The Health Survey Northern Ireland has run annually, on a continuous basis, since 2010/11. The 2014/15 survey included questions relating to general health, mental health and wellbeing, diet and nutrition, breastfeeding, oral health, medicines, obesity, smoking, and sexual health.
Results from the Health Survey Northern Ireland 2014/15 show that:
- Almost three-quarters of respondents (72%) described their health as being good or very good. Around three in ten (29%) reported having a limiting long-standing illness, an increase from the rate reported in 2010/11 (27%). Around half of these respondents felt they received enough support from health and social care services to help manage their condition.
- More than half of respondents (53%) were taking medications prescribed by a healthcare professional, with females more likely to be doing so (57%) than males (48%). The rate of those taking prescribed medication increased with age from a quarter of those aged 16-24 to 91% of those aged 75 and over.
- Whilst two-thirds of respondents correctly identified that antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, a lower proportion (42%) knew that the chances of developing drug-resistant bacteria increase by not finishing the course. A relatively small proportion of respondents incorrectly thought that cold and flus should be treated with antibiotics (8%) and that once you start feeling better you should stop taking the antibiotic (8%).
- One-fifth of respondents (19%) scored highly on the GHQ12 suggesting they may have a possible mental health problem. Females (20%) were more likely to score highly than males (16%) and respondents in the most deprived areas (30%) were twice as likely to record a high GHQ12 score than those in the least deprived areas (15%).
- Over a third of respondents (36%) ate the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, an increase from 33% in 2013/14. Females continue to be more likely to meet the guidelines (40%) than males (30%).
- Around one-fifth of respondents (22%) were current smokers (23% of males and 21% of females), the same rates as reported in 2013/14. Smoking prevalence in the most deprived areas (36%) was three times that in the least deprived areas (12%).
- A small proportion of respondents (5%) reported that they currently use electronic cigarettes. Over half of these respondents (55%) are current smokers and over two-fifths (43%) used to smoke on a regular basis.
- Over half of respondents (56%) did not know any of the symptoms of oral cancer.
- A quarter of adults (25%) were obese with a further 35% classed as overweight. The proportion of adults classed as overweight or obese (60%) has remained relatively constant since 2005/06.
- Around three-quarters of children aged 2-15 were classed as either normal weight or underweight, while 21% were classed as overweight and 7% were classed as obese. The proportion of children classified as either overweight or obese (28%) has not changed since 2005/06.
The report is available online