Ireland has the highest rate of reported good health in EU

Healthy workforce

by HRHQ Editorial Team

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, Minister for Public Health and Wellbeing and National Health, Hildegarde Naughton, and Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler, have highlighted Ireland’s high rate of reported good health as documented in the State of Health in the EU Ireland: Country Health Profile 2023.

The report, which is published every second year, compares Ireland with other European Union (EU) countries and the EU average across a range of indicators including health, risk factors, and the performance of the health system.

Highlights include:

  • 80% of Irish people report being in good health, the highest level in the EU
  • Ireland’s mortality rates from preventable and treatable causes being about 20% lower than respective EU averages and having declined at a faster rate over the last decade
  • Irish people at age 65 having the third highest disability-free life expectancy in the EU
  • uptake of flu, COVID-19 and HPV vaccinations being well above the EU average
  • 96% of adults having received the full primary COVID-19 vaccination course in 2022, compared to the EU average of 82%, with 76% having received the second booster which was the second highest in the EU

37% of the population over 16 report doing at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, higher than the EU average of 33%. Within the same group, 33% report consuming five daily servings of fruit and vegetables.

The report also reveals that more than 35% of all deaths in Ireland are attributable to behavioural risk factors including smoking, dietary risks, alcohol consumption and low physical activity.

Also highlighted in the report is the fact that cancer screening rates in Ireland are generally very high at 49.5% for Colorectal cancer, 72% for Cervical cancer, which is above the EU average, and 74% for Breast Cancer.

This year for the first time the report includes a section on mental health. It outlines how Ireland’s Strategy to Reduce Suicide has contributed to declining suicide rates over the past decade.

Minister Donnelly said:

“These Country Health Profiles provide a concise and policy-relevant overview of health and health services in the EU/European Economic Area. They emphasise the characteristics and challenges in each country against a backdrop of cross-country comparisons. They have helped support us in policy making and are an important means for mutual learning and voluntary exchange.”