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Dublin: 5°C Tuesday 25 January 2022
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Obesity on the rise in Ireland, survey shows

Many adults aren’t eating enough fruit or vegetables and almost two-thirds of men and women are eating more fat than the daily recommended intake.

Image: Assunta Del Buono/John Birdsall/Press Association Images via PA Images

A NEW SURVEY has shown that obesity has increased more than three-fold in men and 1.7-fold in women in Ireland.

The National Adult Nutrition Survey, carried out by the Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance at University College Cork (UCC) and University College Dublin (UCD), investigates how diet and lifestyle patterns have changed in the past two decades.

The National Adult Nutrition Survey collected detailed data from adults of  a wide range of ages on food, beverage and nutritional supplement intake along with habitual physical activity levels, attitudes to food and health and factors influencing food choice.

The food diaries submitted by the participants showed they ate too much fat and salt and did not get enough fruit, vegetables and fibre in their diet, with more than 60 per cent of Irish adults eating more fat than the recommended intake.

More than a quarter of adults consume more alcohol in excess of maximum recommended intakes.

Professor Albert Flynn from University College Cork commented:

We need clear guidelines for healthy eating – guidelines that focus on appropriate portion sizes, lower consumption of fat, salt and alcohol, and higher intake of vegetables and fruit, fibre and key vitamins and minerals.

These figures show that obesity has increased dramatically over the last 20 years. In 1990, 8 per cent of men were obese – today 26 per cent of men are. Twenty years ago, 13 per cent of women were obese, while today that figure stands at 21 per cent.

Dr Anne Nugent of the UCD Institute of Food and Health, said:

Obesity is strongly related to diabetes, and is also linked with increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, gall bladder disease, bone joint disorders and certain cancers. The continuing rise in overweight and obesity in this age group highlights the need to identify ways to help adults to adopt healthy eating and physical activity habits.

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