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Wednesday 22 March 2023
Red heart and a stethoscope via Shutterstock
# Health
A quarter of Irish children have risk factors for heart disease
Only 12 per cent of children between the ages of 10 and 18 engage in the recommended 60 minutes of exercise daily.

POOR FITNESS LEVELS, combined with weight issues and high blood pressure are putting children at a far greater risk of heart disease in later life.

Dr Sarah Kelly, an exercise physiologist and advocate of the ‘Schools Fitness Challenge 2013′ which launches today, says that “only 12 per cent of 10-18 year olds in Ireland are meeting the Department of Health and Children physical activity recommendations of at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily.”

Kelly says that in place of this, 86 per cent of school-going children spend more than two hours each day either watching television or playing computer games.

Girls are less likely than boys to get enough exercise during the week, Kelly says:

Girls are less likely than boys to meet the physical activity guidelines, and the amount of time being dedicated to physical activity every week, typically one hour, is totally inadequate.

At today’s launch of the scheme, Gaelic footballer Bryan Cullen, who plays for Dublin’s senior team, said that keeping fit as a child had “contributed enormously to my ability to play Gaelic football at intercounty level today.”

Secondary schools wishing to take part in this year’s fitness challenge, which has been developed by Dublin City University in conjunction with the Wellness Economic Initiative Alliance, can register online for a registration pack.

Read: One third of children with food allergies experience bullying >

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