‘Children are less fit’ despite €2.4bn spend on exercise

People in Ireland spend €2.4bn on sport and fitness every year, but most adults believe children are doing less exercise than they themselves did as children.

Adults here are spending almost €450m on sports clothing, footwear and equipment and €255m on sports’ club membership.

However, the sport research report, published by commercial law firm Philip Lee Solicitors found the gym industry was flagging. There were 900,000 lapsed gym memberships — 64% of former members said they could no longer afford the fee.

Amárach, which conducted the research for Philip Lee, found 850,000 adults are members of a gym. There are twice as many female gym members compared to men and membership is most popular with people under 35.

Gym members tend to use their membership quite frequently, with one in five users using the gym four or more times a week. They also spend a combined €435m on membership every year — the average annual membership cost is €330.

According to the report, more than six out of 10 (62%) adults believe children are doing less exercise than in the past — due to the advance of electronic devices: video games (84%); gadgets (77%); and TV (71%) were blamed.

Also, 62% believe that dropping children to school has a negative impact on children’s fitness levels and 45% also believe that not being allowed to run in playgrounds also contributes to the problem.

Nearly half of adults believe that the Government was not doing enough to promote sport. Also, two out of three adults thought Government funding of sport should be increased.

Managing partner of the legal firm Philip Lee, said that in post-recession Ireland the Government had an opportunity to develop a national sports’ policy that could deliver health and education benefits.

International research shows for every euro spent by government on sport, five or more euro is generated in additional activities, cost savings and other benefits.

The report also found:

-More than 1.6m adults place bets on sporting events and most (60%) go to a traditional bookie to place a bet.

-There is a shift to gambling online, particularly among those aged 25 to 34.

-More than two-thirds (36%) of gamblers said they used a laptop or personal computer to place a bet online. Almost one in five (17%) used a smartphone or tablet to place a bet.

-Nearly half of all adults believe Ireland has a cultural gambling problem around sporting events.


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