The 2022 Ireland North and South Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Adolescents was produced as part of the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance and is part of the Global Matrix 4.0, which includes 57 countries. As part of the Global Matrix, researchers in each country strived to find the best and latest evidence on 10 indicators related to behaviours, physical fitness, and sources of influence. In Ireland, Physical Education was added as an extra specific indicator. The global initiative used a standardised grading system with grades from A to F, and where there was insufficient data to create a grade, it is considered as INC.
Professors Catherine Woods, Alan Donnelly, Senior Lecturer Dr Elaine Murtagh and Researcher Dr Kwok Ng, from the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences at UL have worked on this report card with other investigators from Ulster University, Institute of Public Health, Dublin City University, Munster Technological University, Technical University of Shannon, University College Cork, and University of Strathclyde.
The last time the report card was published was in 2016. The main findings from 2022 were that physical activity levels in children and teenagers across Ireland and Northern Ireland have improved slightly over the past eight years but not all children and teens have an equal chance to be active. For example, in 2016, Overall Physical Activity was graded ‘D’, and in 2022, this grade improved to ‘C-‘. The School and Physical Education indicators also increased since 2016.
Dr Kwok Ng also lead on reporting the disability data across all of the indicators and with 8 of the 11 indicators with grades. There were lower grades in Overall Physical Activity (F) and Organised Sport & Physical Activity (D) than the general population, but was higher for the Family & Peers (C) indicator.
Much of the data came from the 2018 CSPPA study, led by Professor Catherine Woods. The CSPPA study is a unique study in that it measures children’s sport participation and physical activity across the Island of Ireland. The 2022 data just collected is likely to be used in the next edition of the report card.
The North South Report Card was funded by the Public Health Agency, Department of Health and Healthy Ireland, Sport Northern Ireland, Sport Ireland, and the Institute of Public Health.