A lack of physical activity is putting Northern Ireland’s children at risk of overweight and obesity.
“Bring Back Play” is the message being used by safefood in a new drive to tackle childhood obesity. The all-island body is urging parents to encourage their children to be more active every day and it’s little wonder as new research indicates that less than half (43.4%) of seven year olds in Northern Ireland meet the recommended physical activity guideline – the lowest ranked in the United Kingdom.
With 1 in 4 children primary school children in Northern Ireland now overweight or obese, safefood is emphasising the importance of including physical activity whenever families can.
Supporting the message, Professor Marie Murphy of the Sports and Exercise Research Unit at the University of Ulster said:
“Being active for 60 minutes a day doesn’t have to be all in one burst: 10 or 15 minutes here or there all add up, as long as it gets you breathing harder than normal, makes you feel a bit warmer and gets the heart pumping it is likely to be moderate or vigorous intensity and help you meet the guidelines.
We all need physical activity to lead a full life and if parents join in as well, that’s a great way of spending fun time together as a family.”
Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Director, Human Health & Nutrition, safefood continues “Active play for children is instinctive; we just need to ‘bring it back’. “Our childhood obesity campaign provides parents with advice on practical changes they can make for their families’ health. Incorporating activity into your daily routine, for example promoting active ways for children to travel to school, is key to success.
Children who get their 60 minutes plus daily have healthier sleep and eating habits too. And with the clocks having gone forward this weekend, it’s a great time of the year to start new family habits.”