Health benefits of swimming pools in remote Aboriginal communities

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7412.407 (Published 21 August 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:407
  1. Gillian Hall, lecturer (gillian.hall@anu.edu.au),
  2. Beverly Sibthorpe, associate director
  1. National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Acton, ACT 0200,Australia

    Would depend on community participation and long term sustainability

    We welcome the study in this issue showing improved health outcomes for children after swimming pools were installed in two remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia–but with guarded optimism.1 Improvements in Aboriginal children's health, particularly in remote communities, have been remarkably difficult to achieve, so successful interventions that are potentially transferable warrant serious consideration.

    Optimism, however, must be guarded. There is no quick fix for the many health problems that occur in remote communities, including both infectious and chronic illnesses. As the authors note, pyoderma and chronic ear disease have remained intractably high in children for decades. In some communities the prevalence of trachoma is as high as 40% in children under 10 years.2 Mortality for indigenous infants is 2.5 times as high as for all Australia,3 and hospital admissions for children under 14 years are 1.5 times as high.4 As the …

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