Warning over Irish children's fitness levels

There are calls for more physical education in schools

Warning over Irish children's fitness levels

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A new study is warning over the fitness levels of Irish children.

Initial data from a major Dublin City University (DCU) and GAA national study has revealed that children as old as 12 are unable to throw, run, catch, jump or hit any type of sports ball properly.

It is claimed their motor skills are comparable to a person aged in their 30s due to inactivity.

The full 'Moving Well - Being Well' study is due to be released in November.

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on sport, Kevin O'Keeffe says Ireland risks a future without sporting or athletic success.

"Not only will this clear skills-gap lead to a dilution of our sporting prowess at international level down the road, but worse still, it will lead us to having a population that is less comfortable partaking in recreational sport".

Overhaul physical education

Deputy O'Keeffe says this could ultimately lead to a much unhealthier population.

"When children don't have the basic, fundamental skills to take part in sport and exercise, they won't.

"They will move away from organised sport, and towards activities which will not challenge them physically."

He says more physical education in schools is the answer.

"Teaching the fundamentals is a core component of primary physical education, and if we are to improve the physical literacy of young Irish people, this needs to be improved."

"A quality experience of PE at primary level has been shown to increase the numbers of young people continuing to partake in physical activity and sport, during school and outside of school.

"Equally, at second level, we need to ensure that the full range of physical education is taught, and not just what are traditionally known as invasion games, such as football, hurling, rugby and soccer.

"While of interest to many, and in particular boys, these activities have a tendency to put off girls from taking part.

"From both a physical fitness and international success outlook, we need to dramatically overhaul how physical education is taught."