Not all kids are couch potatoes, according to a survey conducted by the Fort Frances Times last Friday.
Roughly 80 percent of grade five-eight students at Robert Moore and St. Francis schools who returned surveys said they participate in at least some form of physical activity for some time after school.
Of the 63 out of 133 surveys returned from Robert Moore, one-third (33.3 percent) of the students said they are outside playing after school while another 6.3 percent said they participate in an organized school activity.
Only 11.1 said they go home and watch television, followed by 7.9 who said they play video games or sit in front of the computer.
But some 41.1 percent said they do all of the above after school, which indicates physical activity is at least part of their regular daily routine.
Over at St. Francis, of the 47 out of 133 surveys returned, some 27.6 percent of students said they’re usually playing outside after school while another 8.5 percent are participating in an organized school activity.
Some 10.6 percent said they play video games or sit in front of the computer, with 8.5 percent saying they watch TV.
But again, the biggest percentage—44—said they do all of the above at some point after school each day.
“We like to encourage [our students] to be active in sports after school and during lunch hour,” noted Mariette McRae, principal of St. Francis School here.
“We do as much as we can with the resources we have,” she added.
Robert Moore principal Robert Derkson noted his school enters all the local sporting events, and added some intramural sports will be starting up there soon.
“Oh yes, the students participate in the sports,” he enthused. “We have a tremendous turnout for field hockey, they are a good group.”
Still, he also noted that, overall, they seem less active when compared to older generations.
“Overall, yes, students are less active,” he said. “There are a lot of things to do like watch television or play computers games. They get wrapped up in them.”
In terms of how many hours per week of physical activity they get outside of school, 38 percent of students at Robert Moore answered between 5-10 hours.
Some 30 percent answered 11-15 hours, with 20 percent putting that figure at 16 or more hours a week. Only nine percent of students said they do 0-5 hours of activity per week (three percent did not answer the question).
At St. Francis, most students (34 percent) said they get between 11-15 hours of non school-related physical activity a week, followed by 31.9 percent at 5-10 hours.
Some 21.2 percent answered 16 hours or more hours a week, with just 6.3 percent saying 0-5 hours (6.6 percent didn’t answer the question).
In terms of fitness level, 46 percent of Robert Moore students and 42.5 percent of those at St. Frances rated themselves a 10.
Just 4.7 percent at Robert Moore and 4.2 percent at St. Francis rated themselves at the low end of the scale (one).
Of course, students also have gym time in school to help them stay active.
“The amount of gym time a student gets depend on the grade they are in,” noted Derkson. “But everyone gets 30-45 minutes, three times a week.”
He noted he’d like it if the students had more gym time but remarked that isn’t possible because there is only one gym at Robert Moore.
At St. Francis, McRae said there isn’t a set amount of time by the ministry but noted each class gets four half-hour gym periods a week.
“Sometimes the teacher will take students outside for activities,” she added.
“It is safe to say that teachers place a high premium on physical activity for the students,” McRae stressed.