Colorado Springs, U.S.A. – In an effort to improve national health, reduce dramatic rises in healthcare costs, and reduce drowning tragedies, the non-profit, National Swimming Pool Foundation is launching the Step Into Swim Campaign. The 10-year campaign will initially partner with nine organizations that teach children, adults, and minority populations to swim. Beyond the personal pain caused by poor health, the financial burden of obesity is estimated to be $147 billion/year. In addition, the tragic incidences of drowning will cost society about $100 billion for the next 20 years.
Obesity trends are likely to continue based on increased childhood obesity rates and Census Bureau estimates that there will be about 24 million more 65+ year olds in the next 10 years. Aquatic activity is one of the best activity options available for aging and out-of-shape people. Unfortunately, about half of Americans are afraid of deep water or cannot swim. “Becoming a swimmer is the first step to opening a spectrum of fun and healthy activities for the entire family — grandparents, grandkids and everyone in between,” says John Puetz, President of the NSPF Board of Directors.
The Step Into Swim campaign asks private and public sectors to sponsor or donate to organizations that teach people to swim. The National Swimming Pool Foundation issued a White Paper to explain how teaching more people to swim is imperative to address skyrocketing healthcare costs and prevent troubling drowning rates.
“There is a lot of bad health, drowning, and economic news! Here is good news. One simple step will provide a primary prevention practice to improve public health, prevent drowning and help keep our country economically sound and competitive,” declares Thomas M. Lachocki, Ph.D., CEO with NSPF. “What’s better? People will have more year-round fun with friends and family.”
Public and private sector organizations can download the white paper, learn more about the partner organizations and donate to the cause at www.StepIntoSwim.org. The first major campaign event is theStep Into Swim Congress, scheduled for October 10, 2012 from 1:00-5:00 pm, in the Nauticus Museum, beside the Battleship Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia. “Today, we have rolled out www.StepIntoSwim.org, where potential donors and sponsors can learn more and make a tax deductible donation. We will also share more about the upcoming Step Into Swim Congress,” explains Dr. Lachocki.
Nine Step Into Swim partners will present proposals at the Congress describing their plan to teach more people to become swimmers. The proposals will focus on swim programs for children, adults who are fearful in the water, and minority populations.
The nine partners are: YMCA of the USA, Jewish Community Centers, U.S. Swim School Association, World’s Largest Swim Lesson, Miracle Swimming Institute, Strategies for Overcoming Aquatic Phobias, American Red Cross, Make a Splash Campaign, and Swim America. “We are thrilled to organize this event and align with and support these organizations,” adds Lachocki. “In addition to organizing the Step Into Swim Campaign and Congress, the National Swimming Pool Foundation also plans to donate on an annual basis,” reinforces Puetz.
“The problem is defined. The solution is clear. The better we work together, the more impact we will make,” summarizes Puetz. “I dream of the day we help a million MORE people take the step to become swimmers,” he adds. Dr. Lachocki agrees, urging public and private organizations, “Please, take the first step by making a donation.”