Secondary school pupils in Ireland are among the top 30 per cent of European 12 to 13-year-olds in terms of fitness, according to a new study.
Prof Niall Moyna, of Dublin City University's school of health and human performance, spearheaded the First Year Fitness Challenge alongside RTE Radio 1's The John Murray Show, the Irish Times reports.
Using a bleep test to measure how many 20-metre shuttle runs the children could run within a decreasing amount of time, 125 schools across Ireland took part in the research.
The findings revealed girls feature in the top 20 per cent for fitness, while boys are in the top 30 per cent.
During an interview with The John Murray Show, Professor Moyna said he was "pleasantly surprised" with the findings.
The schools that recorded the highest fitness levels are now invited to take part in the second stage 'Beat the Bleep' assessment, which will see prizes awarded to classes that show a marked improvement between their first and second stage results.