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Blog Posts Novem­ber 2nd2015 Youth Health Report 2015

  • Report released ahead of’s 10th birthday celebrations at Facebook where new website will be unveiled
  • 92% of young people are reporting good or very good health but one in four (27%) have reported a medical condition in the past 12 months
  • 45% of young people who smoke have attempted to quit in the past year
  • One in five (22%) of those drinking at “binge” levels know they have to cut down their drinking
  • Young people aged 15 - 24 spend the highest average time sitting down each day (6.3 hours) compared with all other age groups (average is 5.3 hours)
  • Almost as many young men are trying to lose weight (13%) as those trying to gain weight (15%)

Dublin, November 1st -, Ireland’s youth information website by young people for young people, has today released the Youth Health Report ahead of its 10th birthday celebration in Facebook on Monday, November 2.

The 10th birthday celebrations will also see a new website for unveiled by Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar T.D. The report, using the data from the Healthy Ireland Survey, provides more details on the health of Ireland’s 15-24 year olds. The first ever Youth Health Report survey of 747 people (demographically representative) aged between 15 and 24 gives the most up-to-date picture of the health of the youth of Ireland. Executive Director, Ian Power said: “Since 2005, has provided information designed to inform young people in Ireland about the importance of holistic wellbeing and how good health can be maintained, both physically and mentally. We’re incredibly proud to be celebrating our 10th birthday tomorrow particularly as we will mark another milestone this week when will record its 1 millionth visitor in 2015. This is the first time the site has ever clocked over a million visits in a calendar year and is further evidence of how more and more young people are choosing to inform themselves and engage with their peers online.

“In the last 10 years we’ve seen a lot of changes in the issues facing Ireland’s young people. is committed to continuing to provide young people with a space to have their questions answered, receive advice from other readers with lived experiences and to share their views with the community.

“Working with Healthy Ireland to dig deeper into the data for the Youth Health Report has confirmed a lot of the issues we are seeing our readers engage with. The data confirms that 15-24 year olds in Ireland know how important their health is but they can struggle to make the changes needed to improve their health and wellbeing. We’ve always provided easy access to relevant, reliable, and non-judgemental information and our new website will be able to provide an even more dynamic, responsive experience full of up-to-date, factual information, free of any shame or bias which is vitally important to our 80,000 monthly readers.”

Simon Milner, Facebook Policy Director, EMEA: “It’s an honour be a part of this exciting milestone for and to welcome the Minister Varadkar to our International headquarters in Dublin. is an important resource and we share a common vision of an Ireland, using technology, to ensure that our young people are safe, happy and healthy and have access to the information they need.

“ has played an important part in the development of a number of Facebook’s safety tools and resources offering support to our online community, including our Bullying Prevention Hub and our Social Reporting feature. We are extremely proud of our three-year partnership and look forward to our continued collaboration.”

Young People and General Health

SpunOut Youth Health Report showed that overall young people aged between 15 and 24 are largely positive about the general status or their health with 92% reporting good or very good health (compared to an average of 85% in the whole population). 1 in 4 (27%) young people aged 15 and 24 reported having a health condition in the past 12 months such as high blood pressure, allergy, asthma, depression, diabetes. Six in every 10 young people (61%) aged between 15 and 24 have had a consultation with their GP in the last 12 months.

Young People and Smoking

One in five (19%) of young people smoke. This is 4% less than national average but “occasional smoking” is higher amongst young people aged between 15 and 24 at 6% than the national average of 4%. In the past year, 45% of young people who smoke have attempted to quit. Cigarette consumption peaks amongst Ireland’s 25-34 year olds but declines with age.

Young People and Alcohol

In the past year, 68% of young people aged between 15 and 24 have drunk alcohol. With the exception of those over 65, young people are the only group where alcohol consumption falls below the national average 76%. Almost four in 10 (39%) of those surveyed drink weekly. The survey also highlighted that young people who drink (75% of men and 38% of women aged 15-24) were more likely to report consuming six or more standard drinks on a typical drinking occasion than the population average (57% for men and 21% for women). Almost 4 in 10 (39%) drinkers binge drink on a typical drinking occasion with over a fifth (24%) doing so at least once a week. There are lower levels of drinking in more deprived areas and lower social classes, but higher levels of binge drinking in these areas. 15% of those who reported drinking at harmful levels in the past 12 months felt that their drinking harmed their health. 22% of young people felt they should cut down on their drinking.

Young People and Physical Activity

Almost half of young people (46%) self-reported as highly active compared to a population average of around a third (32%). Young men aged are highly active (56%) compared to around a third of women the same age (34%). Students in the age bracket are more likely to be highly active (47%), compared with those working (39%) and those who are unemployed (28%). Those aged 15 - 24 spend the highest average time sitting (6.3 hours) compared with all other age groups (average is 5.3 hours). Young women aged between 15 and 24 spend longer sitting per day (6.7 hours) than any other group.

Young People and Diet/Nutrition

Younger people are less likely to eat breakfast with four in 10 skipping the first meal of the day. This compares to a 27% population average of skipping breakfast. Men aged between 15 and 24 are twice as likely to drink sugar sweetened drinks (29%) compared to population average of 15%. Ireland’s young people fall well below the national average when it comes to preparing fresh, nutritious meals. A third (33%) reported that they were likely to cook from scratch, using fresh, raw ingredients compared to a whole population average of 53%. One in five young people (22%) are consuming five or more portions of fruit and vegetables daily. Young women are more likely to get their 5 a day (26%) compared to young men (18%). Three in every four (75%) 15 to 24 year olds eat snack foods daily (2 portions or more) compared to three in five (62%) in the wider population.

