Survey shows 40% of Irish adults overweight


Two out of five Irish adults are overweight and this is greatly increasing the risk of heart disease or diabetes, a new national survey indicates today.

Irish men were more likely to be overweight than women and more than 20 per cent were clinically obese. The report found that 51 per cent of men were overweight compared with 31 per cent of women.

Most drivers are aware of the headaches caused by traffic but congestion on our roads and frustrating time spent sitting in traffic may also be contributing to a general weight gain. Half of those questioned used their car everyday.

Television viewing habits were identified as another contributing factor to increasing weight. Eighteen per cent of men are watching between 16 to 20 hours of TV per week, compared to just 8 per cent of women.

Discerning if someone is overweight is based on a simple formula (the BMI, or body mass index) in which a person's body weight in kgs is divided by their height in metres squared.

The national study was commissioned by Abbott Laboratories Ireland which questioned one thousand adults about their lifestyle and diet habits. The quota was controlled by sex, age, social class and geographic area.

Speaking at the publication of the research, Dr Donal O'Shea, consultant endocrinologist at St Vincent's Hospital said a public health campaign was required to inform people of the seriousness of the situation.

The report found a lack of awareness of the health consequences of being overweight, including a three times higher likelihood of having a stroke or heart attack. Only one in four respondents was aware that excessive weight could lead to diabetes.

Today's results are consistent with the recent North/South Ireland Food Consumption Survey which reported that 18 per cent of our adult population is obese and 39 per cent are overweight. It also noted that a higher proportion of men were overweight.

Compared to other EU countries Irishmen have the fourth highest rate of obesity according to research carried out by the International Obesity Taskforce.