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Calls for ban on schoolyard running to be lifted to help tackle childhood obesity

Temple Street Hospital had to bring in new larger theatre tables to cater for obese children.
Jun 4th 2014, 8:42 PM 17,592 66

A FINE GAEL senator is calling for the ‘ban’ on children running in the schoolyard to be lifted to help tackle childhood obesity.

Catherine Noone believes that such a step would help with the nation’s escalating rates of childhood obesity.

The Dublin Senator said “Bad diets of foods high in fat and processed sugar are a major factor but so too is the growth in sedentary pursuits and lack of exercise.

The problem has escalated to such a degree that Temple Street Hospital has had to bring in new larger theatre tables to cater for overweight and obese children.

One in four Irish children are now overweight or obese according to research carried out by the Department of Public Health.

Noone also pointed out that last year the EU Information Network found that Irish primary schools offered less Physical Education (PE) hours than any other EU Member State.

She added that “On top of this, many schools have banned running in the yard at break-time, which is further curtailing children’s opportunity to exercise.

“While individual school management authorities must have a safety statement in place in their schools, there are no general directives to ban running in the school yard.

According to the National Parent’s Council, many parents, whilst understanding safety and insurance concerns, feel that banning running in the school yard should be the last possible resort and that staggering break times should be considered as an alternative.

It’s been shown that PE alone isn’t enough to make sure our kids are getting enough exercise. Irish primary school children are allocated just over half of the European Union average of 109 minutes of PE classes per week.

“As a result break-time is a key period to target for additional exercise.While I appreciate that it is not always possible to eliminate all risks, it should nevertheless be possible for schools, with appropriate supervision, to manage breaks while allowing children to run in the schoolyard and get the crucial exercise they need for their health and well-being”.

Last month Catherine Noone also called for a ban on caramel Frappuccinos and drinks with over 20 per cent sugar in them.

 

Read: One quarter of primary school children overweight (and 12 per cent saying ‘no’ to fruit)>

Read: Health watchdog wants kids to start playing Kerbs, Tip the Can and Rounders again>

Read: Children face life span five years shorter than parents – but you can change this>

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Cliodhna Russell

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