Launch of the Healthy Ireland Survey 2021

The Healthy Ireland survey 2021, launched 7th December 2021, represents a detailed insight of a time interval during which necessary COVID-19 restrictions had a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of the people of Ireland. 

You can download or view the full Healthy Ireland Survey 2021 Summary report here. To see the key trends arising from the survey, please click here

This is the seventh Healthy Ireland Survey and adds to the data collected in the previous surveys from 2015 - 2020.

A representative sample of approximately 7,400 people, aged 15 and older, living in Ireland was interviewed between October 2020 and June 2021.

The survey gives an up-to-date picture of the health of the nation and reports on many lifestyle behaviours, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, mental health and health services.

Healthy Ireland Survey 2021


Smoking

  • 18% of the population are current smokers, a decline of 5 percentage points since the first wave of this survey in 2015 and roughly equivalent to smoking levels in seen in 2018
  • 16% smoke daily and 2% occasionally
  • Smoking in 25-34 year-olds has declined by 6 percentage points to 20% since 2019
  • 24% of 45-54 year-olds now have the highest prevalence of smoking (24%)
  • 44% of all who smoked in the last 12 months have attempted to quit
  • 27% of those who attempted to quit in the last 12 months were successful
  • 4% of the population have used e-cigarettes, with those aged under 25 most likely to have used them


Alcohol consumption

15% of the population binge drink


  • 66% of people have consumed alcohol in the previous 6 months, with those aged 15-24 (70%) and men (68%) most likely to do so
  • 37% of the population aged 15 and older drink alcohol at least once a week. This compares to 41% in the previous measurement in 2018
  • 15% of the population (22% of drinkers) binge drink on a typical drinking occasion. This compares to 28% (37% of drinkers) in 2018
  • 84% of the population (and 90% of women of reproductive age) correctly identified drinking during pregnancy as unsafe



Diet, Nutrition, Weight Management

  • 36% of people report consuming 2 or more unhealthy snack foods daily, with 24% consuming one unhealthy snack on a daily basis. This is broadly unchanged from the 2016 Survey (35% and 25% respectively)
  • 29% of people consume sugar sweetened drinks on a weekly basis, with 8% drinking these on a daily basis
  • 65% of people eat fruit on a daily basis, with 75% consuming vegetables daily
  • On average, people eat 2.9 portions of fruit and vegetables daily, with 34% eating the recommended 5 portions per day or more
  • 35% of people report trying to lose weight
  • Those reporting increases in smoking and drinking alcohol – are also more likely to report an increase in weight. Almost half (49%) of those who are drinking more alcohol report that their weight has increased, as do 42% of those who are smoking more


Social Connectedness and the impacts of COVID-19

Impacts of COVID-19 
  • 81% report being less socially connected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 29% report gaining weight during the pandemic, with 11% reporting weight loss
  • Those whose mental health has worsened are more likely to report that they are drinking and smoking more than before


Mental Health and Suicide Awareness

  • 30% of respondents say their mental health worsened since the beginning of necessary public health restrictions in March 2020. 64% report no change, with only 5% saying their mental health has improved
  • Among those whose mental health has worsened, 28% say it has declined “a lot”, while 71% say it has declined “a little”
  • 1 in 8 respondents report losing someone close or very close to them via suicide
  • 6% of respondents report having attempted to take their own life at some point in the past

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