Obesity peaks, smoking below 20% but binge drinking rife

Most commonly reported health conditions are high blood pressure and back problems

Obesity rates have fallen slightly, though 60 per cent of the population are still overweight or obese. Photograph: Getty Images

Obesity rates have fallen slightly, though 60 per cent of the population are still overweight or obese. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Obesity has peaked and smoking rates have fallen below 20 per cent for the first time, the first State-backed survey of the health of the nation since 2007 will show.

However, binge drinking is rife and there is little awareness of the dangers of alcohol abuse, according to the Healthy Ireland study to be published on Wednesday.

The survey, to be launched by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, shows some progress is being made towards healthier living, with more than four in five people saying they are in good health.

Obesity rates have fallen slightly, though 60 per cent of the population are still overweight or obese, compared to 61 per cent in 2007. The most commonly reported health conditions are high blood pressure and back problems.

Wellbeing

More than 10,000 households were surveyed on their mental and physical health. Questions covered areas such as nutrition, alcohol consumption, smoking, physical activity, weight management and wellbeing. The intention is to give the Department of Health a baseline set of data against which the success or otherwise of future policies can be gauged.

Less than one in five Irish people now smoke and most want to quit.

On alcohol, four out of 10 people said they binge drank on a recent occasion while more than 20 per cent said they did so at least once a week. There is a high lack of awareness of the dangers of alcohol abuse, and only one in five drinkers want to cut down.

While most people eat fruit and vegetables every day, the majority also eat snack foods daily, some twice a day.