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Ireland tops EU countries for daily consumption of fruit and vegetables

By Irish Pharmacist - 30th Jan 2023

fruit and veg

People in Ireland eat more daily portions of fruit and vegetables than in any other EU country, according to a report released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Across all EU member states, just 12 per cent of adults consume the recommended five or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day. However, 33 per cent of adults in Ireland reach this target, with a further 48 per cent consuming between one and four portions daily.

The figures are included in the latest OECD Health at a Glance 2022 Report, which also highlights Ireland’s progress in reducing smoking rates over the last decade.

In 2020, almost one-in-five adults (19 per cent) across EU countries smoked daily, in comparison to 16 per cent of adults in Ireland.

Smoking rates in Ireland dropped by 8 percentage points, from 24 per cent in 2010. This is the second-largest drop across EU countries, behind Estonia, which saw its smoking rates fall from 27 per cent in 2010 to 18 per cent in 2020.

In addition, the report reveals how Ireland’s public coverage of pharmaceutical costs is among the most generous in the EU.

On average, government and compulsory insurance schemes cover 70 per cent of all retail pharmaceutical spending, but in Ireland, 81 per cent of pharmaceutical spending is covered. This compares with 85 per cent in Cyprus and just 41 per cent in Iceland.

The report also praises Ireland’s swift implementation of the Covid-19 vaccination programme. By the end of 2021, the average EU vaccination rate was 77 per cent of the population, but more than 90 per cent of the adult population in Ireland completed an initial vaccination course.

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