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Health

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An increase in the percentage of people perceiving their health as good or very good has a positive influence on well-being.

Year
201188
201279
201381
201485
201586

Performance of indicator:

The percentage of the population that reported their general health to be either good or very good was 86% in 2015. This is a fall from the 2011 figure of 88%. After a fall in the levels between 2011 and 2012, the percentage of those aged 16 and over that rate their health as good or very good has increased each year.

Justification of indicator:

An individual’s perception of their own health is important as it provides an opportunity to look at aspects of health that are difficult to measure clinically. These include the severity of a condition, or feelings such as tiredness etc. Self-perceived health is seen as a good proxy indicator of actual health.

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An increase in the number of healthy life years experienced has a positive influence on well-being.

Year
200664.0
200764.3
200864.3
200964.6
201066.4
201167.2
201267.2
201366.9
201466.9
201567.3

Performance of indicator:

The expected number of healthy life years for a person born in Ireland in 2015 is 67.3. This is an improvement on 2014 which was 66.9. There has been an upward trend in the number of healthy life years since 2006. These numbers have been adjusted to take into account the number of males and females in the population and present an average across both genders.

Justification of indicator:

Healthy life years, abbreviated as HLY and also called disability-free life expectancy (DFLE), is defined as the number of years that a person is expected to continue to live in a healthy condition. It shifts the focus away from the longevity of a person towards a quality of life measure. A greater number of healthy life years imply better physical health, which in turn contributes to personal well-being. It can result in an increase in material living conditions, as individuals may have fewer days absent from work, lower financial medical costs and reduced health demands.

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An increase in the percentage of people who are overweight or obese has a negative influence on well-being.

Year
201560
201762

Performance of indicator:

The percentage of people who were classified as overweight or obese in 2015 was 60%. This has risen to 62% in 2017. A person is classified as overweight if their Body Mass Index (BMI) exceeds 25 and is classified as obese if their BMI is 30 or higher.

Justification of indicator:

Healthy lifestyles contribute greatly to an individual’s personal well-being. A person’s BMI provides an indication into their overall health and lifestyle, and weight control is an important health determinant. Higher levels of overweight/obesity have an impact on wider society due to the fact that they can lead to higher spending on health care and lower levels of overall health.

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An increase in the percentage of people who binge drink regularly has a negative influence on well-being.

Year
201639
201637
201739

Performance of indicator:

Binge drinking is defined by health experts, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), as consuming six or more standard drinks in one sitting, which is the equivalent of three or more pints of beer or six or more pub measures of spirits. In 2015, 39% of those aged 15 and older binge drink on a regular basis. This fell slightly in 2016 to 37%, and increased to 39% in 2017.

Justification of indicator:

Binge drinking can negatively impact an individual’s physical and mental health. As an important health determinant, it is identified as a significant measure of personal well-being.

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An increase in the number of deaths by suicides has a negative influence on well-being.

Year
2005531
2006497
2007486
2008528
2009578
2010520
2011571
2012577
2013541
2014559

Performance of indicator:

The number of deaths caused by suicide was 559 in 2014, an increase of 15 from the previous year. The highest number in since 2005 was in 2009, at 578. The lowest number of deaths was in 2007, at 486. This figure includes deaths registered in the year of occurrence and deaths which are registered late.

Justification of indicator:

Suicide is among the highest causes of death for the younger age groups in Ireland. Due to its links to mental health, and levels of social support, it is classified as an important indicator of well-being.

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