Queen's professor to measure success of Canada Gets Active program
Young people across the country may soon be healthier, thanks to a physical activity program being evaluated by Queen’s University researchers.
Looking to build on the success of Kingston Gets Active, Canada Gets Active – a pilot project launched in five communities across the country –provides grade five students with physical activity passes that allow them free access to gyms, arenas, and recreation centres in their communities.
“One of the main objectives of the program is to increase accessibility for those who need it the most, and I hope that the program will eventually become a nationwide initiative,” says Kinesiology and Health Studies professor Lucy Levesque. “My vision is that everybody should have a recreation card like they have a health card,” she says. “Everyone has a right to physical activity; it’s so important.”
Grade 5 students in Whitehorse, Burnaby, Okotoks, Arnpior, and Annapolis County completed a survey on their level of physical activity prior to receiving their passes in October . The same students will complete another survey in March, and Dr. Levesque and a group of masters students will evaluate the results allowing them to gauge the success of the program.Grade five students were chosen for the project because studies have shown that children’s physical activity begins to wane at that age.
“For me, it’s about physical activity promotion,” says Dr. Levesque. “Physical activity enables people for life, socially, emotionally, it’s good for mental health and it’s good for disease prevention. Telling people to get more active, just telling them, is not working.”
Kingston Gets Active was created in 2005 with the participation of several organizations including Queen’s University, CFB Kingston, the City of Kingston and the local YMCA. The program was deemed a success, with 70 per cent of students using the pass at least once and 25 per cent using it on a regular basis.