From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

Assessing the Health Impact of Swimming Pool Provision

Completed       Start date January 2001      End date June 2002 


Neighbourhood amenities may be an important aspect of a 'healthy neighbourhood'. This study compared two deprived neighbourhoods of Glasgow which have had contrasting levels of investment in neighbourhood amenities, in particular, the opening of a swimming pool in one area and the closure of a swimming pool in the other. Local residents were invited to take part in a focus group discussion about the local area, amenity provision, and links between place and health.



Some residents linked the swimming pool to physical activity and possible benefits to physical health, but more often residents reported mental health benefits of using the facility for socialising. Neighbourhood amenities, like public swimming pools, may promote positive mental health and wellbeing among local residents by providing a safe public place for meeting people. A report has been prepared and disseminated to study participants and interested local policymakers and practitioners.



Thomson H, Kearns A, Petticrew M. An open and shut case: an investigation of the health impacts of local public swimming pool provision in two Glasgow neighbourhoods. MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit Occasional paper no. 13, Glasgow, 2004


Thomson H, Kearns A, Petticrew M. 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 & Community Health 2003;57:663-667

pubmed  open access  


Thomson H. Community amenities: a neglected health resource? [gallery]. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2002;56:81

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