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Your Health Matters: Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland 2012/13


Chief Medical Officer (NI)

Subject Keywords: Health of the population of Northern Ireland
Topic: Chronic Conditions
Chronic Conditions
Type: Report
Region: Northern Ireland

‘Stay active, stay healthy, and live longer’ was the message from NI Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Michael McBride as he launched his annual report.

Dr McBride said that while there have been welcome improvements in the health of the public in Northern Ireland; there are still significant challenges to overcome.

Lifestyle choices continue to impact our health and add to already significant pressures on our health service. There has been a continued improvement in the health of the public in Northern Ireland and we can see this in the steady increase in life expectancy and a reduction in the death rates for heart disease and a number of cancers in those under 75.

However, a number of lifestyle factors continue to have a negative effect on our health and Dr McBride is concerned about the impact that this will have on future generations. Obesity is undoubtedly the most significant public health issue confronting our generation. Levels continue to increase and this in turn is contributing to the increase in people with diabetes, heart disease and cancer. There are now over 75,000 people with diabetes – almost twice as many as 10 years ago. We need to support people in making healthy choices and ensure that taking a healthy approach begins as early in life as possible.

A quarter of adults continue to smoke in spite of concerted campaigns, new legislation and comprehensive smoking cessation services.

Excessive and irresponsible alcohol consumption especially in young people is also threatening to unravel a generation of good work in public health and put further pressure on our health services. Dr McBride believes there is a need to continue to engage in the debate about measures such as minimum pricing of alcohol and further restrictions on smoking such as in private vehicles with children present.

The 2012/13 Health Survey Northern Ireland found that just over half of adults in Northern Ireland meet the recommended levels of physical activity. The Department and the Public Health Agency (PHA) are currently working with a number of partners to increase physical activity. For example, the Active Schools Travel Programme, funded by the PHA and the Department for Regional Development (DRD), encourages pupils to walk or cycle as their main mode of transport to and from school. A programme of cycling and walking skills will be delivered through the organisation, Sustrans (Sustainable Transport) to 180 schools across Northern Ireland over the next three years.



Rights: © Crown copyright
Suggested citation:

Chief Medical Officer (NI). (2013) Your Health Matters: Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland 2012/13 [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 24th August 2019].


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