Max Rady College of Medicine

Concept: Trends in Physical Education in Manitoba High Schools

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Concept Description

Last Updated: 2008-10-15


    Currently, the Manitoba government requires all grade 9 and 10 students to take Physical Education (PE) classes in High School. Students are required to take S1 and S2 PE credits to graduate high school, representing 50% health and 50% physical education. Students may also take optional PE credits beyond the two required courses. However, as of September 2008, students starting high school will be required to take PE throughout all four years of High School. This new policy is based on Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures Task Force Report that has identified mandating PE throughout high school as one of its recommendations to improve the health and well-being of Manitoba's youth.

    Researchers at the Manitoba for Health Policy have investigated trends in physical education enrollment before this policy was implemented.


    To determine what proportion of High School students have taken physical education courses at what grade level, MCHP researchers took two approaches:
    1. Looked at all 2001/2002 enrollment data of students by grade and searched for all course marks for 2001/02 and previous years to determine if these students had taken physical education courses at what grade level.

    2. Looked at 1998/1999 grade nine students and followed them throughout high school to see which students had taken physical education courses, and at what grade level. Only students who remained living in Manitoba for at least four years after and including their S1 year (1998/99) were followed.

    Researchers searched the course mark data set for all courses that had "physical" or "health" course descriptions and summarized the course numbers for all physical education courses across Manitoba High Schools. See the SAS code below for identifying Physical Education courses (internal access only).

    Course marks from 1998/99 were then searched for any of the following physical education course numbers: '0025','0061','0160','0161','0167','0168','0169','8916','9916','9940' and the grade level of which the student took the course.


    In 1998/99, 15,934 high school students remained living in Manitoba for the next four years. Of these students, 94% (15,034) had a grade nine level physical education course, 90.3% (14,386) had a grade ten physical education course, 36.9% had a grade eleven level physical education course, and only 6.2% (983) had a grade twelve physical education course. These findings indicate that once PE is optional for students the majority of students do not continue to enroll in PE throughout their high school years.

    The graphs and table available in the document physed2.1205graphs.xls provide information on the distribution of physical education courses among all Manitoba students in 1989/99 by grade level, school division and Winnipeg neighborhoods. The table provides summary information on the number of students enrolled in physical education courses at each grade level by school division among Manitoba students in 2001/02, as well as by Winnipeg neighbourhoods.


  1. The analyses for 2001/02 under estimate (especially for S2 - S4 students) the percent of students with PE courses because researchers did not ascertain that each student in the analyses resided in Manitoba for all four years of High School.


    We would like to acknowledge the following people for their assistance and feedback in developing this concept:
    • Joannie Halas - Faculty of Physical Education and Recreational Studies, UofM
    • Heather Willoughby - Physical Education/Health Education consultant - Manitoba Education

Related concepts 

Related terms 



  • education
  • Educational Measurement

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Manitoba Centre for Health Policy
Community Health Sciences, Max Rady College of Medicine,
Rady Faculty of Health Sciences,
Room 408-727 McDermot Ave.
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB R3E 3P5 Canada