Men on island of Ireland less concerned about healthy eating and food safety

07 May, 2012. Men on the island of Ireland are less inclined to be concerned about food issues and less likely to know their own body weight according to findings of the latest Consumer Focused Review¹ report from safefood. The review which was launched today at The Food, Health, Choice and Change Conference also found that while men are more likely to know their diets are unhealthy; they are less likely to consciously eat healthily. At present, 70% of men² in the Republic of Ireland are overweight or obese.   
Speaking at the launch of the report, Dr Aileen McGloin, Scientific Support Manager, safefood said:

In the Republic of Ireland, 70% of men are overweight or obese, as compared with 50% of women². In Northern Ireland, 67% of men are overweight or obese compared with 53% of women³. Our report highlights key differences when it comes to nutrition and food safety behaviours by men and women on the island of Ireland. Men appear to be more at risk.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • Men were less likely to cite ‘healthy eating’ as an influence in their lives
  • Men viewed food as fuel, whereas women viewed food in the context of feeling full
  • Consumers attached less importance to the long-term health outcomes of healthy eating compared with shorter-term outcomes of weight loss
  • 43% of consumers reported never making any changes to their diet with a view to improving their health
“This report provides a rich evidence base for all those working towards changing food related behaviour and informing public policy on the island of Ireland. Men and women’s behaviour towards food and the differences found between the sexes is important to comprehend if we are to effect long-term positive change in society”, continued Dr McGloin. “We know from research that early influences can put a person on a path than can affect how they eat and prepare food over their lifetime. If we know why we do things, we can begin to change how we do things.”
The safefood report “Consumer Focused Review of Food Related Behaviour” is available to download from the safefood website.
For details on speaker biographies and presentations at The Food, Health, Choice and Change Conference, visit

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For further information please contact:

Orla Dormer/Serena Leyden, WHPR

Tel: 01 6690030
Dermot Moriarty, safefood
Tel: 01 448 0600; Mob: 086 381 1034



¹ “Consumer Focused Review of Food Related Behaviour; safefood 2012”
² National Adult Nutrition Survey 2011; Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance (IUNA)
³ Northern Ireland Health Survey 2010/11

Download the report

The report is available for download in our publications section.