Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South-West, Cáit Keane, has this week called for
physical education to be included in the points system for the Leaving Certificate. Speaking in the Seanad, Senator Keane highlighted how important it is for students to learn about healthy eating and exercise..
‘If we had a 1% annual improvement in the fitness level of children, there could be a €3 billion saving to the health system. We must target children because habits that are formed when people are young, are usually continued into adulthood and this trend of bad eating and exercise habits must be reversed.
“The health and the economic impact of the obesity problem in Ireland are considerable
“A recent survey of schoolchildren in Athlone found that 70% were on the verge of becoming obese.
If physical education was to be included in the Leaving Certificate, many students would become more conscientious of their fitness levels and nutritional intake. We must consider ways of incentivising children to keep fit and I believe that is one such solution to the growing problem of obesity and other health conditions.”
, with the costs of obesity-related deaths alone being estimated at €4 billion per year. At present, 61% of Irish adults and around 20% of Irish children are overweight or obese. If the right message can be conveyed to children and teenagers then there is less likelihood of health problems developing in later life.