Socioeconomic differences in swimming ability among children in Sweden

Available on 11 January 2019

This study has assessed whether socioeconomic differences in swimming abilities persist among children in the city of Malmö, Sweden, after a community-level intervention in public primary schools.

It has found significantly lower self-reported swimming ability among children who receive support activities in school; with parents born outside Europe, North America and Australia; and with manual working, unemployed or studying parents.

Children enrolled in schools with a socioeconomic index below the median were also less likely to meet the required swimming standards.

The findings did not suggest that differences in swimming ability were reduced after the swimming programme intervention.

The authors recommend that monitoring of swimming abilities should continue, and that similar interventions should be targeted at reducing inequalities in younger, preschool-aged children.


Full citation

Frida I. H. Pilgaard, Per-olof Östergren, Anna Olin, Stefan Kling,
Maria Albin, & Jonas Björk., Socioeconomic differences in swimming ability among children in Malmö, southern Sweden: Initial results from a community-level intervention. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, available online 11 January 2019,