Department of Health survey finds people in deprived areas drink less frequently
Nearly one in four of us are binge drinkers, according to a new study published by the Department of Health.
The Healthy Ireland Survey 2016 indicates that 37% of people aged 15 and over have six or more alcoholic beverages on a typical drinking occasion.
Most male drinkers (55%) binge on alcohol, but only 18% of women do.
While people in more economically deprived areas drink less frequently than those in more affluent areas, the extent of binge drinking is higher (40% and 35% of drinkers respectively).
The study of 7,500 people also found that four in 10 people drink at least once a week.
Among the other findings are that:
Speaking at the launch of the report, Minister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy said the findings show some groups at still at risk of poor health because of lifestyle decisions.
"I am very conscious that there is an element of personal responsibility involved in making the changes needed to improve our health," she said.
"We can decide to be more physically active. We can try to limit high-salt, high-sugar and high-fat foods in our diets.
"We can opt for more fruit and veg, and try to cut down on treats."
Dr Tony Holohan of the Department of Health said: "While we have made progress in some areas in the last few years, rates of tobacco consumption, alcohol usage, food consumption patterns and physical inactivity are leading causes of increases in chronic conditions.
"This survey is clearly showing us a clustering of risk factors for poor health with significant numbers of people having two or more unhealthy behaviours."
Between a fifth and a third of the population engage in binge drinking (28%), sedentary behaviour (26%) and smoking (23%), according to the research.
Dr Holohan added: "The number of people experiencing chronic diseases is increasing.
"We know that the majority of chronic diseases are preventable or modifiable through lifestyle behaviour changes."
The survey was conducted by polling company Ipsos MRBI on behalf of the Department of Health.
It involved 7,498 interviews, carried out between September 2015 and May 2016.