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Overweight, obesity and physical activity levels in Irish adults: evidence from the North/South Ireland Food Consumption Survey

  • S. N. McCarthy (a1), M. J. Gibney (a1), A. Flynn (a2) and M. B. E. Livingstone (a3)
Abstract

In the present paper the prevalence of obesity (BMI 30 kg/m2) and current physical activity levels in Irish adults have been evaluated. The prevalence of obesity in Irish adults is currently 18 %, with men at 20 % and women at 16 %. A further 47 % of men and 33 % of women are overweight (BMI 25·0–29·9 kg/m2). Since 1990, obesity has more than doubled in men from 8 % to 20 %, and increased from 13 % to 16 % in women. The highest prevalence of obesity (30 %) was found in women aged 51–64 years. Defined waist circumference action levels identified 48 % of the population who are in need of weight management and who also are at a 1·5–4·5 times increased risk of having at least one cardiovascular disease risk factor. Physical activity levels were low overall. Men were more active in work and recreational pursuits than women, but women were more active in household activities. Walking was the most popular recreational pursuit. However, TV viewing occupied most of the leisure time of men and women. Higher levels of activity were associated with a lower BMI and waist circumference. The results indicate the need for sensitive and individualised strategies to promote physical activity and to achieve a healthy weight status.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Sinéad McCarthy, fax +353 1 6709176, email mccarts@tcd.ie
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BE Ainsworth , WL Haskell , AS Leon , DR Jacobs , HJ Montoye , JF Sallis & RS Paffenbarger (1993) Compendium of physical activities: classification of energy costs of human physical activities. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 25, 7180.

TS Han , EM Van Leer , JC Seidell & MEJ Lean (1995) Waist circumference action levels in the identification of cardiovascular risk factors: prevalence study in a random sample. British Medical Journal 311, 14011405.

M Kiely , KE Harrington , PJ Robson , GW Cran & A Flynn (2001) Sampling description and procedures used to conduct the North/South Ireland Food Consumption Survey. Public Health Nutrition (In the Press).

MEJ Lean , TS Han & CE Morrison (1995) Waist circumference as a measure for indicating need for weight management. British Medical Journal 311, 5861.

MBE Livingstone , PJ Robson , SN McCarthy , M Kiely , KE Harrington , P Browne & M Galvin (2001) Physical activity patterns in a nationally representative sample of adults in Ireland. Public Health Nutrition (In the Press).

SN McCarthy , KE Harrington , M Kiely , A Flynn , PJ Robson , MBE Livingstone & MJ Gibney (2001 b) Analyses of anthropometric data from the North/South Ireland Food Consumption Survey. Public Health Nutrition (In the Press).

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Proceedings of the Nutrition Society
  • ISSN: 0029-6651
  • EISSN: 1475-2719
  • URL: /core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society
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