Parents call for half hour of daily exercise in schools
PARENTS want children to participate in a minimum of 30 minutes exercise per day at school, and are calling upon the Government to upgrade facilities in playgrounds and schoolyards to facilitate this.
New research published by Safefood has revealed that there is now a wider acceptance of obesity related issues in Ireland, as 93pc of parents believe that education should be utilised to promote healthy eating practices.
In the report ‘Irish Public Attitudes Towards Obesity’, 91pc of the adults surveyed admitted that they believe the Government should provide improved resources for schools to upgrade their playground and exercise facilities, while 90pc feel that a mandatory minimum of 30 minutes exercise per day should be implemented in schools.
Teresa Heeney from Early Childhood Ireland (ECI) said that initiatives like Zumba dance classes are needed “now more than ever”.
”We need initiatives that encourage children from an early age towards sport and free play, and Zumba sounds like fun,” she said.
It is estimated that at least one-quarter of children in the country are deemed to be overweight or obese, and she said that “we have reached a tipping point in relation to obesity levels in both children and adults”.
Paolo Kennedy, a Zumba instructor based in Co Kerry, said that a number of primary schools in the area employ her to teach the dance fitness classes for pupils.
“Apart from just dancing, they are doing fitness...their concentration span is also improved, because they have to learn the steps. And also, they have fun and that’s the main thing,” said Ms Kennedy.
A spokesperson from the Department of Education said that the medium of dance is a component on the PE curriculum at both primary and senior cycle, and that developments are under way.