Health Minister, Simon Hamilton today welcomed the Health Survey Northern Ireland 2014/15 results.
Following today’s publication of the report the Minister said: ‘Making Life Better, the Executive’s Public Health Strategy, makes it clear that in order to improve the health of people of Northern Ireland we need to focus on more than just the health services we provide. We have to create the conditions that support, empower and enable individuals, families and communities to be proactive in improving their health and take greater control over their health and their lives.
‘This is about providing people with appropriate advice and information, and working together across sectors to ensure that the wider environment supports people to make healthy choices.’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride welcomed progress in key areas, commenting that: ‘It is really positive that 72% of adults described their health as good or very good. In addition, I am encouraged to see that more than a third of our population eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables each day – an increase of 3% on last year and higher than that reported in the rest of the UK.
‘I am also heartened to see that adult obesity has not increased and that the proportion of adults classed as overweight or obese (60%) has remained relatively constant since 2005/06 ‘ it seems that we have achieved our initial aim of stopping the ongoing rises in levels of overweight and obesity.
New information available on e-cigarettes has provided further evidence that they are almost exclusively used by current and ex-smokers, with very few recruits amongst never-smokers. Reducing the number of cigarettes smoked is the main reason given for using electronic cigarettes.’
Dr McBride however highlighted that the report is not all good news: ‘It is concerning, though not surprising given our ageing population, that just under a third of adults (29%) are living with a limiting long-standing illness.
This further emphasises the need, expressed in Making Life Better, for increased emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention which incorporates a lifelong approach to positive health and wellbeing. We not only want to increase the length of people’s lives, but empower people to live for longer in good health.’