Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Questions (171)

Louise O'Reilly


171. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the status of the implementation of the national physical activity plan; the progress to date on implementing each of the recommendations contained in the plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3416/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Significant progress has been made on the implementation of the National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) since its publication in 2016. Progress is overseen by an Implementation Group (IG), which is co-chaired by the Departments of Health and Transport, Tourism and Sport.  The NPAP IG includes representation from the Departments of Education and Skills, Children and Youth Affairs, Housing, Planning and Local Government, Sport Ireland, the HSE, the LGMA and researchers. The NPAP IG is also supported by two sub-groups with regard to Action Areas Two and Seven; Children and Young People and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation.

Implementation to date is concentrating on a range of activities including:

- Incorporation of physical activity as a key element of the Healthy Ireland Communications Campaign;  

- Supporting the Department of Education and Skills in provision of physical activity and physical education in school, including expansion of the Active School Flag programme to post-primary schools, launch of the Daily Mile and support for the new Leaving Cert and Senior Cycle PE curricula, including the development of the Phyz app to support SCPE.

- Extension of Community Sport and Physical Activity Hubs (by Sport Ireland through Local Sports Partnerships);

- Continued expansion of  community walking groups under the Get Ireland Walking Strategy;

- Support for the European Week of Sport and Physical Activity, an annual week in September with over 500 events nationwide including the Great Dublin Bike Ride and National Fitness Day (led by Sport Ireland, supported by Healthy Ireland and other key stakeholders, including Ireland Active);

- Engagement with key stakeholders to progress actions aimed at increasing national participation in physical activity: a multi-disciplinary Stakeholder Forum on the Built Environment was held in November, 2018, to support key actions in both the Obesity Policy and Physical Activity Plan;

- Co-ordination of the aims and objectives of the NPAP with the new Sports Policy.

- Progressing research into effective physical activity interventions; for example, the Move for Life, Y-Path, Healthy Ireland Demonstration Project and Ireland's Physical Activity Research Collaboration are all ongoing. Sport Ireland and the ESRI are progressing a review and follow-up intervention on physical activity in disadvantaged areas

- Research and monitoring of population physical activity levels are progressing, with pre-NPAP baselines collated and further surveys conducted by the Irish Sports Monitor, Healthy Ireland Survey, Children's Sport

Participation and Physical Activity Study (CSPPA), The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), Health Behaviours in School Children (HBSC) and others. Recent iterations of CSPPA and HBSC are scheduled to be published in 2019; the 2019 Healthy Ireland Survey (to be published in October) also contains a module on physical activity and inactivity. 

In summary, many of the key actions in the Plan have been significantly progressed, with some completed. Both a summary Progress Report and a full Implementation Report were published in 2017 and can be viewed on the Healthy Ireland website,

An updated Summary and Implementation Report will be published online in Q1, 2019.

Implementation of the NPAP has been supported from various sources, including the Departments listed above, Sport Ireland, the HSE and the Healthy Ireland Fund.