70% of Irish children don't get the recommended daily amount of exercise

70% of Irish children don't get the recommended daily amount of exercise

AROUND seven in ten Irish adolescents fail to get the recommended daily amount of physical activity, according to a major international report.

The study was carried out by researchers at the World Health Organisation (WHO) and published in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.

It was found that more than 60% of boys and over 80% of girls in Ireland don't get the recommended daily amount of exercise.

The report took data from around 1.6million students around the world aged between 11-17.

Adolescents from over 146 countries were surveyed between 2001 and 2016.

In Ireland, 64% of boys fail to meet the physical daily activity recommendation, a fall from the 71% in 2001.

Girls fared worse, however, with 81% failing to meet the recommendation in 2016 – that figure is the same figure as that which was drawn from a survey back in 2001.

Combined, it put the figure for the number of adolescents who do not get the recommended daily dose at 71%.

Though the figures don't make for great reading, Ireland generally fares better than the world average.

Globally, 85% of girls and 78% of boys failed to meet the recommended amount of daily physical activity.

Ireland was in fact ranked third in having the most active adolescents behind Bangladesh and Slovakia.

Ireland and the US were the only countries with a difference of more than 15% in the number of girls meeting the recommendation compared to boys.

"Differences in prevalence of insufficient physical activity between boys and girls, and the widening gaps over time were particularly apparent in some high-income countries, such as Singapore, the USA, and Ireland,” the report said.

Author of the study Dr Regina Guthold added: "Urgent policy action to increase physical activity is needed now, particularly to promote and retain girls’ participation in physical activity.

Co-author Dr Fiona Bull said: "Strong political will and action can address the fact that four in every five adolescents do not experience the enjoyment and social, physical, and mental health benefits of regular physical activity."