverage the 2010 Olympic Games. The goal of the policy was to increase physical activity participation among Vancouver residents by 2010.

Methods: In this paper, we conduct a critical policy analysis of health promotion policy documents that were available on the City of Vancouver's website.

Results: We elaborate on the background to the policy and more specifically we examine its content: the problem definition, policy goals, and policy instruments.

Discussion: Our analysis showed inconsistency within the policy, particularly because the implemented policy instruments were not designed to address needs of the identified target populations in need of health promotion efforts, which were used to legitimize the approval of funding for the policy. Inconsistency across municipal policies, especially in terms of promoting physical activity among low-income residents, was also problematic.

Conclusions: If other municipalities seek to leverage health promotion funding related to hosting sport mega-events, the programs and services should be designed to benefit the target populations used to justify the funding. Furthermore, municipalities should clearly indicate how funding will be maintained beyond the life expectancy of the mega-event.

MeSH terms

  • British Columbia
  • Exercise
  • Health Policy / economics
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Health Promotion / economics*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Local Government
  • Motor Activity
  • Policy Making*
  • Sports / economics*