National Scoot to School Week is an annual event run by Green Schools Ireland. The campaign aims to raise environmental awareness, as well as keep children active and fit. This year, National Scoot to School Week takes place from the 20th to the 24th of March.
Not many mammies would be too impressed if their child got home from school with a D- on anything, but in 2014, that’s what every child in Ireland did. According to the International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health, less than 25% of children in Ireland spend at least an hour a day on physical activities. This is based on a number of factors, such as play, sedentary behaviour, and transport. Our highest score was a B+ for community & environmental criteria. While we were upgraded to a D in 2015 and 2016, when it comes to physical activity, Irish children fall flat on their face.
According to research published by the World Health Organisation in 2015, Ireland is set to become the most obese country in Europe by 2030. This may come as a surprise to many Irish people, who have not traditionally seen Ireland as an overweight country. In reality though, 1 in 4 children in Ireland today are overweight. 19% are classified as overweight, with a further 6% qualifying as obese.
As worrying as those statistics may be, the real issue lies in identifying when a child is not a healthy weight. 20% of parents to obese Irish children did not realise their child was an unhealthy weight. That figure jumps to 54% for parents of overweight kids.
Scoot to School
Research conducted by Limerick’s Mary Immaculate College found that the number of Irish children walking to school has dropped dramatically over the course of the past few decades. The researchers interviewed over 1,600 parents and found that, while over 60% of them walked to school as children, only 18% of them have children who walk to school today. This is in contrast to the fact that only 20% of the parents were driven to school as children, in comparison to 54% today.
Statistics such as those mentioned above highlight not only the importance of addressing this issue, but also the fact that the responsibility lies with all of us. Children today walk less because we drive them. They move less because we give them technology to play with. Campaigns such as Scoot to School Week aim to raise awareness of these problems, and encourage everyone to address them together.
Scoot to School Week takes place from the 20th to the 24th of March, but the campaign also encourages schools to adopt SOW day, or Scoot on Wednesdays.