Sunday 9 December 2018

One-third of Irish drinkers will 'binge' when they have night out

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

More than one in three people who drink alcohol "binge" on a typical night out.

The problem is even worse among the least well-off, with 43pc saying they down six or more drinks when socialising.

The ongoing blight of Ireland's traditional drinking culture is revealed in the latest survey of our lifestyle habits.

The trends among the population over the age of 15 are tracked annually in the annual Healthy Ireland report by the Department of Health.

Some 54pc of male drinkers binge, compared to 19pc of women.

Although younger people are most likely to drink to excess, it is also a problem among the over-65s, one in five of whom overindulge.

The survey reveals the impact of drunkenness, with 14pc admitting a friend or family member told them about their behaviour while under the influence that they could not remember.

Commenting on the findings, Minister of State Catherine Byrne said: "Successive survey findings clearly show the problems we have with alcohol and that we drink too much alcohol.

"It is absolutely critical that we change the place that alcohol has in our lives and in our society."

The survey also revealed the continuing gulf between the lifestyle and health of rich and poor, despite Ireland's emergence from the recession.

Some 26pc of people from deprived backgrounds smoke, compared to 16pc among the better off.

Poorer people have higher levels of long-term illness - 33pc compared to 24pc of the affluent.

Overall 20pc of the population still have the expensive and dangerous habit of smoking, a small drop of 3pc in three years. But it rises to 28pc among the 25-34-year-olds.

Some 43pc say they are not thinking of quitting smoking.

Among ex-smokers, one in 10 use e-cigarettes.

Health warnings motivate people to give up, but influence only 23pc of young people.

The nation's sweet tooth is also letting many down, with one in five having chocolate or sweets daily.

Overall, 34pc give in to some unhealthy temptation daily.

Just 30pc of men have their five a day of vegetables and fruit compared to 43pc of women.

Around 85pc regard their health as good or very good.

It is highest among those who have jobs.

However, 29pc have a long-standing illness or health condition.

Six in 10 who have long-term conditions say their daily activities are curtailed as a result.

High blood pressure is the most common, followed by arthritis, high cholesterol, asthma and depression or anxiety.

Around 66pc had their blood pressure checked in the last year.

The report expressed concern about the smoking and drinking patterns among the most deprived and the way it persists into later life. There may be less motivation for change among the poor compared to the better-off.

Irish Independent

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