Thursday 22 March 2018

We'd save ourselves €135m if more people kept fit

LAZINESS is killing us. A chronic lack of exercise, across the population, is leading to breast cancer, diabetes and heart disease and a new plan to tackle this could save the State up to €135m a year.

Experts from the School of Health and Human Performance at Dublin City University have found that just one in 10 secondary school pupils gets the recommended 120 minutes of physical exercise a week.

Three in every four adults and eight in every 10 children do not meet the guidelines for maintaining and improving their health.

Lack of physical exercise is a direct cause of 15-21pc of breast cancers, 27pc of diabetes and 30pc of ischaemic heart disease.

The expert group, who were helped by academics from the University of Limerick, Waterford Institute of Technology and the University of Ulster found that a national plan to increase activity and exercise levels could save the State up to €135m a year. The group says the activity plan should be high on the agenda of the next Government.

"Physical inactivity is a serious national issue which can no longer be ignored," says Dr Catherine Woods, the head of the School of Health at DCU. "All our research has identified a number of disturbing statistics on physical activity in Ireland's children and adults, the consequences of which are serious both on an individual basis and in terms of the burden it places on Ireland's health system. A national plan would improve considerably the functional capacity, health and well-being of the population and would save significantly on public expenditure."


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