Programmes for healthy weight and activity

Here are some examples of courses and programmes provided or funded by the HSE to help families make changes to their eating habits and activity levels. To find out about activities in your area, contact your local HSE Area Office, your Public Health Nurse, Primary Care Centre, Health Centre, GP, or visit

Don’t Weight Parents - Galway 12 week programme for overweight/obese parents & their unhealthy weight children. Next course is planned to start in Jan./Feb. 2014 Paul Gillen, H.P. Officer
091 737261
Raising Sons for Fathers - Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Clare, N. Tipperary A 2 night interactive course for Dads wishing to improve their parenting skills and relationship with their sons so that they can become even better fathers. Referral via self referral, PHN, Community Projects etc. Paul Gillen, H.P. Officer
091 737261

Healthy Food Made Easy -

Cork & Dublin, Kildare, W. Wicklow, Longford & Westmeath, Laois & Offaly

Practical nutrition programme targeted at disadvantaged communities

HSE Dublin North - Kathleen Jordan 01 8708097

HSE Dublin Mid Leinster Cara Cunningham Phone 09064 24845

HSE South Fiona Rush

HSE Dublin S. West, Kildare, West Wicklow – Helen Ryan 01 4632830 + Fiona Moloney 01 6106144 + Antoinette Van Gurp 01 4632826

* HSE Dublin North City – Monina Hughes 01 8976159

Healthy Food Made Easy & Cool Dudes - Dublin, Wicklow Practical nutrition programme targeted at disadvantaged communities. Cool Dudes targets age 10-14yrs. * HSE Dublin South East & Wicklow – Deirdre Walsh 01 2362889
Cook It - HSE South East, Cork, HSE N East, Limerick, Clare, Mid West/North Tipp Practical cookery programme targeted at disadvantaged communities. This is a peer led course with local people being trained to deliver it in their communities.

HSE South (East) – Deirdre Howlin 087 2908235

HSE South - Fiona Rush 087 1234037

HSE North East – Susanne.shevlin 041 6860713

HSE Mid West – Christine Gurnett 061 483215

HSE Mid West/North Tipp – Kay Finn 067 46477

* HSE Midwest/Clare – Anne Griffin 065 6865844 `

Supermarket Tours - Galway The FREE Supermarket Nutrition Tours run  by the involve a qualified nutritionist going with members of the public (about six people) through the aisles of the supermarket and showing them how to read and understand nutrition &healthy options. Themed tours of approx 1.5hrs in local supermarket for Overweight, Diabetics, Coeliacs, Parents etc.

Lisa Corbett,

HSE West Community Nutrition

and Dietetic Service (CNDS)

091 861130/737250

Triple P Parenting Programme - Midlands, Dublin Northside

Lifestyle Triple P is a Positive Parenting Program for parents who want to help their children (aged 5-10 years) achieve a healthy weight.

It is a 16 week programme delivered to small groups of parents & consists of 10 weekly group sessions plus 6 individual telephone sessions. It will increase parents’ skills and confidence in managing children’s weight related behaviour.

Parents can help children learn about healthy food choices and enjoyable physical activities. (Midlands)

Val Smith – 01 8771509

Noel Kelly Email:

Camp Abilities Ireland The CARA Adapted Physical Activity Centre and the Institute of Technology Tralee in association with the National Council for the Blind, the National Learning Network Tralee (Sporting Chance Programme) and Irish Blind Sports hosted the fourth CampAbilities Ireland in March this year in Killarney Co Kerry. This is a  5 day sports & recreational camp for children with visual impairment

Liam Mc Donough National Training and Education Officer, CARA Adapted Physical Activity Centre C/O Institute of Technology, South Campus, Tralee,Co Kerry


Parkrun -

Malahide,   Marlay Park & Griffeen Park in Dublin & Macroom in Cork

Westport starting Sept. 14th 2013

Parkruns are FREE, weekly (every Sat. @ 9.30am) timed 5k running events in local communities. Events are open to whole families with junior participants welcomed once accompanied by parent/guardian. Juniors under 13 are encouraged to not run every week, and should run for enjoyment.

They are open and inclusive to all, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, politics, and disability. Each event has its own microsite within the website


Parkrunners should only register once in their life on the parkrun website   – thereafter they may run in any event.