Young People and Weight Management

Ireland’s young people are less likely to be overweight. 31% of young men aged between 15 and 24 and 27% of women of the same age are overweight or obese. This compares to the entire population average of 60%. However, young women are more likely (10%) to be obese compared to their male counterparts (4%). The survey confirms that young women in Ireland are battling weight issues. Women aged between 15 and 24 are more likely to be underweight (9%) when compared to an average of women of all ages (3%). 4 in every 10 young women aged between 15 and 24 are trying to lose weight. Amongst Ireland young males, almost as many young men are trying to lose weight (13%) as those trying to gain weight (15%). Almost half (47%) of those trying to lose weight are doing so by consuming fewer sugar sweetened foods/drinks.

Young People and Social Connectedness

The survey shows that Ireland’s young people are connecting offline as well as online. Participation in a social club or group is highest among men aged between 15 and 24 with 72% compared to 47% of the total population. Young people are also more likely to have a social conscience. The survey shows that young people are more likely to report problems in their neighbourhoods like littering (38%) compared to those over 65 (26%).

Young People and Mental Wellbeing

Higher levels of positive mental health are recorded among men and women aged 15 - 24 with an Energy and Vitality Index (EVI) mean score of 76.8% for young men and 70.3% for young women compared to a whole population average of 70.0%. The highest level of positive mental health is recorded among young men aged between 15 and 24. A ‘Probable Mental Health Problem’ (PMHP) is detected more frequently among women (13%) than men (6%), and is most prominent among young women aged 15-24 (16%) compared to young men (5%).

Young People and Sexual Health

Those aged between 17 and 24 were the group least likely to have previously had intercourse (69%) compared with the total population (92%), Men aged 17-24 were more likely to have had intercourse (74%) than women of the same age (63%). Major differences exist across age groups in condom usage on the last occasion of sex with two-thirds (66%) of 17 to 24 year olds using them compared to 5% of those aged over 65 and a whole population average of 24%. Education and information around safe sex is having a positive impact on men aged 17-24. This group was most likely to have used a condom on the last occasion of sex (69%). This highest rate of not using a condom in the last sexual encounter was amongst men who most recently had sex with another man. 54% of respondents in this category did not use a condom. 93% of people aged 17-24 used at least one form of contraception on the last occasion of sex with 7% using no contraception at all. Usage of the contraceptive pill is highest amongst the 17-24 and 25-34 age groups (35% and 34% respectively). Half of those aged 17-24 (51%) are less likely than other groups to have been in a relationship with their most recent sexual partner. Men in this age group are less likely than women to have been in a relationship (42% and 62% respectively). 12% of men aged 17-24 indicate that they had only just met the person when they last had sexual intercourse, with a further 19% indicating that they had recently met this person.


For more information please contact:

Ian Power, Executive Director

01-6753554 or 083 148 4527

Note for Editors

Background to survey:

The Healthy Ireland Survey was commissioned by the Department of Health to update data available on a range of health issues since the last major health survey conducted in Ireland, SLÁN 2007. Following a public tendering process, Ipsos MRBI, the independent research and opinion polling company, was commissioned to conduct an annual Healthy Ireland Survey, for a period of three years, on behalf of the Department of Health.

The Healthy Ireland Survey was conducted by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of the Department of Health. 7,539 people aged 15 and over from a randomly selected representative sample of households in Ireland were visited between November 2014 and August 2015 and interviewed on a variety of topics including general health, smoking, alcohol, diet and nutrition, physical activity, weight management, social connectedness, wellbeing, dementia and sexual health.

Significant changes in economic and social circumstances have occurred in Ireland since 2007 and the Healthy Ireland Survey is now providing a robust, credible and timely source of data at a national level on a range of health behaviours. These data will be used to underpin policy development and implementation, as well as to meet many international reporting obligations, including to the OECD, the EU and the WHO.

The Survey findings provide important and valuable information and give a robust data source against which the Department of Health and its stakeholders can monitor, measure and evaluate progress in implementing various elements of the Healthy Ireland Framework and to inform policy, programme support and delivery, and enhance accountability.

About SpunOut is Ireland’s youth information website established in 2005 and is run by young people, for young people. Our goal is to empower our readers aged 16 - 25 with the information they need to live active, happy and healthy lives. has over 80,000 readers coming to the site each month and 2015 will be the first calendar year in which the site will receive over 1 million visits. is funded by the Health Service Executive to provide health information to young people to inform healthier choices and behaviours as part of the Healthy Ireland framework. The site runs a number of annual campaigns targeted at young people (e.g. sexual health promotion, healthy eating and physical activity promotion) and also identifies targeted campaigns to address specific demands from readers for more information on a topic (e.g. improving sleep quality, supporting friends with mental health difficulties).

About Healthy Ireland

The Healthy Ireland Framework is a Government-led initiative which aims to create an Irish society where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health, and where wellbeing is valued and supported at every level of society. Healthy Ireland has come about because of concerns that the current health status of people living in Ireland – including lifestyle trends and health inequalities – is leading us towards a future that is dangerously unhealthy, and very likely unaffordable. Healthy Ireland seeks to provide people and communities with accurate information on how to improve their health and wellbeing and seeks to empower and motivate them by making the healthy choice the easier choice.