Kids get less physical activity when they go back to school after the summer break. They are sedentary during the day and the darker nights and homework hinder outdoor activity at home after school.
Only one in four nine-year-olds gets the recommended minimum of one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day, according to the Growing Up in Ireland longitudinal study. This drops to just over one in 10, or 12 per cent, in secondary school.
The Active Flag, introduced by the Department of Education and Skills in 2009, is awarded to schools that “strive to achieve a physically educated and physically active school community”.
The criteria they are measured on include: the time given to PE; activity levels in the school yard and during classroom breaks; partnership with pupils, parents and the wider community; and, finally, they must organise an Active School Week either during the designated national week, or at a time of their own choosing.
A total of 674 primary and secondary schools now have the blue Active Flag, with about one in five primary schools flying it.