Flagship event for Ireland’s Transition Year students

Martha O'Brien


Martha O'Brien




Flagship event for Ireland’s Transition Year students

Over 3,000 secondary students and teachers from all over the country attended last year’s HealthFest event in the RDS in Dublin. Organised by the National Dairy Council and safefood, the free event has become one of the most highly anticipated events for transition year students.

This year’s event is being held on Thursday April 26 at the National Sports Campus in Dublin. The full day seminar is designed to educate young people about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity in a practical, engaging and fun environment.


A recent study shows that there has been a “startling drop-off” in fitness among secondary school students after the Junior Cert. The findings, gathered as part of the Irish Life Health’s 2017 school fitness challenge, are likely to be of concern to parents and policy-makers. The results of the study of more than 30,000 students throughout Ireland and a survey of physical education teachers shows that there has been neglect in fitness in exam years and in particular after the Junior Cert.


Healthfest Speaker and fitness expert Karl Henry said “Regular activity can have a very positive impact on how you feel about yourself,” said Karl. “It’s about improving your energy and motivation. It’s about the fun and camaraderie of group or team-based activities. It’s about how good you can feel with each achievement along the way. But most of all it’s about the real difference this can make to your health now and in the future”.


There will Interactive sessions with the experts including leading fitness expert Karl Henry, Orla Walsh, a leading Irish independent dietitian, Chef Adrian Martin who will demonstrate some of his favourite dishes and special guest speaker, Eoghan McDermott of 2FM who will speak about the importance of looking after their mental health and wellbeing. The MC for the event is of Michael Carey, a radio and TV presenter and Mr Social Media for TG4 and also now has his own keep fit series with RTE in association with Operation transformation.


Diet and nutrition will be a big focus, giving young people the knowledge and understanding on how important it is to eat well. During the teenage years this is even more important to support the phase of rapid growth and development.


Speaking on importance of managing physical health and wellbeing  RTE’s Eoghan McDermott really resonated on this subject with last year’s audience, he said “The conversation around mental health has opened up so much the past few years, it really feels like the tide is turning in terms of people feeling comfortable in expressing openly times of distress. I look forward to acknowledging this shift and exploring what happens next.”


Healthfest is designed to advise students about feeling and looking their best from the inside out, making that first impression and above all, enjoying the ups and downs in life and turning them into positive learning experiences.


Minister for Education, Richard Bruton said, “This Government has put a strong emphasis on promoting and encouraging healthy lifestyles. Our schools have an important role to play in this by supporting and educating our young people to make healthy choices. Students are taught key skills to empower them to make these healthier life choices right throughout their education. This can be seen across the curriculum, through subjects such as Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE), and Home Economics as well as in Physical Education, which from this September will be an examinable Leaving Certificate subject. I welcome events such as Healthfest, as they support schools in these endeavors and I encourage the thousands of students attending the event to actively engage with the very interesting and informative sessions planned.”