Cork South Central Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer has encouraged schools to incorporate physical education as part of the revised Junior Certificate.
“Exercise and physical activity plays an important role in ensuring general and mental health. If we are to encourage young people to lead healthy lives physical education must considered as an integral part of their education.
“The revised Junior Cycle framework provides that when a student completes the Junior Certificate they should be able to participate in physical activity confidently and competently. In addition to this, as part of the Junior Cycle Review, there will be an opportunity for schools to develop short courses which will be assessed by a portfolio. This provision has the potential to enable schools to include PE as part of the Junior Certificate.
“If we are to equip students to lead healthy lives when they leave school then we must promote physical education. Not only will this have clear benefits for individual students it will also have long term benefits for wider society.
“Figures from the Institute of Public Health in Ireland indicate that there will be a 30% increase in number of people living with diabetes over next ten years. Research suggests that almost one in ten people over 45 will be affected by the condition. This increase has serious consequences for individuals and society. We must take all possible steps to counteract its impact.
“The most worrying aspect the increased incidence of diabetes is that there has been a clear rise in the preventable type II diabetes, which accounts for about 90% of cases. Type II diabetes can be attributable to lifestyle choices, making healthier choices can prevent its onset. Schools are the ideal place to equip children to make healthy choices, incorporating PE as part of the Junior Certificate qualification can have long term benefits.”