Results released from the 2017 School’s Fitness Challenge, which saw over 30,000 students throughout Ireland particiapte, showed that girls outperformed boys over the six-week period, with an average fitness improvement of 16%, in comparison to 6% in boys.

This boost in cardiorespiratory fitness is proven to significantly lower risk of chronic diseases.

The Irish Life Health School’s Fitness Challenge analyses shuttle run performance, which is recognised as an “excellent tool” to screen youth fitness levels. The challenge measures cardiorespiratory fitness.

The winners of Ireland’s fittest school, mixed/overall were Gort Community School, Co Galway.

Additional insights from the Challenge results show that while participation is at an all-time high, there is a startling drop-off in numbers after Junior Cert, and lowest participation among Leaving Cert students.

Now in its sixth year, over 172,000 children in total participated in the Challenge, making this the third largest fitness study of its kind in the world.