Sport Ireland Releases Latest Research on Physical Activity Among Children and Adults
Sport Ireland, the authority responsible for the development of sport in Ireland, has released its latest research on physical activity among children and adults. The research, conducted in 2022 through the Children’s Sport Participation and Physical Activity Study (CSPPA) and the Irish Sports Monitor (ISM), provides valuable insights into post-pandemic sport participation and physical activity levels in Ireland.
Sport Ireland utilises the findings from these research studies to develop policies and programs aimed at achieving the targets set out in the government’s National Sports Policy.
According to the latest report, overall sports participation among adults has increased by 3 percentage points in 2022, with 43% of the adult population now participating in sports each week. Ireland ranks sixth in the EU in adult weekly sports participation.
Sports volunteering rates remain lower than pre-pandemic levels, with 1 in every 4 sports volunteers not resuming their activities since the pandemic. Volunteerism is the backbone of Irish Sport and Sport Ireland will focus on this area in the coming months.
The gender gap in adult sports participation remains at 5%, which is the same as in 2021 and higher than the pre-pandemic level of 3% recorded in 2019. Significant progress has been made in this area through Sport Ireland’s Women in Sport Policy. When the first ISM report was published in 2007, the gap in sports participation between men and women stood at 16%.
Among children, 15% reported meeting the recommended physical activity guidelines of one hour of moderate-to-vigorous activity per day, marking a 2% increase since 2018. Primary students reported an average of 85 minutes of physical education per week, almost double the reported minutes in 2010. Children’s sports participation rates have increased since 2018, with 96% of primary and 84% of post-primary students participating in some form of sport at least once a week.
However, there remains a significant drop in girls’ participation in school sports at the post-primary level, worsening since 2018. In 2023, Sport Ireland launched a new campaign, Her Moves, in collaboration with National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships which aims to encourage inactive teenage girls or those at risk of drop-out to embrace sport and physical activity.
Furthermore, there has been a 5% decline in the number of children actively travelling to school, with 37% walking, cycling or using a scooter in comparison to 42% in 2018.
Perhaps surprisingly, the perceived impact of COVID-19 restrictions on post-primary students was more positive than negative on overall physical activity (51% positive vs 26% negative), fitness levels (50% positive vs 22% negative) and overall health (53% positive vs 18% negative).
Read Full Sport Ireland announcement here: