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Press Release: Physical Activity Awareness Levels 23 08 15


Sunday August 23rd 2015



82% of the population not aware that 30mins of moderate exercise five times a week is the minimum amount needed for a healthy lifestyle
97% people not aware that the 0-5 years age group is most at risk of becoming obese
37% of the population are less physically active in recent years
Dubliners are the most physically active group of people in the country!
A national representative survey for the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP) has found an alarming lack of knowledge around some of the critical factors around obesity and the benefit of exercise to human health.
When asked a series of questions around physical activity and exercise awareness a startling 82% of people were not aware that adults need at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week is what is needed to remain healthy with nearly 40% unaware that physical inactivity is a high cause of mortality worldwide. Interestingly as well over a third (37%) of those surveyed didn’t know that physical activity reduces the risk of older people from falling, one in five (19%) were unaware that physical activity can be used as a treatment for mild to moderate forms of depression and 51% were unaware that disabled people are more likely to be obese when they don’t exercise.
The survey also asked the survey sample of 1,000 people to compare their physical activity to five years ago over a disturbing 37% admitted that they have become less physically active in recent years whilst 41% indicated they are more active now than they were five years ago. Of the cohort that have become less physically active the 55+ and 18-24 age brackets at either end of the spectrum surveyed were the worst offenders at 41% and 39% respectively. Interestingly Dubliners were the grouping to have increased their exercise the most in Ireland (50%) more than any other region with Munster next (41%) followed by Connacht/Ulster (37%) and Rest of Leinster being the worst (35%).
Surprisingly the vast majority of adults (97%) were unaware that children under the age of five are in fact the age group most at risk of becoming obese and remaining obese through the various life stages. Interestingly almost a third of adults thought that the 5-15 (30%) or the 15-30 age brackets (30%) were most at risk of becoming obese.
The ISCP also asked survey participants about the kind of injuries they may have had over the past few years or are currently receiving treatment for and they were shown that sports related injuries (41%) were the most common reason for receiving treatment from a chartered physiotherapist and unsurprisingly this was dominated by males (56%) and the 18-24 years age group (80%), trauma related injuries were next (20%) followed by back and muscle pain as well as broken bones (combined at 17%).
The national health survey was commissioned by the ISCP in advance of World Physiotherapy Day which is being held this year on September 8th and is being used as an opportunity for physiotherapists from all over the world to raise awareness about the crucial contribution the profession makes to keeping people well, mobile, independent and help people fulfil their potential after serious illness or injury. ISCP President Jill Long said “The ignorance of the main facts related to the benefits of exercise for positive health is both startling and alarming and requires the immediate raising of public awareness by the Government and the HSE. We realize that Chartered Physiotherapists have an enormous part to play in the overall health of the nation and are capable of becoming the big game-changing profession when it comes to improving health especially in tackling the problem of increasingly sedentary lifestyles, advising schools and industry about office and classroom ergonomics, as well as health behaviour change and exercise. Health policy and decision makers need to recognise the intrinsic value of chartered physiotherapy which has the capability to influence significant cost savings and reduce waiting lists in the healthcare system and play a lead role in preventative healthcare for the nation. Physical inactivity is among the most significant global health problems in the 21st Century. It is the fourth highest cause of mortality worldwide, and is in the top ten causes of death and disability in moderate-to-high income countries.”
“There are only 55 physiotherapists per 1,000 persons of the population in Ireland, this is among the lowest in Europe, placing Ireland alongside Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia. Chartered physiotherapists are the only health professionals with expertise in movement and exercise throughout the lifespan and across the health spectrum and as experts in movement and exercise with a thorough knowledge of functional anatomy and pathology and its effects on all systems, chartered physiotherapists are the ideal health professionals to promote, guide, prescribe and manage exercise activities,” she continued.
About The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP):
The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists is the national, professional body representing over 3,000 Chartered Physiotherapists in Ireland. The Society is respected and recognised both within and outside the profession, as the voice of physiotherapy in Ireland. We support our members in delivering the highest standards of professional care and work with them to develop their skills and support them in their practice. 
The Society is the sole Irish Member Organisation of the international physiotherapy professional organisation, the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) and contributes to the development of the profession both nationally and internationally. In Ireland the title Chartered Physiotherapist can only be used by current members of the Society or by the members of our equivalent body in the United Kingdom, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP). The initials MISCP indicate that a physiotherapist is a member of the Society. Chartered Physiotherapists represent the highest standard of practice and service and set the benchmark for professional practice in Ireland. 
The ISCP provides a range of exciting services to its membership including:
Advocacy & Supports
Professional Development Opportunities
Clinical & Specialist Development
Advice on Professional Issues and Practice
Chartered Physiotherapists, who are all members of the Society, work in a variety of settings including hospital, the community and private practice. The help to treat patients and service users from all age groups and all walks of life from birth right through to old age.
Survey Note:
This nationally representative Online Omnibuzz© Survey was carried out by Empathy Research in August 2015 of 1,000 Irish adults; quota controlled by age, gender and region where 51% of same were females and 49% were males.