The impact of free access to swimming pools on children's participation in swimming : A comparative regression discontinuity study

Higgerson, J and Halliday, E and Ortiz-Nunez, A and Barr, B (2019) The impact of free access to swimming pools on children's participation in swimming : A comparative regression discontinuity study. Journal of Public Health, 41 (2). pp. 214-221. ISSN 1741-3842

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Objective: Investigating the extent to which providing children with free swimming access during school holidays increased participation in swimming and whether this effect differed according to the socioeconomic deprivation of the neighbourhoods in which children lived. Setting: A highly disadvantaged local authority (LA) in North West England. Intervention: Provision of children with free swimming during the summer holidays. Outcome measures: Number of children swimming, and the number of swims, per 100 population in 2014. Design: Comparative regression discontinuity investigating the extent to which participation rates amongst children aged 5-15 were greater in the intervention LA compared to a similar control LA. We estimated the differential effect of the intervention across five groups, defined by quintiles of area deprivation. Results: Free swimming during the summer holidays was associated with an additional 6% of children swimming (95% CI: 4-9%) and an additional 33 swims per 100 children per year (95% CI: 21-44). The effects were greatest in areas with intermediate levels of deprivation (quintiles 3 and 4) within this deprived LA. Conclusion: Providing free facilities for children in disadvantaged areas is likely to increase swimming participation and may help reduce inequalities in physical activity.

Item Type:
Journal Article
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Journal of Public Health
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This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Public Health following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version J Higgerson, E Halliday, A Ortiz-Nunez, B Barr, The impact of free access to swimming pools on children’s participation in swimming. A comparative regression discontinuity study, Journal of Public Health, Volume 41, Issue 2, June 2019, Pages 214–221 is available online at:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? inequalitiesleisurephysical activitypolicypricinggeneral medicinemedicine(all) ??
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Deposited On:
11 Jun 2018 15:44
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 10:45