One of the most used Sport Ireland reports is the 2018 Children Sport Participation and Physical Activity (CSPPA) study report.
The attraction of national coverage of different areas of sport and physical activity has far reaching audiences from the children and teachers in schools, the community sports and local sport partnerships, family members as well as informing policy and governance. Documents like the CSPPA can demonstrate how popular a sport maybe in the school setting, yet tell another story when it comes to the amount of participation in community sport. This can lead to indirect questions for the national governing bodies and school sport offerings. Besides sports, there are many health benefits from participating in regular amounts of physical activity. For children and adolescents, these include social benefits, having fun, developing skills and competences as well as improving their physical health profile. Based on benching the data, it is possible to see how well children and adolescents meet national and international guidelines of physical activity for health. According to the 2018 CSSPA report, 13% of children and adolescents reported to participate in daily moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 60 minutes a day. As such, there is a large problem of physical inactivity among Irish children and adolescents. Ireland is not alone in this. Many other countries around the world carry out physical activity surveillance, and physical inactivity has been called a global pandemic. CSPPA data has been used in the forthcoming Irish Report Card based on the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance in the Global Matrix Physical Activity Report Cards. This can only be made by a system that collect data from the population. Of course, collecting data from everyone is expensive, hence national representative samples are drawn up so that individuals could represent groups of individuals from Ireland.
In 2022, the CSPPA study started to collect data from the Republic of Ireland as well as Northern Ireland. CSPPA is one of the few studies that has an all-island approach. In the past, researchers went into the schools to collect data. In 2022, due to school restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, data collection was shifted to teacher administration only. This has meant that teachers who have their everyday job were then tasked with an additional responsibility. To acknowledge this, these teachers were called ‘CSPPA ambassadors’. The ambassadors worked with the researchers to ensure that data can be collected in the classrooms through an online survey platform, while the researchers were sitting by their desks waiting for the data to arrive. Well, the researchers did more than that, as data collection is a highly complex activity that includes, sampling, recruiting, training, supporting administration, follow up, data checking and cleaning, before data can be analysed. The CSPPA report is a work in progress, and watch this space for details of its launch. For more information on its progress, please visit the CSPPA website, https://www.csppa.ie
Kwok Ng is a Post-Doctoral Researcher in the Physical Educations and Sport Sciences Department, UL.
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