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Saturday 9 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Must try harder

Irish kids get a 'D minus' for physical activity (but that's not too bad, apparently)

Only between 12 per cent and 43 cent of children actually get enough physical activity, according to the latest ‘Report Card’.

A NEW INTERNATIONAL scale to measure children’s physical activity has graded Ireland with a D minus.

In academic terms, that’s barely a pass of course.

And while the findings are hardly encouraging, they place us right in the middle of the ‘global matrix’ of other countries also employing the system.

“Ireland is neither leading nor lagging on how supportive we are as a country to children’s physical activity,” said Dr Deirde Harrington, who chaired the research group that developed the Irish ‘Report Card on Physical Activity and Youth’.

“There are some things we do well and we need to keep momentum up. But there are also many gaps, including the development, launch and implementation of a National Physical Activity Plan that is adequately funded.”

Fifteen countries from around the world are publishing their grades based on children’s physical activity at the Global Summit on Physical Activity of Children in Toronto today.

Data compiled from the island of Ireland shows that only between only between 12 per cent and 43 cent of children actually get enough physical activity.

Here’s how Ireland measured up, across the ten indicators measured: 

Overall Physical Activity Levels – D minus

Organised Sport Participation – C minus

Physical Education – D minus

Active Play – Inconclusive

Active Transportation – D

Sedentary Behaviour (TV viewing) – C minus

Home (support from family) – Inconclusive

School (extra-curricular sport) – C minus

Community and the Built Environment (perceptions) – B

Government (strategies and investments) – Inconclusive

“This report shows that everyone, from teachers and parents to policy-makers, has a collective responsibility to increase children’s physical activity levels,” said Professor Marie Murphy of the University of Ulster, which also contributed to the report.

“I would encourage everyone to look at this evidence, look at the positive impact they could have on the health and well-being of future generations and take action.”

Dr Sarah Jane Belton, a lecturer in physical education at DCU, said she was concerned that the planned removal of PE as a subject from the junior cycle curriculum could cause problems in the future.

Read: Weather warning: ‘Very intense’ rain, thundery downpours, spot flooding

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