Schools Fitness Challenge Results

This year’s challenge was completed over 11 weeks from September to December 2018. The fitness levels of Irish secondary school students were assessed, with the aim of helping Ireland become a fitter and healthier nation.

The aim of the Irish Life Health Schools’ Fitness Challenge is to highlight the importance of cardiovascular fitness for young people. The challenge also shows that improvements can be made with as little as 6 weeks of exercise and training.

The 2018 Irish Life Health Schools‘ Fitness Challenge

This year, 24,167 students (12,912 girls and 11,255 boys) took part in the challenge, with a total of 14,804 (8,246 girls and 6,558 boys) completing all phases of the challenge.

24,167 participated, 14,484 completed all phases


Congratulations to all of the schools who took part in the 2018 Irish Life Health Schools’ Fitness Challenge. A huge well done from everyone in Irish Life Health to all of our winners.

Ireland's Most Improved School, Ireland's Fittest School

Congratulations to the schools who came in second and third place. See full breakdown of results here.

Shuttle barometers

These barometers show the average number of shuttle runs completed by Irish boys and girls during phase 2 of the Irish Life Health Schools’ Fitness Challenge from 2013 to 2018. The ultimate target is recommended by the centre for Preventive Medicine, DCU.

Average Boys, Average Girls

Average Number of Shuttle Runs
Average Number of Shuttle Runs
Improvement Levels
Improvement Levels

Recommendations by Prof. Niall Moyna

  1. Low cardiorespiratory fitness during adolescents is associated with premature death and increased risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and non-alcohol fatty liver.

  2. Since the levels of cardiorespiratory fitness tend to track from adolescence to adulthood every effort should be made to promote high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness in early in life.

  3. The Irish Life Health Schools’ Fitness Challenge demonstrates that a 6-week exercise intervention can improve cardiovascular fitness by more than 10% among school-going children

  4. Continuous surveillance of cardiorespiratory fitness should be mandatory in secondary school, and should form part of a lifelong “health portfolio”

  5. Leaving Certificate students should receive up to 50 extra points for achieving targeting cardiovascular fitness levels

  6. There is an urgent need to improve health literacy among teenagers. On the basis that schools provide universal access to teenagers over a sustained period, this could potentially be achieved by introducing a new innovative health science curriculum in secondary school

Irish Life Health is committed to supporting the continued roll out of the Schools Fitness Challenge to schools and classes throughout Ireland this year, working in close partnership with Dublin City University.