Last week I attended the annual Growing Up in Ireland conference. Growing Up in Ireland is a national longitudinal study of children being carried out by a consortium of researchers led by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and my alma mater Trinity College Dublin.
There were many topics discussed about Irish children’s health and lifestyles. As someone with a professional interest in health and wellbeing I was concerned to find that the percentage of overweight and obese children is on the increase. When 9 year olds in the study were examined 19% were classified as overweight and 7% as obese. Girls were more likely to be overweight than boys with 30% of girls overweight or obese compared to 22% of boys. When weight status was examined by social class children from lower social classes were more likely to be overweight.
Related to this information was the physical activity of the nine year olds. The World Health Organisation recommends 60 minutes of moderate or vigourous exercise per day. However less than one in four nine-year olds met this recommended threshold. I would be particularily interested to see how this subset was different to the others, was it parental encouragement, facilities, social class, urban or rural dwellers or other factors that influenced their activity?
You can read more on GUI here http://www.growingup.ie