13/12/2001

Survey finds half of people in NI in good health

A survey investigating the mental and physical wellbeing of people in Northern Ireland has shown just over half of people interviewed have said their health is good.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) released results from the second Northern Ireland Health and Social Wellbeing Survey on Thursday December 13.

The survey, commissioned by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety was conducted between February and July 2001, and reflects the findings from interviews carried out from 5000 addresses of adults, aged 16 and over, living in Northern Ireland.

The survey shows just over half (52 per cent) of respondents said their general health had been ‘good’ in the previous 12 months and 17 per cent said it was ‘not good’.

However, 38 per cent of both men and women indicated that they have a long-standing illness, with this statistic rising with age.

Less than a third (29 per cent) of people aged 16 and over said that they currently smoke cigarettes, 31 per cent had given up smoking cigarettes and 39 per cent had never smoked cigarettes.

According to the statistics men were the heaviest smokers and were almost twice as likely as women to smoke more than 25 cigarettes a day.

The report also shows overall, 76 per cent of people questioned were current drinkers. 7 per cent used to drink and 17 per cent were lifetime abstainers. Men were almost twice as likely as women to drink above the sensible weekly limit.

In relation to mental health overall 12 per cent of persons aged 16 and over had experienced a great deal of worry or stress and 61 per cent had experienced little or no worry or stress.

Statistics show that in the physical activity category 25 per cent of people aged 16 and over were classed as sedentary (meaning they have not performed some activity of at least a moderate level, lasting 20 minutes, on at least one occasion in the last 7 days).

Only 28 per cent of all people take above the recommended level of physical activity of at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week.

Overall, 24 per cent of people said that they were not regularly active in the previous six months and did not intend to be so in the next six months. Women were more likely to be of this opinion than men, 25 per cent and 22 per cent respectively.

The full report can be accessed through the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety Internet site at www.dhsspsni.gov.uk. (AMcE)

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