What makes children learn how to swim? – health, lifestyle and environmental factors associated with swimming ability among children in the city of Malmö, Sweden

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Sammanfattning

Background: Swimming ability among children in the city of Malmö, Sweden is strongly affected by socioeconomic differences. We investigated to what extent mediating health and lifestyle factors, such as children’s eating, sleeping and physical activity habits, as well as the characteristics of the social and working environment at both school and home, could explain the socioeconomic gradient in swimming ability. Methods: Our study population included children who started their first-grade school-year in 2012 or 2013 at any of the public primary schools of Malmö, Sweden. Cross-sectional, self-reported questionnaire-based data about health status and swimming ability in the fourth grade (age 10) were included from the Pupil Health Database (ELSA) for 3468 children. Results: Children’s self-reported swimming ability was strongly associated with both individual- and school-based sociodemographic variables. Nine health, lifestyle and environmental variables were identified as potential mediators and included in the final model. Four of these variables, “Activity”, “Outdoor time”, “Social relationships at home and on the free time”, and “Positivity about future”, were significantly and positively associated with children’s ability to swim. Conclusions: Social support, optimism for the future and an active lifestyle were positively associated with children’s swimming skills; however, compared to the socioeconomic factors, these health- and lifestyle factors contributed very little. It is possible, that interventions concerning children’s swimming ability in lower socioeconomic neighbourhoods, should in addition to children’s swimming lessons, target the whole families with the goal of increasing their possibilities for socialising and engaging in different kinds of recreational activities.

Originalspråkengelska
Artikelnummer32
TidskriftBMC Pediatrics
Volym22
Utgåva1
DOI
StatusPublished - 2022

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Folkhälsovetenskap, global hälsa, socialmedicin och epidemiologi

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