Page last updated at 05:58 GMT, Friday, 2 October 2009 06:58 UK

People in Republic 'feel better'

People looking happy - posed by models
More people in the Republic rated their quality of life as very good

People in the Republic feel better off than those in Northern Ireland and live longer, a new study says.

A paper being presented to a health conference on Friday examines health and lifestyle surveys in the two areas.

It said that 90% in the Republic rated their quality of life as 'very good' or 'good', compared with 86% in NI.

Life expectancy in the Republic of Ireland was 77.5 years for men and 82.2 years for women but 76.2 years for men and 81 years for women in NI.

In the Republic, 88%, rated their general health as 'excellent', 'very good' or 'good'. In Northern Ireland, somewhat fewer respondents, 75%, rated their general health as 'very good' or 'good'.

The most frequently reported diagnosed chronic condition in both the Republic and Northern Ireland was asthma, followed by diabetes.

The report, compiled by the Department of Health in the Republic, found that almost twice as many women in Northern Ireland, 30%, had been tested for cervical cancer in the previous 12 months compared to the Republic, 16%.

It said that women in higher social classes in the Republic were significantly more likely to have been tested than women in lower social classes.

Height and weight results were broadly similar with one-quarter of respondents in both the areas classified as 'obese' according to their BMI.

Only 1% of respondents in the Republic were 'underweight', compared to 5% in Northern Ireland.

Two-thirds of respondents in Northern Ireland, 65%, and almost half of respondents in the Republic, 46%, reported drinking alcohol at least once a week. Men were significantly more likely than women to drink weekly in both jurisdictions.

The report's authors said they hoped the findings would "further our understanding of the processes that shape health and social well-being".

The report is being launched at the Population Health Autumn School at Queen's University, Belfast, on Friday.

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