Survey: Unemployed more likely to eat ready meals than employed

Study shows gap between people’s perception of their physical activity and what they actually do

Minister of State for Health Promotion Marcella Corcoran Kennedy (right) with  Minister for Children Katherine Zappone and Minister for Health Simon Harris. Ms Corcoran Kennedy will launch the second wave of the Healthy Ireland Survey today. Photograph: Dave Meehan.

Minister of State for Health Promotion Marcella Corcoran Kennedy (right) with Minister for Children Katherine Zappone and Minister for Health Simon Harris. Ms Corcoran Kennedy will launch the second wave of the Healthy Ireland Survey today. Photograph: Dave Meehan.

 

Unemployed people are more than five times more likely to rely on a diet of ready meals than those who are working, according to a major new survey.

Almost half the population eat a worrying six or more snacks a day, the second wave of the Healthy Ireland Survey will show.

People in affluent areas drink alcohol more often than those in deprived areas, but people in deprived areas are more likely to binge drink.

Regular consumption of sugary drinks is also higher in poorer areas.

The survey, to be launched by Minister of State for Health Promotion Marcella Corcoran Kennedy today, reveals a disparity between people’s perception of their physical activity and what exercise they actually do.

A majority of people (56 per cent) feel they do enough physical activity but only 32 per cent engage in sufficient physical activity.

Homemade meals

This finding is consistent across all age groups, but widens as people get older.

Over half (54 per cent) say they mostly eat homemade meals cooked from scratch, using fresh ingredients, while 41 per cent eat meals cooked using a combination of fresh ingredients and packets or jars of ingredients.

Eleven per cent of unemployed people mainly eat ready meals, compared to 2 per cent of those working.

Drinkers in more affluent areas are more likely to drink at least once a week than those living in more deprived areas (34 per cent against 52 per cent).

But 40 per cent of those in more deprived areas binge drink, against 35 per cent in more affluent areas.

The first wave of the survey, published last year, showed that obesity levels have peaked.