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Sarasota News Leader October 5, 2012 The underlying focus of the conference next week will be a "Step into Swim" white paper commissioned in May by the National Swim- ming Pool Foundation. Its executive summary points to the need for people such as Dash: • Aversion to water "places large populations at risk of drowning." • "Physical inactivity, obesity, and an aging society are driving up healthcare and in- surance costs. These epidemics continue to grow at an alarming rate." • "About 3,800 drowning deaths (almost 700 in pools), 5,700 emergency depart- ment-treated injuries [more than 3,300 in pools], and hundreds of civil suits occur every year." • About half of Americans have a fear of swimming pools." Page 72 The paper says a study undertaken by the Gallup organization, which evaluated 815 sub- jects, "indicated that even more people are not confident swimmers since about two-thirds of Americans are afraid of deep, open bodies of water," including lakes, rivers and the ocean. The study found 46% of the subjects were afraid of the deep end of a pool. The paper also notes that physical inactivity and obesity will continue to drive up health care costs as baby boomers pass the age of 65 and the incidence of childhood obesity in- creases. "To stabilize and reverse these crippling trends," it continues, "government and the private sector will have to invest in physical activity. Aquatic activity is ideal for sedentary, obese, and older populations." A group of young people enjoys the warm gulf waters in early August. Almost half of the American popu- lation has a fear of being in deep water. Photo by Rachel Hackney

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