The Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) has welcomed the latest publication of the Healthy Ireland Survey which examines the health of the nation.
The survey of over 7,500 people aged 15 and over living in Ireland gives an up-to-date picture of the health of the nation and reports on many lifestyle behaviours such as smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, oral health and health services.
This is the fourth summary of the findings from the survey and adds to the data collected in the previous surveys published in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Some of the key findings include;
- In deprived areas 26% smoke, 43% binge drink, and 33% have long standing illnesses compared those in more affluent areas where 16% smoke, 33% binge drink, and 24% have long standing illnesses.
- 20% are current smokers; down from 22% last year and 23% in 2015-16
- 17% are daily smokers down from 19% last year
- Prevalence of smoking has dropped from 23% in 2015 to 20% in 2018 which means there are now an estimated 80,000 fewer smokers than there were three years ago.
- New plain packaging with health warnings was cited by 23% of smokers as a good motivation to quit.
- 44% of all who smoked in the last 12 months have attempted to quit
- 37% of drinkers binge drink on a typical drinking occasion
- Drinkers from more disadvantaged areas are more likely (43%) to binge drink than those from more affluent areas (33%)
- 8% of drinkers have failed to do what was expected of them as a result of drinking
Diet and Nutrition
- 15% of young people under 24 drink sugar sweetened drinks daily
- 34% of people consume at least one unhealthy food item daily
- 86% of people drink water at least once a day
- 25% reported receiving the flu vaccine during the previous winter, with 66% of over 65s receiving the vaccine.
- 66% have had their blood pressure measured during the past 12 months
Health Service Utilisation
- 74% of people have visited a GP in the past 12 months
- 8% have used a GP out of hours service
- 10% have used an emergency department in a public hospital
- 79% describe their oral health as very good
- 47% have visited a dentist in the past 12 months
Kate O’Flaherty, Head of Health and Wellbeing at the Department of Health, commented: “The data from this survey are a very valuable asset to assist the Department of Health and all other stakeholders working for a healthy Ireland. The survey findings will help us to better measure risk factor trends over time and the impact that policy implementation is having on supporting people to make healthier choices.”
Minister of State for Health Promotion, Catherine Byrne welcomed publication of the report, saying: “There are some positive and encouraging results in this year’s survey, in particular the drop in smoking rates for the second year running. However, there is also no room for complacency”.
You can read the survey here.