Aviva Health Insurance recently launched the Schools’ Fitness Challenge 2013 – a national challenge for 1st and 2nd year pupils in Leitrim to improve their health and fitness.
Recent research shows that one quarter or 25% of school-going children in Ireland have risk factors for heart disease, such as poor aerobic fitness levels, being overweight or obese and having high blood pressure.
Children in Ireland are worryingly inactive according to exercise physiologist and advocate of the national challenge, Dr. Sarah Kelly, who says that the majority (86%) of school-going children spend more than two hours daily, sitting viewing TV, videos or playing on the computer. This means almost 9 out of 10 Irish children are insufficiently active to benefit their current or future health.
The stats show that only 12% 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. 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.
Aviva Health’s Schools’ Fitness Challenge 2013 is a unique initiative that aims to make physical fitness among school-going children a national priority by creating awareness about the issue.
Secondary schools interested in participating in the national challenge are being encouraged to register online at www.avivahealth.ie/fitnesschallenge by Friday, January 18 to receive a registration pack with the fitness test audio on CD, and step-by-step guidelines of how to complete the programme successfully.