‘Swim for Health’: barriers to participation for pre-school aged children and their families in an aquatic activity intervention in the North of England

Evans, Adam B. and Sleap, Mike (2008) ‘Swim for Health’: barriers to participation for pre-school aged children and their families in an aquatic activity intervention in the North of England. International Journal of Obesity, 32 (S1). p. 169. ISSN 0307-0565

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‘Swim for Health:’ barriers to participation for pre-school aged children and their families in an aquatic activity intervention in the north of England
Poster presentation delivered at the European Congress on Obesity, Geneva, 2008
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‘Swim for Health:’ barriers to participation for pre-school aged children and their families in an aquatic activity intervention in the north of England
Poster presentation delivered at the European Congress on Obesity, Geneva, 2008
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Full text URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2008.49

Abstract

‘Swim for Health’ was the first of a number of health initiatives instigated by the National Governing Body for Aquatic Activity in the UK, the Amateur Swimming Association. This initiative is a multi-agency partnership with the aims of increasing participation in aquatic activities and decreasing health inequalities across the region. Aquatic activity offers great potential for reducing obesity levels in at risk communities (e.g. Hardy 1990). A key group within this intervention was children of pre-school age and their parents in lower socio-economic groups.
The study aimed to identify perceived barriers to participation in this group.
26 semi-structured interviews and 12 focus groups were carried out with 54 individuals. All participants were female parents aged between 19 and 44 years. Questionnaires were completed with 132 individuals. These data were used to complement interview data.
Results indicate only 50% of participants engaged in physical activity without their families. Participants’ male partners engaged more in physical activity alone, suggesting strong gender roles in physical activity choices. Where solitary physical activity was in evidence, perfecting the body through ‘bodywork’ was central. However, swimming was still popular as a family activity. Participants felt less self-conscious about the perceived deficiencies of their bodies when swimming with their families as they focussed instead on their children’s wellbeing, pool hygiene and risk. Hence, participants emphasised children’s water safety. Time constraints were a key barrier to participation.
Despite participants stating their interest in swimming, significant barriers exist for this group. These barriers were often linked to gender roles.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:‘Swim for Health’ was the first of a number of health initiatives instigated by the National Governing Body for Aquatic Activity in the UK, the Amateur Swimming Association. This initiative is a multi-agency partnership with the aims of increasing participation in aquatic activities and decreasing health inequalities across the region. Aquatic activity offers great potential for reducing obesity levels in at risk communities (e.g. Hardy 1990). A key group within this intervention was children of pre-school age and their parents in lower socio-economic groups. The study aimed to identify perceived barriers to participation in this group. 26 semi-structured interviews and 12 focus groups were carried out with 54 individuals. All participants were female parents aged between 19 and 44 years. Questionnaires were completed with 132 individuals. These data were used to complement interview data. Results indicate only 50% of participants engaged in physical activity without their families. Participants’ male partners engaged more in physical activity alone, suggesting strong gender roles in physical activity choices. Where solitary physical activity was in evidence, perfecting the body through ‘bodywork’ was central. However, swimming was still popular as a family activity. Participants felt less self-conscious about the perceived deficiencies of their bodies when swimming with their families as they focussed instead on their children’s wellbeing, pool hygiene and risk. Hence, participants emphasised children’s water safety. Time constraints were a key barrier to participation. Despite participants stating their interest in swimming, significant barriers exist for this group. These barriers were often linked to gender roles.
Keywords:Aquatic Physical Activity, Perceived Barriers, Evaluation, Sociology, bmjlink, bmjtype
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:5527
Deposited By: Adam Evans
Deposited On:14 May 2012 10:52
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 09:08

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