More and more elementary school students cannot swim

More and more elementary school students cannot swim

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Buoyancy in children decreased significantly

Swimming is one of the most popular leisure activities for children, but not all elementary school students can move safely in the water. The data currently published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) from the nationwide study on child health (KiGGS) show that around every sixth child aged seven to ten cannot swim.

"Swimming is fun and at the same time is a leisure activity with great health and development-promoting potential," reports the RKI. Vigorous swimming, for example, causes the muscles to work without causing excessive or improper strain. Furthermore, swimming trains endurance performance, important motor and coordination skills and has "a positive influence on the course of certain chronic diseases such as asthma and autism spectrum disorders". There is also a social component here, since children who cannot swim often have little or no access to adventure sites such as swimming pools or natural bathing water.

Less children buoyant with low social status Given the numerous positive effects on the development and health of children, according to the RKI, they should learn to swim as early as possible, whereby an age of four to five years is considered optimal for participation in the beginner swimming course. The ability to swim should be reached at the latest when leaving primary school, which illustrates the need for action with a share of around 15 percent non-swimmers in the age group between seven and ten years. In addition, the survey of parents and children as part of the KiGGS showed that children with low social status can swim less frequently than peers with high social status. "Children from the low status group who can swim learned to swim about 1.5 years later than children from the high status group," reports the RKI.

Gender-specific differences Last but not least, the study also revealed gender-specific differences in buoyancy, which became particularly clear in preschool and primary school age. Fewer boys could swim here than girls. In addition, girls who could swim learned this on average about four months earlier than swimable boys. By the time they reach the age of majority, however, the gender differences have largely leveled out, and according to the RKI, around 98 percent of all boys and girls can swim.

Missing swimming lessons In its current communication, the RKI also refers to earlier surveys conducted by the German Life Saving Society (DLRG) in 2010, meaning that at the end of primary school only half of the 10-year-old children were safe swimmers (at least bronze badges or the earlier ones Freischwimmer) can be called. The RKI reports that overall there has been a significant decline in swimming ability in the past decades. The experts blame various reasons for this. According to the RKI, "a frequently cited aspect is that an increasing number of indoor and outdoor pools are being converted into so-called fun pools with limited swimming facilities or are being closed due to municipal savings constraints." Many schools are unable to do so due to the loss of the training pool Offer swimming lessons prescribed in the curriculum. (fp)

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