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Share of children meeting MVPA guidelines in Ireland 2018, by age

The National Physical Activity Plan states that all children should achieve at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) daily to meet the National Physical Activity Guidelines. At primary school level, age did not influence the share of respondents meeting the guidelines. However, at post primary level there was a decline from 13 percent to only 10 percent of respondents meeting the guidelines with levels remaining consistent thereafter.

An interesting distribution can be observed between the 12 – 13 year olds within the primary and post primary school samples, with 17 percent of primary school 12 – 13 year olds meeting the guidelines compared to only 13 percent of 12 – 13 year olds in post primary schools. this distribution could relate to the relatively low share of children considered to be a healthy level of cardiorespiratory fitness in post-primary education and alludes to the presence of a strong school transition affect on levels of physical activity.

Share of children meeting the physical activity guidelines in Ireland in 2018, by age and stage of education

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Release date

November 2019


Ireland, United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

Survey time period


Number of respondents

6,651 respondents

Age group

10-18 years

Supplementary notes

The Children’s Sport Participation and Physical Activity Study 2018 (CSPPA 2018) was a follow up to CSPPA 2010 looking at participation in sport, physical activity and Physical Education among children aged 10 to 18 on the island of Ireland. CSPPA 2018 was the first study to look at these issues in an all-island context.

For the Republic of Ireland, the 114 schools which participated in 2010 and were eligible were invited to participate. 74 of these agreed to take part, with 12 new schools being included for a total of 86 schools. This allowed 4,697 primary and post primary students to provide input. In Northern Ireland 29 schools and 1,954 primary and post primary students were involved. In total, 6,651 children aged 10 – 18 took part in the study. In addition, a small number of school administrators were interviewed about participation in sport in schools, school facilities and resources available for sport.

Physical activity is defined within the National Physical Activity Plan as ‘any bodily movement produced by the skeletal muscle which causes energy expenditure greater than at rest and which is health enhancing’.

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Statistics on "Sport in Ireland"

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