Healthy Ireland Survey Results

survey of the health and wellbeing of the population

Healthy Ireland Survey

Contents

  1. Background
  2. Wave 2
  3. Wave 1
  4. Publications
  5. Access to Data

Background

The Healthy Ireland Survey is an annual survey of the health and wellbeing of the population. The data from the Healthy Ireland Survey provide an up-to-date picture of the nation’s health. The results give us a baseline set of data telling us how healthy or unhealthy Ireland currently is. We can then use future surveys to assess whether or not our policies are working.

More than 10,000 households were randomly selected for the nationwide survey which is designed to provide vital data on the state of the nation’s health. Over 7,500 people aged 15 years and over participated in both waves of the survey.

Two waves of the Survey have been carried out by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of the Department of Health. The first wave of the survey was carried out during 2014/2015 and a report of its findings was published in October 2015. The second wave of the survey was carried out during 2015/16 and a report of its findings was published in October 2016.

Wave 2

The Summary Report of the second Healthy Ireland Survey was launched on 19th October 2016 by Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Health Promotion.

The second annual Healthy Ireland Survey of 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, physical activity, diet and mental health. A number of new topics have been included in this year’s Survey which examine additional aspects of health behaviours and issues such as multiple risk factors and knowledge and attitudes about health behaviours.

The Survey showed that of the four types of unhealthy behaviours under consideration, the most common was that almost three-quarters (73%) of the population eat fewer than five portions of fruit and vegetables daily. Between a fifth and a third of the population have each of the other three behaviours – binge drinking (28%), sedentary behaviour (26%) and smoking (23%)

Some new findings in this year’s Survey results include:

Alcohol

alcohol-2016

  • 37% of drinkers indicate that they drink six or more standard drinks (“binge drinking”) on a typical drinking occasion91% of those who feel they do not undertake a sufficient level of activity would like to be more active
  • While 90% of respondents know that alcohol is a risk factor for liver disease, only 27% of women are aware of the increased risk of developing breast cancer as a result of heavy drinking
  • The majority (55%) of men who drink, consume six or more standard drinks (“binge drink”) on a typical drinking occasion while fewer than 1 in 5 (18%) women drink to this level

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Smoking

smoking-2016

  • 23% of the population are current smokers
  • While 19% of people living in Ireland smoke on a daily basis, recruitment of new smokers continues at a high rate with 20% of those aged under 25 currently smoking67% of men and 39% of women aged under 25 binge drink on a typical drinking occasion
  • 18% of the population in Ireland is exposed to second-hand smoke on a daily basis

Diet and Nutrition

nutrition-2016

  • Three in five eat snacks every day with 42% of the population eating 6 or more portions daily
  • Just 27% eat five portions of fruit and vegetables daily
  • 14% consume sugar sweetened drinks daily, rising to 22% of those aged 15 to 24
  • Fewer than 1 in 10 women takes a folic acid supplement with just 18% of women aged 25 to 34 doing so

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Physical Activity

activity-2016

  • People spend 6 hours and 36 minutes sitting on an average day and while men generally spend longer sitting than women, younger women spend more time sitting than men of the same age
  • Most people (63%) would like to be more physically active although many say that time pressure due to work or caring is a barrier

Sexual Health

sh-infographic-2016-copy

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  • Just under half (45%) used some form contraception on their most recent occasion of sex
  • Usage of contraception is highest among those 17 to 24 (83%) and declines across each proceeding age group
  • 20% of those not in a relationship with their most recent sexual partner did not use any form of contraception
  • 25% used a condom on the most recent occasion of sex, and 18% used a contraceptive pill

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General Health

general-health-infographic-2016

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  • 84% of people living in Ireland say their health is very good or good although 28% indicate that they have a long-standing illness or health condition
  • 92% indicate that they would like to make a change to improve their health and wellbeing
  • The most common change that people would like to make is to be more physically active (40%), followed by being more financially secure (31%), sleeping better (30%) and eating more healthily (29%)

