Physical inactivity is thought to be the main cause in up to one in four cases of breast and colon cancer, at least one in four cases of diabetes and almost one in three cases of ischaemic heart disease. However, an all-island research body is attempting to tackle this issue.
The All Island All Active (AIAA) cross border research body is due to hold a new workshop in Cork later this week. It will be attended by a range of delegates including leaders of sports councils, the Federation of Irish Sport and the Special Olympics. It is aiming to increase physical activity levels throughout Ireland to ‘3 in 5 citizens by 2025'.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor in relation to deaths worldwide, playing a key role in at least 6% of global deaths.
In response to this, the AIAA is aiming to increase activity levels to ‘3 in 5 citizens by 2025' through ‘robust research shaped by the needs of public, private, community and voluntary sectors'.
This week's workshop, which will take place in University College Cork (UCC), will advise delegates on how best to target research funding in this area.
The AIAA is the only cross-border body to tackle this issue in this way. It will enable those involved to pool their knowledge and expertise to develop strategies that will help support members of the public to maintain participation in physical activities throughout their lives.
According to Prof Deirdre Brennan of Ulster University, ‘it is imperative that we take a partnership approach to exploring the most effective means of improving levels of physical activity across the lifespan and in different contexts given the impact physical activity has on health'.
This was backed up by Sean Kelly, MEP, who is also an advisor to the AIAA on EU policy.
"With rising levels of obesity and type 2 diabetes, the time for an all-island approach to encouraging citizens to be physically active across their lives is imperative," he insisted.
The workshop in UCC takes place on Thursday, May 2.
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