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We're drinking more but living 10 years longer

IRISH people are living 10 years longer than they did half a century ago - even though we are drinking more.

Life expectancy at the moment is 80 years of age, while in 1960 the average Irish person died by the age of 70, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Nevertheless, we are drinking much more than we were 20 years ago. In all, 34 OECD countries were included in the research, which showed life expectancy rose by 11 years over the 50-year period.

At the upper end of the scale are the Japanese, who have a life expectancy of 83 years, the highest among the group of nations.

The data was included in the OECD 50th anniversary report, Measuring Progress In Health.

Among the other interesting findings is that alcohol consumption in Ireland and Britain has risen, while it has dropped in most other countries. Drinking in Ireland has gone up 18pc in the past two decades.

In France and Spain, alcohol consumption has dropped 37pc and 46pc, respectively.

Smoking

The report says the figures for Ireland and Britain signify a "worrying trend" and highlighted in particular the increasing practice among younger people of binge drinking.

Ireland also has higher than average rates of smoking. Some 29pc of the country's population over the age of 15 smoke daily, compared to an OECD average of 22pc.

Elsewhere, the OECD has said road deaths in Ireland are at a rate of 7.8 per 100,000 people. It compares favourably to the OECD average of 12.9.

Road deaths across the OECD have fallen by 42pc in the 15 years up to 2009. In Ireland, fatalities have dropped a massive 57pc.

The OECD statistics show that death rates in Ireland from breast cancer were among the highest in the OECD, standing at 26.1 per 100,000, compared to an OECD average of 20.1.

In Britain and Spain, the figures are 23.2 and 16.4, respectively. Overall, Irish cancer mortality rates rank at 218 deaths per 100,000, compared to an OECD average of 208.

Stroke rates here are at 41 deaths per 100,000, compared with an OECD average of 54.