Obesity crisis: One quarter of young people in Ireland are overweight study finds 1 week ago

Obesity crisis: One quarter of young people in Ireland are overweight study finds

According to a major new report, as many as a quarter of Irish 17 and 18-year-olds are either overweight or obese.

In fact, the newly released Growing Up In Ireland survey found that one-in-five are overweight and 8 percent so heavy, they are classified as being obese.

The study also revealed that there is a slight difference between the sexes, with 30 percent of young women likely to be overweight or obese compared to 25 percent of young men.

This discrepancy could be down to physical activity, as more than three-quarters of young men said they are meeting the World Health Organization’s recommended weekly physical activity levels – compared to just over half of young women.

On Breakfast Briefing with Andrea Gilligan this morning, ESRI Research Analyst Eoin McNamara said the gender disparity has been noticeable since researchers began following the lives of the young people when they were nine years old.

“It was always the case for us that young women were reporting slightly higher levels of overweight and obesity,” he said.

“One of the key predictors for obesity would be physical activity levels and what we also see is a similar disparity there so that young men are more active than young women. So, we explored that in more detail and asked them what sort of things they like to do with their free time and young men are saying they like active pursuits like going to the gym or playing sports – be it team or individual."

He continues:

“While women like to do those things too, they also value other things like reading or musical pastimes and spending time online – slightly more than young men.”

McNamara explained the finding highlights a need for improved resources and facilities to encourage people to take part in health, active past-times.

The Growing Up In Ireland survey involves interviews with over 6,000 young people and their parents.