Ireland nearly 8 out of 10 adults do not engage in the recommended
amount of physical activity necessary to benefit their
health (1). Young people's physical
activity levels are also low as the 1997 health
behaviour of school children in Northern Ireland survey
indicates. The survey indicates that young people, especially
girls, tend to do less physical activity as they get older.
a major coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factor and is similar
in magnitude to risks associated with smoking, hypertension
and hypercholesterolemia. Evidence
that regular physical activity has a protective effect against
coronary heart disease is now overwhelming.
In addition, research shows that physical activity can reduce
the risk of diabetes, colon cancer, hypertension and obesity.
It also promotes psychological wellbeing, builds and maintains
healthy bones, muscles and joints reducing the risk of severe
injury from falls, and increases functional independence.
Taking up physical activity even relatively late in life still
has a protective and beneficial effect.
The HPA, in partnership
with many other statutory and non statutory organisations,
has been working to reduce the high levels of inactivity in
the population of Northern Ireland through the development
of strategic policy and regional initiatives. In
addition, the Agency continues to support the implementation
of the Northern
Ireland physical activity strategy 1996-2002
through the facilitation and administration of regional
meetings, workshops and other forums and through its role
as key holder of the research, training and public information
elements of the strategy.
MacAuley D et al. The Northern Ireland Health and Activity
Survey. Belfast: HMSO, 1994.