Research has been published which indicates that the cardiovascular health of some inactive teenagers is akin to that of a 60-year-old.
The Irish Times claim that teenagers are neglecting their fitness in the build-up to the Leaving Certificate exams.
Prof Niall Moyna of Dublin City University (DCU) has stated that fitness levels of certain Irish secondary school students have been diminishing hugely from the age of 15 onwards, more specifically among girls.
Teenagers who are inactive have been discovered to have significantly more plaque on their artery walls, and researchers are calling for parents to ask PE teachers about their child's fitness.
PE teachers are also saying that their roles aren't being taken with the seriousness which they deserve. Irish Life Health’s annual fitness challenge gathered the findings through school fitness testing.
The project was overseen by Professor Moyna, who stated that the results are a “wake-up call” for parents, schools, students and policy-makers.
The lead-up to the Leaving Certificate exams, undertaken in sixth year of secondary school, appears to be the age where pupils are becoming far more inactive.
Professor Moyna has now said that this raises the risk factors for a range of future chronic diseases such as heart conditions and diabetes.
“Considering the importance of this, why are we not doing more about it? How often are parents asking their PE teacher about their child’s fitness?" he said.
Research shows that small steps through a six-week activity programme can massively improve fitness levels by roughly 10 percent. The introduction of PE as a Leaving Cert subject this year was a much-needed step.