Irish think they are the most healthy people in Europe

More than 80 per cent of Irish people reported having good or very good health

Irish people reported significantly better health than the next healthiest country Cyprus (78 per cent). Photograph: Hoxton/Sam Edwards/Getty

Irish people reported significantly better health than the next healthiest country Cyprus (78 per cent). Photograph: Hoxton/Sam Edwards/Getty

 

Irish people believe themselves to be the healthiest in Europe, according to new European Union statistics.

Some 83 per cent of Irish people rate their health status as good or very good in 2017, well above the European average of 69 per cent.

Irish people reported significantly better health than the next healthiest country Cyprus (78 per cent), Italy and Sweden (both 77 per cent), the Netherlands (76 per cent) and Malta (75 per cent).

At the bottom end of the scale, the lowest share was reported in Lithuania and Latvia (both 44 per cent) followed by Portugal (49 per cent), Estonia (53 per cent), Poland and Hungary (both 59 per cent).

In the EU, more men than women reported that they were in good health. In the EU, 72 per cent of men aged 16 or over rated their health as very good or good in 2017, compared to 67 per cent of women, though women on average live four years longer than men.

The gap is much narrower in Ireland with almost identical rates of good health reported among males (82 per cent) and females (82.9 per cent).

The percentage of the EU population who assessed their health as good or very good tends to decrease with age. More than 88 per cent of the male population aged from 16 to 44 regarded their health as good or very good.

The proportion decreased to 69 per cent for men aged 45 to 64 and decreased further to 45 per cent for those men older than 65 years.

A similar trend can be seen with women. The share of women aged from 16 to 44 who perceived their health as good or very good was 87 per cent, compared to 65 per cent for those aged 46 to 64 and 39 per cent for those aged 65 years or over.

EU sentiment

Irish people are regularly among the most optimistic and positive in Europe, according to the Eurobarometer.

Irish people are the most likely to have a positive image of the EU at 64 per cent, according to the Eurobarometer published last year. The saga over Brexit probably contributed to a 5 percentage point rise in positive sentiment.

Irish people are also by far the most optimistic about the future of the EU at 84 per cent (up 4 percentage points since the autumn).

The Eurobarometer survey was established in 1974 and regularly surveys the public in each of the 28 countries of the EU on a representative sample basis.

Each survey consists of approximately 1000 face-to-face interviews per country. Reports are published twice yearly.