Research & Insights

On this page you will find

  • Current status & recommended guidelines
  • Videos & audios
  • Articles & latest research
  • List of other school programmes
  • What could the future hold
Insights & Research icon
Insights & Research icon

Current status

Activity

  • 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.

Nutrition

  • 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. Almost half consume 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.  Research shows the result is lowered intellectual capability, a weaker immunity, poor energy levels, moodiness, lack of motivation, headaches, weight gain 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.

Articles & Research

Videos & Audios

Shocking stats: Research from the University of Western Australia and the Imperial College in London analysed the physical activity data of 1.6 million students.  Australia came up as one of the worst performers, ranking in at 140/146. New Zealand came in at 138! Read more here

More 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.

The benefit of small bouts of exercise . Children who break up sitting time the most often, with small bouts of physical activity, had the healthiest adiposity indicators, even though they engaged in less total time in physical activity bouts compared to other groups. Study released January 2020.

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 trialled’.  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.

www.activehealthykidsaustralia.com.au (AHKA) Introduced the Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Young People.  Fascinating data.

Professor Niall Moyna  “… 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 into 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 children with higher CRF (cardiorespiratory fitness) have better cognition functions than their lower aerobic capacity peers. Read more here

1 in 7 children has high blood pressure.  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.

Should 100 minutes of sport per week, in schools be compulsory?  Anne Krohn gives her opinion in this article from the Financial Review.

‘SPARK’ by Dr John Ratey . Ideal for those interested in the science of why exercise has such a positive impact on mental health, cognitive abilities and behavioural issues.  Included is the fascinating case study of Paul Zientarski’s programme which turned 19,000 students into the fittest and smartest in the US!

Barriers to exercise – A quick squizz at some graphs revealing the barriers kids had to an exercise programme at their school.

Canterbury University, New Zealand:  We are in discussions with them to research our programmes!   If you’re a school and want to receive our programmes for free by being part of the research, then please do drop us a line – hello@catchfitnessforschools.com.

ESSA guide: Released August 2020 – Useful stats, links and ideas around youth activity levels. Produced in Aussie but lots of relevance to kids everywhere.

Our articles

What the future could hold

Some of the ideas being tossed around, for better or worse, include:-

  • VR:  We knew that though didn’t we?
  • 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.  Greater, easier accessibility to biofeedback will help push home the message to users and deliverers.
  • Micro breaks: School age children to move a little every 20 – 30 minutes, in line with recommendations for adults.
  • Survival fitness: Youth physical activity at schools to include functional, emergency and/or survival fitness.
  • Health and safety:  Obligation to improve worsening physical activity/sedentary levels of children increases for health and safety reasons.  Legal cases emerge, and the definition of ‘child abuse’ grows alongside the factors regarded as contributing to avoidable and unacceptably low health levels.
  • CVs: 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 variable premiums based on more bio-markers.