The report also confirmed the growing obesity epidemic in children.

Adolescent girls in Ireland have one of the highest levels of binge drinking in the world, according to a new global study.

The first story to track recent global changes in adolescent health, published in The Lancet, tracked progress in 12 indicators of teenage health in 195 countries, including risk factors such as smoking, obesity, and binge drinking.

It found that Ireland was one of the countries near the top of the table when it came to overindulging in alcohol.

The number of teenagers (aged 15 - 19) globally who binge drink changed little from 1990 — going from 41 million boys and 26 million girls in 1990 to 44 million boys and 27 million girls in 2016.

The countries with the highest levels of adolescent girl binge drinking – with a prevalence of over 55% – were Denmark, Finland, Ireland, and New Zealand, in that order.

Denmark’s rate of adolescent binge drinking for females was 70% while the rate among Irish adolescent females was 61% and the rate for their Irish male counterparts was 58%.

In contrast, prevalence in both sexes in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Egypt were under 1%.

“Despite having been a focus of policy attention in many high-income countries, the number of adolescents who binge drink has not shifted since 1990,” said the authors.

The report also found that smoking has decreased globally; 136 million adolescents smoked daily in 2016, a decrease of 38 million compared with 1990.

It also focused on obesity, showing that 324 million of the world’s 1.8 billion adolescents was overweight or obese in 2016, compared with the 147 million who were overweight or obese in 1990.

According to a report by the Nuffield Trust and the Association for Young People's Health (AYPH) Irish teenagers aged 15 to 19 have the tenth highest obesity level in the developed world.

As well as this, the ‘Growing Up in Ireland’ report, published by the Department of Children, has found that one in four school children is overweight or obese here.

In February of this year, the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) hit out at the State over what it describes as its “failure to protect children from online junk food marketing”.

IHF head of advocacy Chris Macey said inaction in tackling the advertising of unhealthy foods “represented a dereliction of duty that children would pay for heavily through lives dominated by chronic disease, long-term ill health, and ultimately premature death”.

“The Department of Health is well aware that junk food marketing is a key driver of our obesity crisis and State-funded research estimates that it will cause the premature deaths of 85,000 of this generation of children on the island,” he said. 

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