The European Union’s education information network-Eurydice released a report in March this year outlining the levels of Physical Education received by Primary and Secondary students in Europe.
Ireland scored the lowest at a Primary level 37hrs per YEAR (compared to France 107hrs). This is not the fault of those in the classroom as the mandated level of PE in Ireland is only 1hr per week.
Recent studies have shown that physical activity offers benefits to children beyond the physical (improved concentration, decreased stress levels, improved mental health and even higher SAT (Leaving Cert) results).
Additionally it has been shown that the physical activity engaged in whilst young offers health protection later in life. The effectiveness of the simple flu vaccine is increased when it is paired with exercise. Happy, Healthy Kids what more could you ask for?
I find it amazing that in the current economic climate we live in in Ireland, with government departments desperate to save cash, the Ministers of Health, Education and Sport are not sitting down and finding a way to boost the level of physical activity across the population. This should start at Primary school level as we all know physical activity is a habit, habits are best established and hardest to break when started young.