MINISTER for Health James Reilly, and Dublin GAA star Bryan Cullen recently announced the winners of Aviva Health’s Schools Fitness Challenge 2013. The ‘Most Improved School’ is, Abbey C.B.S, Tipperary.
The national challenge, developed by Professor Niall Moyna in Dublin City University and the Wellness Economic Initiative Alliance, invited all secondary schools throughout the country to join in making physical fitness a national priority, by assessing the fitness levels of 1st and 2nd year school children over a six week period and advocating for improvements in their overall health. A total of 8,047 1st and 2nd year students (4,390 boys and 3,657 girls), and 219 schools from 24 counties across Ireland successfully completed Aviva Health’s Schools Fitness Challenge.
The results show large improvements in fitness were observed among the students after a relatively short period of exercise intervention – as little as six weeks. Oaklands Community College completed an average of 89 shuttle runs to be named the Ireland’s Fittest School while Abbey C.B.S, Tipperary, were named as the Most Improved School, completing an average of 51 shuttle runs pre-training and 82 shuttle runs post-training, representing a significant 60% increase in fitness levels over the six week period.
Kieran Hickey, PE teacher at Abbey C.B.S said, “We are immensely proud to have been awarded the most improved school in Ireland in this fitness challenge. Great value is placed on fitness, P.E. and sport in the school. The students put in a tremendous effort to improve their fitness levels between the two tests. Twice a week at lunch time they volunteered to run laps around our 1500m cross country track. I am delighted that the student’s hard work was rewarded with the overall national prize. Fitness for life is the message we try to instil in our students and the hope is that they maintain this positive attitude toward physical activity into adulthood.”
Irish boys were found to be 60% fitter than girls. Post-training, boys completed an average of 62 shuttle runs compared with the girls who completed a low average of 38 shuttle runs, which Prof Moyna says is not surprising given boys tend to be more involved in organised team sports or clubs in the community. For further information on Aviva Health’s Schools’ Fitness Challenge 2013 go to www.avivahealth.ie/fitnesschallenge