Initial results from Insight’s Moving Well Being Well project are in and they have provoked a wide ranging discussion about children’s health and fitness in Ireland. Pictured left is Insight’s Dr Stephen Behan explaining the results on RTE’s Six One News.

Insight researchers, in collaboration with researchers in the School of Health and Human performance, carried out an all Ireland study of over two thousand primary school children on the island of Ireland, and have found that one in four cannot run properly; one in two cannot kick a ball properly; and less than one in every five can throw a ball.

The findings also noted that the skills development of children with regards to running, jumping, catching and kicking (movements that are categorised as fundamental movement skills (FMS)), plateau and stop progressing at the age of ten. Existing research shows that mastery of these basic skills is achievable by 8 years of age.

This milestone is considered significant as in the case of children not reaching it, it can result in young people exhibiting an aversion to engaging in sports and physical activity, particularly in their teenage years.

There was a notable difference between boys and girls in certain skills with boys displaying a greater proficiency in ball skills such as throwing and catching, while girls scored higher than boys in skills requiring control of the body such as balance and skipping. The findings are interesting in the context of the activities pursued by girls and boys, with the former often taking up gymnastics, dance and the latter taking part in rugby and soccer. Both boys and girls have a huge involvement in Gaelic Games overall.