Research & Insights

On this page you will find

  • Current status & recommended guidelines
  • Videos & audios
  • Articles & research
  • What could the future hold
Insights & Research icon
Insights & Research icon

Current status


  • Kids and teens should get 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. School-age children should not be inactive for periods longer than 2 hours unless they’re sleeping.
  • Currently only 10% of students in New Zealand and 20% in Australia and the UK achieve these recommended WHO – World Health Organisation, activity levels
  • Only 1 in 20 U.S. adolescents are meeting national recommendations for sleeping, physical activity, and screen time.


  • In Australia it is recommended that children eat 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit.  In New Zealand the recommended amount is just 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit.
  • The 2015 Australian Bureau of Statistics national health survey revealed only 4% of kids are eating 5 or more serves of veggies, with almost half consuming just 1 serve of vegetables or less a day.
  • Meanwhile WHO currently recommends a total of 10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day!

What this means

Physically, mentally and emotionally our youth are negatively affected by poor nutrition and low activity levels.  The result is lowered intellectual capability, a weaker immunity, poor energy levels, moodiness, lack of motivation, headaches, weight gain (in NZ, Australian, the UK and the USA around 30% of children are overweight or obese) and poor self esteem.

Long term this makes our youth more prone to chronic illness, decreases their career opportunities and makes positive relationships more challenging.

Videos & Audios

Articles & Research

Shocking stats  Only 1 in 20 U.S. adolescents is meeting national recommendations for sleeping, physical activity, and screen time, according to research with nearly 60,000 high school students. Just 3 percent of girls reached all three targets, compared to 7 percent of boys. Read more here.

Interventions to improve physical activity among socioeconomically disadvantaged groups : An umbrella review examining, the effectiveness of interventions to improve physical activity among socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. In their conclusions they stated: Physical activity interventions that are designed with a broad range of benefits in mind, not just obesity prevention, should be trialed.  Read more here

The cost of obesity  Summarizing statistics from a report from Obesity Australia in conjunction with PwC and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. (AHKA) Introduced the Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Young People.  Fascinating data.

Professor Niall Moyna  “One of the issues is that people are making this claim about PE, that it’s going to cure all our problems….Even the word ‘sport’, the mention of that word turns a lot of people off. Maybe we have to change that and talk about health and lifestyle.” Read more here.

Movement in the classroom Innovative movement ideas.  ‘”..after a student has moved, their hippocampus is more efficient at storing information as well as creating the necessary neural connections to recall the information quicker when needed.” …Read more here.

Use of apps with physical activity programmes : Despite teachers facilitating the prescribed dose of 10 minutes HIIT and students doing the sessions, app engagement was low. The programme otherwise is looking to be a huge success and points to the need to pick and choose when, how and appification is layered onto programmes.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Includes guidance for preschool children (ages 3 through 5 years) and elimination of the requirement for physical activity of adults to occur in bouts of at least 10 minutes.  Read more here.

More than 200,000 Irish secondary students  participated in the Irish Life Health Schools’ Fitness Challenge.  They have analysed the results since 2011 and say that ‘a new innovative health science curriculum in secondary school is urgently needed…’ Read more here.

Birth weight, cognitive function and cardiorespiratory fitness intervention.  A study of 664 school children showed that low birth weight children scored lower in all cognition variables than their normal birth weight peers. Furthermore, children with higher CRF (cardiorespiratory fitness) have better cognition functions than their lower aerobic capacity peers. And, CRF fully mediates the relationship between birth weight and verbal factor, numerical factor and general intelligence; and partially the relationship with logical reasoning and spatial factor. Read more here

1 in 7 children have high blood pressure Reported Project Spraoi, run in a Cork school for two years and which improved blood pressure and waist-to-height ratio (a better measurement than BMI). Read more here.

Our articles

  • Micro Breaks for Macro Benefits? Find out how 30 seconds micro breaks could help your students.
  • Move Over Sport – Why growing the physical activity options available for youth has become a matter of urgency.  Available on LinkedIn
  • Why Tennis Walls Work – The 6 features of tennis walls that make them a great option to support more physical activity in communities.

What could the future hold

While we’d welcome some of these with open arms, others not so much!

  • Academic achievement: Greater understanding and appreciation of the connection between daily physical activity and fitness with improved academic achievement, mental health and overall well-being.
  • Micro breaks: School age children to move every 20 – 45 minutes, in line with Heart Foundation recommendations for adults.  Incorporation of micro breaks of 30 seconds upwards into classrooms.
  • Survival fitness: Youth physical activity at schools to include functional, emergency and/or survival fitness.
  • Exercise professionals: Use of local exercise professionals in schools to help deliver on-site, in classroom, physical activity sessions
  • Health and safety:  Obligation to improve worsening physical activity levels of children increases for health and safety reasons.  What qualifies as ‘abuse’ grows to encompass avoidable and unacceptably low health levels.
  • CVs and workplaces: Students start including  a physical fitness/health ‘status’ and commitment to being active on their CVs for all jobs, not just physically demanding jobs.  Workplaces paying lower premiums for healthier and fitter workplaces/staff.