Healthcare news

Smoking rates drop in Northern Ireland but obesity increases

Smoking rates are dropping in Northern Ireland, according to new research
Seanín Graham

SMOKING rates are dropping in Northern Ireland while the number of obese and overweight people is rising.

The latest government health and wellbeing survey found that a fifth of the population is still smoking - compared with a third in the 1980s.

And while there has been a reported rise in the use of e-cigarettes, only six per cent of those questioned said they 'vaped'.

But despite several campaigns on healthy eating, obesity levels are rising with more than a quarter of adults classed as clinically obese and a further 36 per cent as overweight.

Childhood obesity rates have remained steady over the past decade, with 17 per cent assessed as overweight and almost one in 10 as obese.

Despite obesity concerns, there has been a significant rise in the number of people heeding the 'five a day' message in relation to fruit and vegetable intake.

But consumption of alcohol among men and women has increased over the past year, with 80 per cent now said to be drinking.

Meanwhile, respondents in more deprived areas were twice as likely to have a possible mental health problem compared with their counterparts in more affluent neighbourhoods.

Loneliness was experienced by more men and women living in city and poorer areas as opposed to those with a rural address.

The annual survey by the Department of Health took in the views of 3,888 people.

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