Despite living through a period of high inflation and global geopolitical crisis, 63% of Irish people are content with life while nearly 75% are feeling healthy this year, according to new research by Core.
The latest Health Report from Core Research looked at three key components of the nation’s health including physical health, diet and nutrition and mental health and well-being to assess the importance of a wholistic and balanced approach to managing our health.
In terms of physical health, over half (53%) of those surveyed are exercising regularly while monitoring their diet. Since the first Core Health Report in 2016 there has been a 25% increase in people who exercise regularly, but don’t monitor their diet. “This can be considered a positive cultural change as people turn to focusing more on their mental well-being and enjoying food, and less on calorie-counting,” notes the report.
According to the report, the most popular form of fitness in 2023 is walking, with 90% saying they have done so for fitness. While in previous reports, running has been in the top three types of exercise, there has been a 29% decline in the number of women saying they run to keep fit. The drop in this solo activity, which is also reflected in cycling, can indicate to the lack of safety some women feel when exercising outdoors.
On the diet and nutrition front, one third (33%) of people are planning to reduce their meat consumption this year for a combination of ethical, environmental and personal health reasons. Some 48% of people say they are already conscious of buying products with excessive packaging, with a further 23% saying they will be more aware in 2023. Of those reducing their meat intake, 18–24-year-olds and 45-54-year-olds are the most likely, with over one third (36%) of these cohorts already doing so and a further 14% intending to try this year.
The research also notes that 56% of people are planning to cut down on their alcohol intake this year. Those aged 55 years and over are among the most likely to moderate their alcohol consumption (63%), while 40% of those aged 18-24 are also conscious their alcohol usage. “Considering this age group are at risk of binge-drinking, this is a positive result,” the report says.
When it came to mental health and well-being, the majority (84%) are mindful and aware of their mental health and consider it a key component of their overall well-being. While almost two thirds (63%) say they are content with life or thriving, stress continues to play a big part in our everyday lives with 29% saying they feel stressed this year. Among the top key tools for managing well-being are: talking to friends (74%), getting outdoors (70%), eating well (66%), good sleep (57%),
The research revealed that there is a connection between the ability to express emotions and having more focus on personal well-being. Those aged between 18-34 tend to struggle the most when it comes to expressing emotions, and therefore rank the lowest in mental well-being. Unsurprisingly, this cohort also have the highest average screen times of 8 hours 43 minutes.
“It’s evident from the Core Health Report 2023 that people across Ireland continue to maintain a proactive attitude towards their health both physically, mentally and emotionally in 2023. While people are still experiencing levels of stress, we are learning to manage this better by acknowledging our emotions and engaging in key personal well-being tools to manage this. The intent to make positive and conscious choices when it comes to food and alcohol consumption is present, as well as awareness regarding the environmental impact of certain consumer habits. It’s encouraging to see people across Ireland continuing to prioritise their personal health in 2023 by embracing a wholistic approach.”
To read the full report click HERE