A survey of almost 750 people aged 15-24 by SpunOut.ie found that young men were more physically active than young women, but that young women were eating more fruit and vegetables.
“The data confirms that 15-24-year-olds in Ireland know how important their health is but they struggle to make changes needed to improve health and wellbeing,” said the SpunOut.ie executive director Ian Power.
The organisation’s first Youth Health Report found that those surveyed were “largely positive” about the general state of their health.
About 92% reported good or very good health, compared to an average of 85% in the general population.
Just over a quarter said they had a health condition in the past 12 months, including high blood pressure, allergy, asthma, depression, and diabetes.
One in five said they smoked, which is 4% less than the national average, but “occasional smoking” was higher.
Almost half of smokers said they had tried to quit within the last year. The report said smoking peaked in age 25-34 age bracket.
The survey found that seven out of ten young people drank alcohol in the previous year and that four in ten drank weekly. It found a higher level of binge drinking (three or more pints in one session) among this group than the general population.
It found that four out of 10 binge drink on a typical drinking occasion and more than a fifth do so weekly. The report said there were lower levels of drinking in disadvantaged areas, but higher levels of binge drinking.
Almost half said they were very active — but it was higher among young men (56%) than young women (34%).
Four in 10 young people said they skipped breakfast and just one in five were consuming five or more portions of fruit and vegetables daily. The rate among young women was 26%, compared to 18% among young men.
It found that 31% of young men were overweight, compared to 27% of young women. However, obesity rates were 10% among young women, compared to 4% of young men.
The report said “young women in Ireland are battling weight issues”, with 9% of them underweight and four out of ten looking to lose weight, compared to 13% among young men.
In relation to mental health, the report said the Energy and Vitality Index among young men was 77%, compared to 70% among young women.
Two thirds reported using a condom the last time they had sex. The report said that education and information around safe sex “is having a positive impact on men aged 17-24”. The survey said the highest rate of not using a condom was among young gay men, at 54%.
Mr Power said SpunOut.ie was celebrating its 10th birthday today and that since 2005 it stressed the “importance of holistic wellbeing” and how good health, both physical and mental, could be maintained.
He said they would hit their one millionth visitor in 2015.
“SpunOut.ie is committed to continuing to provide young people with a space to have their questions answered, receive advice from other readers with lived experiences and to share their views with the SpunOut.ie community.”