GAA Healthy Clubs
GAA HEALTHY CLUB PROJECT - TRANSFORMING IRELAND’S HEALTH
- The Healthy Club project aims to transform GAA clubs into health-enhancing hubs for their communities
- With flagship Healthy Clubs now in every county of Ireland, the GAA is calling on more clubs to get involved
- So far, over 12,000 people have benefitted from physical activity programmes and 50% of Healthy Clubs are now smoke-free zones
1,000 people engaged with mental health and emotional wellbeing programmes
- Over half (55%) of Healthy Clubs delivered healthy eating programmes targeting teenagers in particular
An independent evaluation by the Centre for Health Behaviour Research, Waterford IT, has revealed that the GAA Healthy Club Project (HCP) is showing significant and lasting improvements to the health of communities across Ireland . Stemming from this, the HCP is calling on further clubs to make the GAA a healthier place for everyone to enjoy by signing up to this transformative initiative.
Pictured above: Back row L-R Catherine Byrne TD, Minister of State for Health Promotion, Uachtarán Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Aogán O Fearghail, Simon Harris TD, Minister for Health
Front row L-R: Dublin Ladies Footballer Lydsey Davey, Mayo Footballer Diarmuid O'Connor and Waterford Hurler Jamie Barron
The HCP began in 2013, in partnership with Healthy Ireland, HSE, National Office for Suicide Prevention, and is kindly supported by Irish Life. Its aim is to make every GAA club in Ireland a hub for health, capable of providing their members and communities with programmes that support their physical, emotional, and social wellbeing.
As part of the HCP to date, 58 clubs have delivered 350 initiatives covering: physical activity, healthy eating, mental fitness, gambling, alcohol and drug education, training and personal development, anti-bullying, anti-smoking and community development. The evaluation by Waterford IT revealed that approximately 60-80%1 of these initiatives were having a medium to high impact on members’ health.
Launching the next stage of the HCP, Minister for Health Simon Harris said:
"Congratulations to the GAA clubs that have already taken part in the Healthy Club Project. You are leading the charge and have already made a hugely positive contribution to the communities you serve”.
The Government recently launched the Healthy Ireland 2018 campaign through which people are encouraged to make positive choices to improve their physical and mental health. These positive choices are based around three key areas - eating more healthily, being more active, and minding our mental wellbeing.
The Healthy Club Project is a great example of one of our key sporting organisations working in partnership with the health sector to help people achieve these positive changes”.
Aogán Ó Fearghail, An Uachtarán Cumann Luthchleas Gael said:
*“Health and wellbeing is core to what the GAA is all about and the Healthy Club Project aims to build on this by making our clubs hubs for health that everyone can experience and enjoy. I’d like to thank our partners, Healthy Ireland, the HSE, National Office for Suicide Prevention, the Public Health Agency, and Irish Life, for helping to make the Healthy Club project the success it is. We look forward to growing the project from 60 to 150 clubs in this new phase”. *
Pictured above: *Back row L-R: Kate O'Flaherty Director of Health & Wellbeing, Department of Health, Uachtarán Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Aogán O Fearghail, Simon Harris TD, Minister for Health, CEO Irish Life David Harney and Department of Communities NI, Tony Murphy
Front row L-R: Catherine Byrne TD, Minister of State for Health Promotion, Dublin Ladies Footballer Lydsey Davey, Mayo Footballer Diarmuid O'Connor, Waterford Hurler Jamie Barron, Head of Department of Sport and Health Sciences AIT Dr Aoife Lane and Director of population Health, Department of Health NI Liz Redmond *
There are numerous examples of the positive impact the HCP is having within communities across Ireland, one such example is the “Men on the Move” (MOTM) programme. MOTM is a 12-week programme, developed and funded by the HSE, aiming to promote physical activity and general wellbeing among men over the age of 30.
The results analysed at week 12 showed MOTM Healthy Club participants showed an average weight loss of 2kg, and an average waist circumference drop of 3-4 cm, further analysis at week 26 showed weight loss and waist circumference drop was maintained. There was also a one-minute improvement in the time to complete one mile.
Participants also recorded improvements to their social and emotional wellbeing. The programme brought men together and provided them with the opportunity to exercise at their own pace, while developing new friendships.
Some of the personal experiences reported by the men include: enhanced confidence, communication and self- care. Direct quotes include:
*“The Men on The Move programme has created new friendships and left me feeling more positive about myself” and “I looked forward to the sessions to switch off and have a bit of craic with the lads after a tough day at work”. *
For at least one man, the programme has been “simply life changing”.
Clubs are encouraged to get involved and enjoy the numerous benefits, including exclusive access to Healthy Club resources, the potential to increase membership and broaden the volunteer base, better community engagement with club activities, improvements in health promoting activities, improved goodwill for the club, and opening up funding avenues, all the while enhancing the health of the nation.
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[1/> Lane, A., Murphy, N., and Callaghan, D. (2018). The Health Impact of the GAA Healthy Club Project. Centre for Health Behaviour Research, WIT, Waterford, Ireland.