Growing up in Ireland: Key results for five year olds

The latest Key Findings from the Infant Cohort at 5-years was launched today by Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs at the Growing Up in Ireland Annual Conference.

These 11,100 children have been followed from birth with interviews taking place at nine months, three years and now five years of age. 24% of all participating children were overweight or obese at three years, while at five years this figure had dropped slightly to 20%, due to a drop among those who were overweight. Obesity remained at 5% at both ages. Girls were more likely to be overweight than boys (17% compared to 13%) and were just slightly more likely to be obese than boys (6% compared to 5%). Children from less advantaged backgrounds were more likely to be overweight or obese than those from more advantaged backgrounds. .

Researchers found that five years olds consume about 1,500 calories per day, however children from more socially disadvantaged backgrounds consumed about 23% more than this each day. Children who spent three or more hours in front of a screen were considerably more likely to consume unhealthy foods more often and those from low income groups were found to have higher levels of daily screen-time. Children who had long periods of ‘screen-time’ were also  more likely to have emotional/behavioural problems.

There was a very high take-up of the Free Preschool Year scheme (95%). Most significantly, one in four families who had availed of it said they would not have been able to provide preschool for their child had it not been for the scheme. This rose to more than one in three among more disadvantaged families. Of those who had started primary school the majority appeared to have settled well into the school and to have had a positive attitude towards it.

The Growing Up in Ireland study is an on-going project funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and conducted by researchers from the Economic and Social Research Institute and Trinity College Dublin.

Posted: 28/11/2013 11:53:23 by Laura Keaver


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