“I am very encouraged by CSO data which shows that almost 73% of people aged 15 years and older are physically active but this still leaves over 25% who are not and no information on the activity levels of our children”, says Peter Fitzpatrick, Fine Gael TD for Louth and Member of the Oireachtas Health Committee.
“The latest information shows that 72.5% of people in Ireland aged 15 and over are active. There were approximately 3,593,700 people in that age category in 2014 so that means just under 900,000 people are not active. Even allowing for elderly people and those who are inactive due to illness, there are well over half a million people who are not taking exercise and who should be.
“In addition we do not know about the activity levels of over 1 million children up to the age of 15, but we do know that obesity remains a major problem in this country and this issue begins from a very young age.
“The data released today shows that of those who are active, six out of ten choose walking as their form of exercise. Walking is free, it is convenient and it is suitable for people of all ages, shapes and sizes.
“Overall, lack of time was the main reason given for non-participation. 21.5% of people said this was due to work and 13.3% said it was due to family commitments. While it is very understandable that many people are under pressure because of hectic work schedules or family lives, it is important that we all remember that people who exercise regularly are more productive and that by looking after your own health, you are helping your family.
“This weekend the annual Fitzers 5k will take place in Dundalk. Community events like these give people of all abilities the chance to get out and a goal to work towards.
“While it is encouraging to know that 72.5% of people are active, now is not the time to celebrate Ireland as a fit and healthy society. We are just not there yet.
“Last month the EU Health Commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis came before the Oireachtas Health Committee and I took the opportunity to highlight the obesity problem in Ireland as a key issue. I outlined the need for an imaginative, forward thinking and courageous response, and I believe the need is still there to take this action.”