Oaklands Community College in Edenderry has today (Friday) been named Ireland's fittest school for the second year running. Tullamore College has been named most improved mixed school in the Aviva Health schools' fitness challenge.
Devised by Professor Niall Moyna from the Centre of Preventative Medicine at Dublin City University and the Wellness Economic Initiative Alliance, the competition invites secondary schools around the country to make physical fitness a priority by assessing fitness levels of junior cycle students over a six week period.
More than 13,000 students countrywide - 7,242 boys and 5,825 girls - completed this year's challenge. Results have shown students who took part experienced a 19 per cent improvement in fitness levels on average.
The fitness gender gap is also closing. According to this year's results boys are now 45 per cent fitter than girls. Last year the corresponding figure was 60 per cent.
The competition scoreboard shows Waterford as the fittest county overall, with Offaly coming in second and Tipperary third.
"We are absolutely over the moon to have been awarded the title of Ireland's fittest school for the second time in a row," PE teacher at Oaklands Community College Roisin O'Connell said.
"Building on the foundations of last year's participation, we improved the fitness of our students by carrying out aerobic-based circuit training, going on three kilometre runs by the canal and encouraging students to take part in physical activity outside of school as well as keeping a six week exercise and food diary. We aim to maintain these high levels of physical activity, and hopefully we’ll be back here again next year for the hat-trick.”