More than three quarters of 9–11 year olds (76%) in Northern Ireland don’t take part in the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity they need each day, therefore the Public Health Agency (PHA) has launched the next phase of its physical activity campaign ‘It all adds up!’ to encourage children to become more active and understand the importance of keeping fit, in a fun and exciting way.
The campaign encourages parents and carers to go to the website www.getalifegetactive.com and download the PHA logbook It all adds up! to plan activities as a family. The logbook will help children and parents plan and keep track of their participation in physical activity at school, home and in the community. The website is packed with information for children and adults on the benefits of being active
Research shows that parents can influence their children’s attitudes to activity, so there is a real opportunity for them to be positive role models and set a good example to their children by being active themselves. Encouraging children to play outside, limiting television and computer time to less than two hours a day, and buying toys that encourage physical activity are just some helpful tips you will find on the website.
Colette Brolly, Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Manager and Physical Activity Lead, PHA, said: “Children in Northern Ireland are becoming increasingly inactive. It is very important for children to be physically active as this can help them keep a normal weight, increase academic performance, increase their self-esteem, and generally make them feel better.”
“We hope the campaign ‘It all adds up!’ highlights the need for parents and carers to keep a closer eye on the physical activity their children are getting. The 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity needed daily does not have to be done all at once, but can be broken up throughout the day into bursts of at least 10 minutes, which add up to the all important 60.”
Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said: “We are leading increasingly sedentary lives and it is more important than ever that children are encouraged to have at least one hours’ physical activity a day.
“If we can get into the habit of being more physically active when we are young, it will have an enormous positive impact on our health as we become adults. I would ask all parents and carers to support and encourage their children to get more active and lead a healthier lifestyle.”
For more information, visit www.getalifegetactive.com
Contact the PHA Press Office on 028 9031 1611.
Notes to the editor
- The campaign will run from Monday 26 September until Sunday 30 October. The campaign will include television, radio, press and online advertising.
- The campaign was first launched in 2009.
- Reference: Public Health Agency. It all adds up campaign evaluation. PHA, 2009 (unpublished).