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The health impacts of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games: proactive planning is required, but who will do this?

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To the Editor: The recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow are a timely reminder of the 2018 Games planned for the City of Gold Coast. In 2013, the Queensland Government, in collaboration with Gold Coast City Council, produced a legacy plan to identify actions to be taken across government and to invite community input and engagement with the Games, including creating a health legacy.1 However, in the document supporting this plan, only two explicit health actions stand out: an accessible and inclusive active living and healthy eating program, and a local health and knowledge precinct to help generate economic development.2

In early 2013, separate to legacy planning, the Gold Coast City Council also commissioned a social and health impact assessment (IA). The IA, which is not publicly available, reviewed the evidence base to reveal a more mixed picture about health concerns than is included in the legacy plan, and found:

  • Mass gatherings provide ideal conditions for influenza transmission and amplification of preseasonal viruses, even in contexts of low seasonal influenza activity.3 Cases of Neisseria meningitides type b and leptospirosis occurring during sporting events have been documented, the latter associated with heavy rains.4 Risks to mental health and from sexually…