All start on Saturday @ 9.30am

- Castle Demense, Macroom with post parkrun coffee in leisure centre

- Griffeen Valley Park, Lucan, Co. Dublin with post parkrun in local café

- Malahide Castle Grounds with post parlrun coffee in the Avoca Café in the castle

- Marlay Park, Grange Road, Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin with post parkrun coffee in Marlay Park Café

- Westport, Greenway Path (behind Mill St. Car Park) commencing Sept. 14th 2013 with post parkrun in local café.

HSE Community Games Participation & competition in physical activity & sport for children at local, regional & national level. Over 200,000 participants and over 10,000 volunteers annually National Community Games, 20 Inish Carraig House, Golden Island, Athlone, County Westmeath                 
Tel: 090 64 333 88 |
Special Olympics Ireland Special Olympics Ireland is provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with an intellectual disability, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendships with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. 

Special Olympics Connaught
T: 071-9118320

Special Olympics Eastern Region
Tel: 01 8912000

Special Olympics Leinster
T: 01 6296999

Special Olympics Munster
T: 021 4977192

Special Olympics UlsterT: (+44) 028 9023

Programmes in Schools

Teaching children healthy eating and activity habits is an essential part of their education and their early years. The HSE works with a wide range of agencies, all of whom are in partnership to support healthy education. Below are a wide range of programmes that have taken place in schools, some are HSE services and some are provided by other agencies as listed.

Smart Start   Training for pre school providers
Be Active After School

North East

(LSPs rolling out nationally)

After school activity for 7-8yr olds on the school grounds run by trained volunteer parents & teachers.It aims to improve the attitudes of both children and their parents towards physical activity and lay the foundation for positive, lifelong physical activity habits
Schools Activity, Confidence, Eating (ACE) Longford, Westmeath, Laois, Offaly A whole of school programme promoting healthy school development  4-13yrs
Cool Dude Food Programme (for ACE Schools) Longford, Westmeath, Laois, Offaly

This is a lay led nutrition education programme developed by the Community Nutrition and Dietetic service in the Midland.  It is aimed at primary school children. The course is run over 5 session with participants not only learning about healthy eating but also getting hands on experience of preparing and cooking healthier meals and snacks.

Although the programme can be run independently the core curriculum has been updated to complement the schools ACE ethos, with an emphasis on building self esteem, team building and peer learning.  The course is currently offered through the Food and Health project which are based in Portlaois (covering Laois and Offaly) and in Athlone (covering Longford and Westmeath).  20 courses are facilitated in the region every year impacting directly on over 200 children. 

Buntús This programme was developed by the ISC as a sporting springboard for primary school children. It takes them through the concepts of active play and leads on to provide a taster of some specific sports and games. It complements the Games strand of the PE Curriculum. It started in 2002 and is available to all primary schools in the ROI. It is offered at no cost to the school. As an add on for those schools who received the Buntús programme, there are several sport specific Buntús programs being rolled out by the National Governing Bodies of Sport. These include Buntús Soccer, Buntús Badminton and Buntús Golf.

Gillian Costelloe

Sports Partnerships Executive| Local Sports Unit

Irish Sports Council | Top Floor, Block A | West End Office Park |Blanchardstown | Dublin 15  Tel: 01-8608826

Contact details for the 31 LSPs can be found on

Girls Active

Girls Active is aimed at teenage girls who are not currently participating in sport. The programme was initiated in 2003 and aims to increase the number of teenage girls involved in long-term regular physical activity through developing more supportive environments for teenage girls’ physical activity in schools. A project evaluation was undertaken in 2005.

Characteristics of the programme include consulting with participating girls, providing non-traditional and non-competitive activities such as Tai Chi or dancing on an extra-curricular basis, utilising instructors external to the school and explicitly linking Girls Active to the Social, Personal and Health Education Programme.

HSE  North West, Sligo Sport and Recreation Partnership, Youth Sport West and Donegal Sports Partnership
Food Dudes

In school Behavioural change programme for healthy eating.

The national roll-out of the Food Dudes Programme is being funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine and the European Union, and managed by Bord Bia. Funding is via  European Union, School Fruit Scheme. It is intended that the programme will be introduced to all primary schools over the next number of years. The programme has the support of the Department of Education & Science.

