Ireland is clearly not immune to the rising levels of chronic illness and health threatening lifestyle trends that are causing worldwide concern for current and future generations.
We are told that mortality rates have decreased significantly for circulatory diseases as well as cancers. But at the same time research suggests an increasing number of people being diagnosed with such chronic illnesses. If modern medicine is sustaining life despite decreasing levels of general health and wellbeing - then there is still much to be done.
In this article we share important news about
- The Irish government's new framework for improved health and wellbeing 2013 - 2025
- Some key health facts about our Irish community
- How we can influence our health dramatically by following certain lifestyle recommendations
- Which recommendation has the greatest potential impact for reducing our risk of death from disease
Healthy Ireland - A Framework For Improved Health And Wellbeing 2013-2025
The initiative appears to have a far reaching approach by collaborating with partners from many industry sectors including public and private organisations as well as research institutes.
Quoted by The Minister for Health, James Reilly TD
for too long we have paid only lip service to public health initiatives and illness prevention. If current trends continue; the incessant rise in the incidence of obesity and overweight, especially in children, we may very well be the first generation to bury the generation behind us – an appalling legacy. We must take action and Healthy Ireland shows us the path to addressing this most serious issue.
For a more detailed explanation of how the framework is structured and how it is intended to succeed see the recent publication - Launch of Healthy Ireland.
Did you know
Some of the key facts from the publication that caught our attention
- The population over 65 years of age is expected to double in the next 30 years
- Despite women having a 5 year greater life expectancy than men it is suggested they are more likely to suffer more health issues and therefore life expectancy of years lived in good health between men and women is closer on par
- Every 2 in 3 adults are overweight or obese
- 1 in 5 children are overweight
- Approximately 1 in 4 people in Ireland still smoke
- 1 in every 2 smokers will die of a tobacco related disease
- Apparently our alcohol consumption rate is one of the highest in Europe and the estimated economic costs of dealing with the consequences of alcohol misuse is almost €4 billion per year
- Depressive mental illness is expected to be the leading cause of chronic disease in high income countries by 2030
Lifestyle recommendations that greatly reduce the risk of death
Dr Teresa Norat, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, who led the research, shares data from a study investigating nearly 380,000 people across 9 European countries over a 12 year period.
The study was monitoring how closely and to what effect would be realised by following diet and lifestyle recommendations of the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommendations for cancer prevention.
To briefly summarise the findings here;
When compared to the group with the lowest level of compliance, those who followed the recommendations most closely had a reduced chance of dying from
- Respiratory disease - 50%
- Circulatory disease - 44%
- Cancer - 20%
'Greatest impact' recommendation
The greatest impact on reducing the risk of death from disease were being as lean as possible without becoming underweight (22 per cent reduced risk) and eating mostly foods of plant origin (21 per cent)
The recommendations were taken from the 10 cancer prevention recommendations in the WCRF/AICR 2007 Second Expert Report.
'Being as lean as possible' will mean different requirements for each of us. In our experience, the best place to start is being consciously aware of the food we consume and committing to a moderate but regular exercise routine.
In good health.
by Simon Coghlan