New Healthy Ireland Survey results released

New Healthy Ireland Survey results released

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The 2016 Healthy Ireland Survey findings, released earlier today, shows low awareness of the potential risks associated with drinking more than the Department of Health/HSE low-risk guidelines for alcohol consumption.

37% of people who drink in Ireland binge drink on a typical drinking occasion. A binge is defined as six or more standard consumed drinks on a single occasion. Common examples of one standard drink are a half-pint of beer, small glass of wine (100ml) or a pub measure of spirits (35.5ml). The majority (57%) of drinkers aged under 25 consider themselves to be light drinkers despite 54% binge drinking on a typical drinking occasion. This potentially highlights a low level of understanding of the recommended low-risk guidelines for alcohol consumption.

The low-risk guidelines are:

  • 11 standard drinks (110g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for women, with at least two alcohol-free days
  • 17 standard drinks (170g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for men, with at least two alcohol-free days

Find out more about the low-risk guidelines

Three-quarters of the population report that they have drunk alcohol in the past year. This finding echoes the 2015 Healthy Ireland Survey, which found that 24% of the Irish population do not drink alcohol. The report also highlighted that while the majority of drinkers could identify liver disease as a potential risk associated with excessive drinking, less than half were aware of other risks including cancers and stomach ulcers. The National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) estimate that 900 new cancers and 500 cancer deaths are attributed to alcohol each year in Ireland.(1)

Some of the key findings:

  • 41% of Irish adults drink alcohol at least once a week
  • 97% of drinkers consider themselves to be a light or moderate drinker
  • Over half (55%) of drinkers drink at least once a week
  • 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, binge drink on a typical drinking occasion while fewer than 1 in 5 (18%) women drink to this level
  • Weekly drinking is highest among people aged 55-64 (66%)

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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.

Read the report in full

Laffoy M, McCarthy T, Mullen L, Byrne D, Martin J (2013) Cancer incidence and mortality due to alcohol: an analysis of 10-year data