The following are available in PDF format:

If you would like your school to be considered for the Food Dudes Programme, please email

For more information on the Food Dudes Healthy Eating Programme in Ireland contact Food Dudes Project Management Team:

Real Events
Cathedral Court
Fumbally Lane
Dublin 8

Food Dudes Hotline: 01 522 4855

or email

Incredible edibles challenge

Incredible Edibles is developed for primary school students and their teachers. The aim of the project is to communicate the importance of food origin awareness and the importance of eating Irish potatoes, fruit and vegetables for a healthy diet. This message is communicated in the most interactive way – by providing an opportunity for pupils to grow their own vegetable gardens.

The grow packs sent to schools include all the essentials required to ensure that Ireland’s young students could grow a flourishing fruit and vegetable garden in their school. Each pack also contained 5 curriculum linked tasks for students to complete throughout the academic year

For more information about Incredible Edibles go to
Tastebuds Interactive CD-ROM for 8-9 yr olds in school
Bizzy Breaks Bizzy Break is a series of 10 min activities for the classroom to get pupils moving on the spot. Children take part in the activities from their desk using the available space. The activities focus on strength, flexibility and aerobic fitness.  Resources for schools include a wall chart & CD for teachers to lead a short burst of physical activity during the school day. Cost id €10 per pack

Eimear Flannery,

Irish Heart Foundation,

50 Ringsend Road,


Tel: 01 6685001 Email:

Bizzy Break for Rainy Days Bizzy Breaks for Rainy Days contains a series of levels of short (5-10min) physical activity breaks for the classroom. The booklet has 10 activity ideas for each of the four levels (Junior & senior, first & second class, third & fourth class, fifth & sixth class). Cost €10 per booklet

Irish Heart Foundation,

50 Ringsend Road,

Dublin 4.

Tel: 01 6685001 Email:

Action for Life (Primary) Vols 1 & 2

These are a valuable, practical and easy to use educational resource package to assist teachers in planning and teaching part of the PE curriculum. The materials can also be integrated with Social Personal Health Education (SPHE)

In Action for Life (2) there is a focus on the strands of Gymnastics and Dance. Adaptations for those with differing abilities are included with the activities.  Cost €40 per set; €10 per booklet

Teacher training to support delivery of Action for Life is provided through the IHF

Other Resources:

  • Let’s get active award Pocket Planner
  • “Let’s Get Physical” poster for all primary school ages
  • Get Kids on the Go Information booklet for parents, guardians and teachers.

Irish Heart Foundation,

50 Ringsend Road,

Dublin 4.

Tel: 01 6685001 Email:

Action for Life Junior Cycle Action for Life is aligned with the physical education syllabus at junior cycle and seeks to develop an understanding of the role of health related activity in the promotion of wellbeing and of the scientific principles that underpin health related activity. It also aims to provide the student with the ability to measure and monitor physical wellbeing and develop a sense of responsibility for her/his own health.

Irish Heart Foundation,

50 Ringsend Road,

Dublin 4.

Tel: 01 6685001 Email:

Skipathon Skipathon, the Irish Heart Foundation’s Primary School fundraising & physical activity programme has been running for over 25 years. Each year schools encourage their pupils to learn to skip and enjoy the benefits of physical activity and at the same time raise vital funds for the work of the IHF. Over 95% of our income is raised through public fundraising and Skipathon has been and continues to be a vital source of funds to help run our programmes in health promotion – including Action for Life.

Irish Heart Foundation,

50 Ringsend Road,

Dublin 4.

Tel: 01 6685001 Email:

Green Schools Travel Programme

Green Schools National Walk to School Week. Annual week to promote walking to school

Toolkit for School Travel. This toolkit outlines actions to promote more sustainable travel for the school trip through increased walking, cycling, public transport and car-sharing. The first intended audience are teachers, parents and other responsible members of a school community, who can then share and discuss the ideas with both primary & secondary pupils.

National COW Day – Cycle to school on Wednesday’s

National WOW Walk on Wednesday’s

GAA Coaching in Schools The GAA Coaching in Schools Programme provides a coaching block of between 6 to 10 weeks. All lessons are designed to meet the aims of the primary school curriculum and teachers are encouraged to work together with coaches to maximise the impact for pupils For information on all Coach Education courses, resources or the GAA Coaching in Schools Programme, contact your County Games Development Manager or e-mail