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Perham Active Learning Survey results unveiled

Being healthy and staying active is important to those in Perham, according to results of an Active Living Survey, released for the first time on Dec. 16.

The survey, conducted by the North Dakota State Data Center in September 2010, asked 670 randomly selected utility holders that live in the Perham city limits to answer various questions regarding health and wellness. The response rate was 31 percent, with 200 people returning their surveys.

Kay Schwarzwalter, who presented the results to community leaders, said residents ranked Perham as having a good general quality of life. Residents also described themselves as active. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they commute on foot as least once a week in the summer, and 43 percent at least once a week in winter.

"Perham is heading in the right direction," Schwarzwalter said. "People seem to be happy with the way things are going."

The survey had specific questions relating to Perham, asking residents to rate the importance for various city projects. Ranked the highest were creating a whistle free zone for trains passing through and the resurfacing of walk and bike paths.

Those surveyed were asked to rank, on a scale of one to five, how important each project was. Results showed middle of the road results, Schwarzwalter said.

"I really believe the economy is driving this," she said. "There was no extreme low or high end."

The survey also showed that the majority of those polled said they support the Fitness for Life program adopted by Perham Public Schools in 2009, and also support required daily physical education for grades K-8.

Results also showed that about 72 percent of those polled do most of their shopping in Perham.

"That's fantastic," Schwarzwalter said. "What's spent here goes back into the community. It's a tight-knit group here."

Complete findings will be released in early 2011 and a public hearing will be held, Schwarzwalter said. The results will be available for the public to view at