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Healthy Ireland? Over 20% of us smoke, 30% binge drink and 60% are overweight

A new report also gives an account on many of the lifestyle behaviours of the nation.

20171026_Health Source: Healthy Ireland Survey via Statista

OVER ONE IN five Irish people smoke. Over 60% of us are overweight or obese. Three quarters of Irish people drink.

These are the latest trends observed by the annual Healthy Ireland Survey, which measures the health of a group 7,500 people each year to get an up-to-date picture of the health of the nation.

The report also gives an account on many of the lifestyle behaviours of the nation.

There was a 1% drop in the number of smokers in 2017 – 22% instead of 23% last year.

A total of 76% of us drink alcohol (compared to 75% last year) and 30% of people say they binge drink on a typical session.

One in five people who drink say that over the past 12 months they have had feelings of guilt or remorse after drinking.

One in six people say that they drink a sugar sweetened drink daily.

In terms of weight, 61% of the population are categorised as overweight or obese. Of that percentage, just under half say they are trying to lose weight.

Despite figures like this, 84% of people surveyed say their health is good or very good.

Other notable figures from the survey include:

  • 21% have had a HIV test and 22% a STI test during their lifetime
  • Almost half (49%) of those with children said one of their children was breast fed
  • Breastfeeding differs by education: almost three quarters (74%) with a third level degree compared to a third (34%) of those who left school before Leaving Cert said one of their children was breast fed
  • Almost three quarters eat fewer than five portions of fruit and vegetables daily

Commenting on the survey, minister of state for health promotion Catherine Byrne said that while the figures showed some positives, more needed to be done to improve the nation’s health.

“While there are some positive results, such as the drop in smoking rate, it is also clear that there is no room for complacency,” she said.

It is very obvious that some groups in our society still have a greater risk of poor health and we continue to see differences between people who have different education levels or who live in poorer or more well-off areas.

Chart courtesy of Statista

Read: Not everyone’s happy with the name for the children’s hospital

Read: ‘I consider myself a success, to someone else that might mean working four hours a week’

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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