Newcomers to province lead in being physically active: Survey

By Tyler Marr
October 3, 2018 - 2:00pm

People who moved to Canada in the last five years are the most physically active demographic in Saskatchewan.

That comes according to a survey conducted by Insightrix Research and published by the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association. It found, of a random sample of 805 people over the age of 18, 46 per cent of newcomers reported they were receiving the recommended 2.5 hours of physical activity per week, and 31 per cent are more active than the suggested amount.

The survey also found just 19 per cent of people in Saskatchewan receive the recommended amount of physical activity, though 23 per cent achieve more. However, 58 per cent of those surveyed in the province are less active than the Government of Canada’s recommendation.

Annette McGovern, executive director of the Battlefords Immigration Resource Centre was not surprised by the findings. She said newcomers to Canada typically come from warmer climates and are used to being active outdoors. This spurs an introduction of sports many played in their native countries to their new communities in the province. The centre, she said, does assist newcomers in facilitating access to time at facilities, assembling teams and advertising.

“[Newcomers] have been trying to get things together at the field house amongst themselves and it kind of spills over into the Canadian folks that are interested,” McGovern said, noting a growth in sports like pickleball, cricket, soccer and basketball.

McGovern called music, dance and sport an “international language” and a chance for new residents of Canada to strengthen their ties to the community.

“They can get out and mingle among the Canadians and feel like they belong,” she said. “That is why we really push it.”

The survey did, however, found Saskatchewan people are making an effort to be more physically active. Of those surveyed, 67 per cent said they had made strides in becoming more active over the last year, inducing 77 per cent of newcomers, 69 per cent of Indigenous and LGBTQ people and 64 per cent of those living with disabilities.

Overall, 73 per cent of respondents described themselves as somewhat or very active, an increase from 63 per cent in 2017.


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