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Bright spots physical activity investments that work: Youth-Physical Activity Towards Health (Y-PATH)
  1. Sarahjane Belton1,
  2. Wesley O’Brien2,
  3. Jamie McGann1,
  4. Johann Issartel1
  1. 1 School of Health and Human Performance, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2 School of Education, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sarahjane Belton, School of Health and Human Performance, Dublin City University, Dublin 9, Ireland; sarahjane.belton{at}

Statistics from

Programme card


  • Republic of Ireland, national coverage

Target population

  • Children aged 12–15 years; first year to third year postprimary school youth

What modes/types/domains of physical activity does the programme promote?

  • Total physical activity, moderate to vigorous physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour

Which of the seven best investments does the programme address?

  • The programme addresses two of the seven investments; Health Education and Education

What sectors does it involve?

  • Health Education and Education

Estimated programme reach

  • With a current average of 62 000 students in each of the 3 years at Junior Cycle, this gives an estimated reach of 186 000 children over this initial 3-year period, and a further estimated 62 000 children (annual first year intake nationally) for each year of commitment after that

What is special about this programme?

  • Youth-Physical Activity Towards Health (Y-PATH) is a whole school programme, reaching out to physical education (PE) class, all teachers and parents. Crucially, Y-PATH fully supports delivery of the existing national PE curriculum in schools so does not create additional workload for PE teachers, and has the support of key national agencies for PE teacher education, postprimary education, sports and health

Key contact

  • Dr Sarahjane Belton (

Programme website


Background to the programme 

The problem of low levels of youth physical activity (PA) participation in Ireland and internationally is clear and irrefutable.1 2 The Youth-Physical Activity Towards Health (Y-PATH) programme commenced in 2010, with cross-sectional research exploring predisposing and reinforcing factors influencing low levels of Irish youth PA participation (including fundamental movement skill (FMS) proficiency, and attitudes, motivation and knowledge towards PA).3 In consultation with key stakeholders a targeted ‘whole-school’ intervention programme was developed on the …

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