Children Lack Proper Exercise While in School
5th October 2009
IRISH children are not getting enough physical exercise at school, according to health and nutrition experts.
The school week should include a mandatory two hours physical education (PE) for all pupils, they say.
At the moment, the Dept of Education only recommends that pupils receive a minimum two hours of PE each week and schools have discretion about how they implement that.
Now, the Nutrition and Health Foundation (NHF) is urging the Government to look at the issue as a matter of priority.
The NHF advice follows a survey which showed that while 96pc of Irish school children are taking PE classes, 65pc of those are taking only one class of PE per week.
Additional research shows that children in more advantaged areas were shown to have PE classes more often than those in less advantaged areas.
According to the survey, 36pc of schoolchildren from advantaged areas have PE two to three times per week, compared with an average of 28pc for less advantaged areas.
The NHF experts were also dismayed to find that more than 7pc of children were taking PE classes in the classroom itself.
"This is clearly not a suitable environment for exercise," said NHF manager Dr Louise Sullivan.
One ofthe NHF's core aims is to implement, where possible, relevant recommendations from the National Taskforce on Obesity report.