Parents urged to bring back play
Most children not getting the recommended one hour activity a day
Prof Niall Moyna said being active for 60 minutes a day did not have to involve organised sport or be in one burst of activity. “For children it could be 10 minutes skipping, 15 minutes running or kicking a ball,” he said. “It all adds up.” Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy
Parents are being urged to encourage their children to go out and play, as part of a campaign to tackle childhood obesity. The Safefood-led campaign highlights the fact that four out of five children here do not meet the physical activity guideline of being active for at least 60 minutes a day.
Prof Niall Moyna of Dublin City University’s school of health and human performance said being active for 60 minutes a day did not have to involve organised sport or be in one burst of activity.
“For children it could be 10 minutes skipping, 15 minutes running or kicking a ball,” he said. “It all adds up.”
About one in four primary school children is overweight or obese. Researchers have found that children in Ireland are becoming overweight earlier – 6 per cent of three-year-olds are obese.
Prof Moyna also said three out of four adults did not get enough physical activity either. “However we also know . . . that children are more likely to be more active if their parents are active as well.”
Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Safefood’s director of human health and nutrition, said active play was instinctive for children. “We just need to bring it back. Children who get their 60 minutes-plus daily have healthier sleep and eating habits too.”
The HSE is asking people to visit getirelandactive.ie to see a list of games and activities that parents can introduce for their children.
The “Bring Back Play” campaign is part of a three- year all-island campaign on childhood obesity.