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J Adolesc Health. 2006 Jul;39(1):80-6.

A provincial study of opportunities for school-based physical activity in secondary schools.

Author information

1
Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada. dwyer@uoguelph.ca

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Adolescents spend considerable time at school and thus it is important to understand their opportunities for school-based physical activity. This study surveyed Ontario secondary schools to identify the range of structured opportunities and their engagement by students.

METHODS:

A questionnaire was mailed to key informants in 600 randomly selected secondary schools in Ontario, for which 474 respondents (79%) returned completed questionnaires.

RESULTS:

Curriculum-based physical education (PE) classes in grade nine were reported to be offered in all schools and these classes in grades 10, 11 and 12 were offered in almost all schools. Student enrollment in PE decreased from grades 9 to 12 (97.9%, 49.6%, 43.3% and 35.9%, respectively). Respondents reported that funding, timetable, facilities and resources made it somewhat difficult to implement the health and physical education curriculum in their schools. About two-thirds (65.5%) of the schools had an intramural program and 15.0% of students participated in it, whereas 97.2% of the schools had an inter-school sports program and 25.0% of students participated in it. Supervision issues made it difficult to provide intramural programs and funding made it difficult to provide inter-school sports programs.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although provision of physical activity opportunities in Ontario appears satisfactory, actual engagement by students is low. The results suggest that strategies to increase student participation in PE, intramural programs, and inter-school sports programs need further consideration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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