Evaluation of pre-Games effects of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Japanese population-level physical activity: a time-series analysis

Shiho Amagasa, Masamitsu Kamada*, Adrian E. Bauman, Motohiko Miyachi, Shigeru Inoue

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The Olympic Games represent an opportunity to create a ‘physical activity legacy’ that promotes physical activity at the population level in the host nations and cities. However, previous studies showed little increase in population-level physical activity following the Olympics. The upsurge of public interest in sports and physical activity participation before the Olympics may diminish rapidly following the Games. We examined the pre-Games effects of the Olympics on Japanese population-level physical activity after the announcement of Tokyo’s successful bid for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in September 2013. Methods: We used publicly available data from serial cross-sectional surveys conducted with nationally or regionally representative samples in Japan seven years before and after the announcement (from 2006–2020). The outcomes were 1) daily step counts and 2) exercise habit prevalence (≥ 30 min/day, ≥ 2 days/week, and over a year) from the National Health and Nutrition Surveys Japan (NHNS-J; 14 time points; aggregated data); and 3) sports participation (at least once a week) from the National Sports-Life Survey conducted every two years (NSLS; eight time points; individual-level data of 18,867 adults) and from the Public Opinion Survey on Sports Participation of Tokyo Residents (POSSP; eight time points; aggregated data). Age- and gender-adjusted regression models were used to estimate changes in the outcomes before and after the announcement. Results: There were no significant pre-Games effects of the Olympics on national-level physical activity participation among Japanese adults. Sports participation (56.4% and 57.5%, respectively; P = 0.518), daily steps (6,535 and 6,686 steps/day; P = 0.353), and exercise habit (30.7% and 29.1%, P = 0.309) did not change significantly before and after the announcement. Although an increase in sports participation among Tokyo residents was not found in the NSLS (61.5% and 59.3%, P = 0.227), it was observed in the POSSP (49.1% and 57.7%, P = 0.019). Nonetheless, this increase might not be related to the pre-Games effects since the trend diminished following the announcement. Conclusions: Population-level physical activity did not show significant changes until 2020. Realising the physical activity legacy of an Olympics may require strategic promotion and cross-agency partnership implementation in the pre- and post-event period.

Original languageEnglish
Article number96
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec


  • Epidemiology
  • Exercise
  • Health Promotion
  • Olympic Legacy
  • Time-series Analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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