A Fine Gael Senator is calling for the mandatory introduction of daily PE classes in all schools across the country.
Senator Catherine Noone said: “We all know the positive effects of exercise, regular physical activity helps children build healthy bodies and prevent chronic disease.
“I have previously called for the introduction of mandatory PE classes in schools, lasting 30 minutes per day. Adopting this measure will have a real and lasting impact on the health of our nation and its people.
“One on four Irish children is obese, with a massive 80% of all Irish children not getting the recommended amount of physical activity for school aged children.
“A recent study into cardiovascular treatment across EU member states has found that while the Irish healthcare system provides good services; poor health practises among individuals, over a number of areas have left Ireland’s population at risk of serious medical conditions.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that children and adolescents should get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day, this is met by just 12% of 12-18 year olds.
“The costs of an inactive lifestyle are manifold, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer all have links to poor exercise habits.
“However, by enacting the right measures now; we can avoid the significant complications that lay ahead. Providing safe areas for young people to play and exercise in, such as parks and community playgrounds free from air pollution, are practical measures that can be taken.
“However, a more tangible method of ensuring that children and young people are engaging in physical activity is to increase the number mandatory PE classes in schools,” Senator Noone said.