Health Service Utilisation

health-service-utilisation-2016

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  • 72% have visited a GP in the past 12 months, with an average of 4.5 visits per person among all aged 15 and older
  • The average annual number of GP visits rises from 3.4 visits among 15 to 24 year olds to 8.4 among those aged 75 and older and 27% have consulted a medical or surgical consultant in the past 12 months
  • 31% have consulted a nurse in a GP surgery in the past 12 months, with an average of 1.4 visits per person among all aged 15 and older
  • 27% have consulted a medical or surgical consultant in the past 12 months, with an average of 1.2 visits per person among all aged 15 and older
  • 12% have visited an Emergency Department in the past 12 months
  • 11% of the population have been admitted to hospital in the past 12 months. 9% have been admitted to a public hospital and 3% have been admitted to a private hospital

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Mental Health

mental-health-infographic-2016

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  • Men reported higher positive mental health scores than women (69.8 and 65.9 respectively)
  • Similarly, higher positive mental health was reported among younger people than older people (15-24: 69.1; 75 and older: 61.6)
  • Those living in Dublin report lower scores on the Mental Health Index-5 (MHI-5) scale than those living elsewhere (79.8 and 85.2 respectively). This suggests higher levels of psychological distress in Dublin
  • Approximately half of the people living in Ireland have had some experience of people with mental health issues
  • While only 54% of people living in Ireland said they would be willing to live with somebody with a mental health problem, 83% of people said they would be willing to carry on a relationship with a friend who developed a mental health problem.

Clustering of Unhealthy Behaviours

cluster-unhealthy-behaviours-2016

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  • Four types of unhealthy behaviours were included in this analysis. These were smoking, binge drinking, consuming less than five portions of fruit or vegetables daily, spending eight or more hours a day sitting (sedentary behaviour)
  • Over eight in ten (86%) in the population have at least one unhealthy behaviour, with approximately half (46%) having multiple (two or more) unhealthy behaviours
  • Over nine in ten smokers and a similar proportion of drinkers have at least one other unhealthy behaviour
  • 59% of men have multiple unhealthy behaviours, compared to 34% of women

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Wave 1

HI Survey full quadrant

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The first wave of the survey was carried out during 2014/2015 and a report of its findings was published in October 2015. This survey was the first national survey of the nation’s health in eight years.

The survey was conducted by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of Healthy Ireland. At the time of its publication, it provided the most up-to-date picture of the health of the nation, including lifestyle factors like smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, diet and mental wellbeing. The survey involved over 7,500 face-to-face interviews with a sample of the population aged 15 years and over.

Some headline findings from the first wave of the survey include:

  • Fewer than 1 in 5 people now smoke.
  • 85% have good health but 28% have a long-standing condition.
  • Obesity levelling out but 60% of people still overweight.
  • Two thirds of people not getting enough exercise.
  • Four out of ten people binge when drinking.
  • Most people eat fruit and veg daily but 26% eat recommended 5 portions.
  • 17% did not use any form of contraception outside of a steady relationship.
  • Almost half the population is in a social club or organisation.
  • Good levels of mental health but better among men than women.
  • 50% of people know someone with dementia.

The following topics were reported on in Wave 1 of the survey: General Health, Smoking, Alcohol, Physical Activity, Diet & Nutrition, Weight Management, Social Connectedness, Wellbeing, Dementia and Sexual Health.

For a copy of the report see Publications below.

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Publications

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Access to Data

The Department of Health is committed to making data available from the Healthy Ireland Survey, via the following methods:

Wave 1

  1. An Anonymised Microdata File (AMF) for Wave 1 is deposited in the Irish Social Science Data Archive (ISSDA) and is available for research and teaching purposes subject to the ISSDA End User Licence Agreement.
  2. Access to the Researcher Microdata File (RMF) for Wave 1 will be made available in the near future on completion of a stringent assessment process by the Department of Health and the Director General of the Central Statistics Office (CSO). Access to the RMF(s) are only available to Officers of Statistics. Please check back for updates.

Wave 2

  1. An Anonymised Microdata File (AMF) for Wave 2 will shortly be deposited in the Irish Social Science Data Archive (ISSDA) and will be available for research and teaching purposes subject to the ISSDA End User Licence Agreement. Please check back for updates.
  2. Access to the Researcher Microdata File (RMF) for Wave 2 will be made available in the near future on completion of a stringent assessment process by the Department of Health and the Director General of the Central Statistics Office (CSO). Access to the RMF(s) are only available to Officers of Statistics. Please check back for updates.

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Here is a video taken at the launch of the results from the first wave.

Photos from the launch of the Healthy Ireland Survey

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