Ireland one of the worst countries for smoking, drinking and obesity: OECD report

Ireland ranks badly when compared to other countries for smoking, drinking, and obesity, the latest OECD “Health at a Glance” report shows.

The report highlights:

• Irish people consume more alcohol per capita than people in most of the OECD.

• Ireland has the highest proportion of adult smokers.

• Deaths due to cancer fell by almost 21 per cent, and deaths due to heart disease fell by 59.4pc between 1990 and 2011.

• Cardiovascular diseases – which include strokes – fell by over 54 per cent

• Life expectancy in Ireland is 80.6 years, beating the OECD average of 80.1 years.

• The life expectancy of an Irish person has increased by four years since 2000.

Obese Woman

The rise in obesity is a “major public health concern”, the report said. Some 23 per cent of Irish adults were obese in 2009, the report stated. Ireland ranked eighth on the list of all 34 OECD countries for this.

Despite the country’s poor ranking in relation to the number of smokers, the OECD report shows that the percentage of daily smokers dropped from 33 per cent in 1998 to 29 per cent in 2007. And Ireland came out as having the second biggest drop in health spending, after Greece, between 2009 and 2011. Health spending per capita here dropped by 6.6 per cent in those years. Cuts in health spending in OECD countries were reached by targeting hospital spending, cuts to wages and spending on prevention and public health.

The OECD has 34 member countries which include developed countries from around the world, as well as “emerging” countries like Mexico, Chile and Turkey. Ireland ranked 14 on the list of OECD countries for suicide rates for 2009 – with 11.3 deaths per 100,000 population, OECD’s study shows.

Suicide figures were highest in Korea, the Russian Federation, Hungary, and Japan, at more than 19 deaths per 100,000 population.

Courtesy of