2,000+ children across 4 provinces and 10,000 km: Moving Well - Being Well is making a serious impact
The Insight, DCU, Dublin GAA and GAA research project Moving Well - Being Well has been underway for a number of months and researchers have been criss-crossing the country, assessing more than 2,000 children in 40 schools scattered across 12 counties in all four provinces. This is only the beginning.
Moving Well - Being Well is a massive research project that aims to improve children's fitness and wellbeing in a child centred manner. Running, skipping, kicking a ball, catching a ball – these are movements that come naturally to all children, right? Wrong. Recent research from Dublin City University found that this isn’t the case. A 2014 study found that just 11% of Irish adolescents had mastered basic skills such as these. Leader of that study, Dr Johann Issartel, said back in March, "It's a potential catastrophe for public health because the inability to perform fundamental movement skills leads to an aversion to sports and exercise later in life. It's a time bomb for the healthcare system.” This is where Moving Well - Being Well comes in.
With more than 10,000 kilometres covered so far, researchers have assessed the current state of Irish children’s motor skills, alongside other health related factors such as their cardiovascular fitness, body mass index, strength, and flexibility. In addition, they have surveyed exactly how much physical activity these children get and measured a number of psychological factors around physical activity, including confidence, motivation, and perceived competence, as well as assessing their wellbeing. They are now developing schools based interventions to improve those skills while taking various psychological and environmental factors into account. They will also ascertain the best ways to upskill teachers and coaches.
The team have been well received in schools. All of the teachers surveyed rated the research as, “extremely important,” or, “very important.”
Principal of St Oliver Plunkett’s Primary School in Forkhill, Armagh, Kevin Plunkett said, “The research has brought a greater focus on the need to look at the whole area of well-being in our young people. Something that unfortunately that is being ignored at present.”
Teacher Nicola O’Connor said, “The team were incredibly professional and the children thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the research. It was great to see them so engaged and enjoying exercise.”
After testing the children’s abilities, researchers will create an intervention which will be adopted in schools and delivered by DCU and Insight researchers as well as Coaching Officers from the GAA from September 2017.