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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 23 January, 2020

Should daily exercise be mandatory in schools?

Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone has said that if schools devote 30 minutes a day to exercise, it could “make a big difference for generations to come” in terms of obesity.

HALF AN HOUR of daily physical exercise should be compulsory in all primary schools, according to Catherine Noone.

The Fine Gael Senator, who has been very vocal in her campaign against childhood obesity, has urged schools to consider making half an hour of PE a mandatory daily requirement for primary pupils.

Her comments come after a Safefood Ireland survey showed that 90% of parents believe 30 minutes of school time should be devoted to exercise every day.

In Ireland 26.5% of girls and 16% of boys under 20 years of age are considered obese. These rates have tripled in the last 20 years.

We need to help prevent our current generation of children from becoming overweight adults.

Noone has previously called for ice-cream van chimes to be regulateda ban on Frappucinos and a lifting of rules that stop children running in the school yard.

“We are bottom of the EU league in terms of the time spent on PE in our schools, with Irish children getting just over half the EU average of 109 minutes of physical education.

By making a half hour of daily exercise mandatory in the primary school timetable, we can move to the top of the table and slash childhood obesity rates in the process.

Noone said the fact that Ireland has the fifth highest obesity rates for young women and girls in Europe should “act as a wake-up call”.

“Our childhood obesity problem isn’t going to solve itself. Only through a combined approach of better education, healthier diets and more exercise can we comprehensively tackle this problem. Incorporating just 30 minutes of PE into every school day could make a big difference for generations to come,” she said.

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

Read: A Fine Gael senator wants to regulate ice-cream van chimes, but says ‘it’s about a bigger issue’

Related: A Fine Gael senator wants to ban caramel Frappucinos

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Órla Ryan

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