Assessing the health impact of local amenities: a qualitative study of contrasting experiences of local swimming pool and leisure provision in two areas of Glasgow


Thomson, H; Kearns, A; Petticrew, M; (2003) Assessing the health impact of local amenities: a qualitative study of contrasting experiences of local swimming pool and leisure provision in two areas of Glasgow. Journal of epidemiology and community health, 57 (9). pp. 663-7. ISSN 0143-005X DOI: 10.1136/jech.57.9.663

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Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVE: To assess the health impacts of local public swimming pool and leisure provision. DESIGN: Retrospective qualitative study using focus groups. Reports from two areas with contrasting experience of provision of a public swimming pool (opening and closure) were compared within the context of general reports about health and neighbourhood. SETTING: Two deprived neighbourhoods in south Glasgow. PARTICIPANTS: Local adult residents of mixed ages, accessed through local community groups. MAIN RESULTS: In both areas the swimming pool was reported as an important amenity that was linked to health and wellbeing. However, few residents reported regular use of the pool for physical activity. Use of the pool facility for social contact was directly linked to reports of relief of stress and isolation, and improved mental health. Pool closure was one in a series of amenity closures and area decline and was used to represent other area changes. Health impacts were strongly linked to the pool closure. The pool opening was associated with local area regeneration, similar but less prominent links between swimming pool provision and health were reported. Health benefits of social contact were diffuse and linked to other local amenities as well as the new pool facility. CONCLUSIONS: Although theoretically linked to increased physical activity, the health benefits conveyed by the swimming pool may be more closely linked to the facilitation of social contact, and a supervised facility for young children. The use of qualitative work to investigate area based change provides rich contextual data to strengthen and explain the reported health impacts.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Adult, Aged, Female, Focus Groups, Health Services Research, *Health Status, Humans, *Leisure Activities, Male, Middle Aged, Poverty Areas, Retrospective Studies, Scotland, Social Environment, *Swimming Pools, *Urban Health, Adult, Aged, Female, Focus Groups, Health Services Research, Health Status, Humans, Leisure Activities, Male, Middle Aged, Poverty Areas, Retrospective Studies, Scotland, Social Environment, Swimming Pools, Urban Health
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Social and Environmental Health Research
Research Centre: Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
PubMed ID: 12933769
Web of Science ID: 184853800009
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/8740

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