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Irish teens get top marks for exercise
[Posted: Tue 01/05/2012 by Gillian Tsoi www.irishhealth.com]
Teenagers in Ireland are among the most physically active in the high-income countries of the world, according to a new international study.
However, Ireland has one of the highest rates of binge drinking among the countries involved in the study.
Researchers studying teenage behaviour looked at the health and wellbeing of teens in 27 high-income countries.
They discovered that Irish girls, aged between the 13 and 15, exercised more than their counterparts in any of the other countries.
Meanwhile, Irish boys from the same age bracket took second place in the exercise stakes, with boys in the US coming out on top.
The study also found that no more than 50% of teens met the recommended 60 minutes of exercise per day in any country.
The levels of physical activity in many high-income countries were low: Germany, Norway, Russia and Switzerland were among the worst, while Ireland, Slovakia and the US had the highest rates.
Teenage boys in Norway and girls in France exercised the least.
Irish adolescents were among those who were less likely to be overweight.
Boys in the Netherlands and girls in Switzerland were the least likely to tip the scales into the overweight category, however, teenagers in the US were most likely to be overweight.
The study revealed that teenage Irish boys smoked more cannabis than their female counterparts, but far less than their peers in Canada and the US, where females and males, respectively, smoked the most.
Ireland had one of the highest binge-drinking rates, with close to a third of 15-year-olds reporting binge drinking in the past month. Austria and the US had similar rates.
The study, led by Prof George Patton of the University of Melbourne, Australia, found that Ireland was notable for its high levels of suicide among teenagers. Finland and Norway also had high teen suicide rates, while Greece, Italy and Spain had the lowest rates.
Death rates for young people between ages 10 and 24 in Ireland were also high. Causes of deaths included motor accidents and through intentional harm.
Only Portugal, New Zealand and the US had a higher overall mortality rate for young people.
Irish males aged 15 to 24 were found more likely to die of violence than many other nationalities in the study. Only Switzerland, Canada, Israel and the US had higher rates than Ireland.
The study – entitled Health of the World’s Adolescents: a Synthesis of Internationally Comparable Data – was published in medical journal The Lancet.
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