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Northern Irish under-18s girls football team Photo by: Google Images

Irish girls are among the fittest in Europe, experts say

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Northern Irish under-18s girls football team Photo by: Google Images

Irish girls are in the top 20 percent of 12-13-year-olds in Europe in terms of fitness, according to a new school’s fitness challenge.

The study also shows that Irish boys are in the top 30 percent within Europe. However, organizers advised to treat the findings with caution as European fitness levels had consistently fallen in recent years.

The First Year Fitness Challenge is being run by Dublin City University with RTÉ Radio 1’s The John Murray Show. The findings were compared to a recent European study, it showed that half of the Irish children involved were in the top 20 percent for fitness levels within Europe.

Almost 8,600 12-13-year-olds from 125 schools across Ireland signed up to the program.

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Twice as many girls than boys opted to take part in the challenge which was spearheaded by Professor Niall Moyna, of DCU’s school of health and human performance, with analysis by Dr Mark Roantree of DCU’s school of computing.

Organizers used the beat the bleep test to measure fitness levels. This involved 20-metre shuttle runs, with the time to complete each run decreasing on each sprint, until the child could no longer run.

Some 917 girls out of 4691 (19.5 percent) could run 50 shuttles or more while 105 boys out of 3882 ran 100 shuttles or more – that’s 21.6 percent.

Speaking on The John Murray Show on Wednesday, Prof Moyna said he was “pleasantly surprised” at the findings.

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