Survey on Lifestyle and Attitude to Nutrition (SLÁN)

ABOUT THE STUDY

SLÁN is a series of surveys commissioned by the Department of Health and designed to produce baseline information for the ongoing surveillance of health and lifestyle behaviours in the Irish population.  Please see below for further information and documentation relating to the three waves of the survey conducted to date. 

The Healthy Ireland study, the successor to SLAN, is also available from ISSDA.

SLÁN 1998

The 1998 SLÁN survey was conducted by the Centre for Health Promotion Studies at NUI Galway on behalf of the Health Promotion Unit of the Department of Health.

One of the main purposes of the survey was to produce baseline information for the ongoing surveillance of health and lifestyle related behaviours in the Irish adult population.

A self-administered questionnaire, an adapted version of the semi- quantitative food frequency questionnaire (SQFFQ) used in the British arm of the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) study (Riboli, 1997) was developed for use in SLAN. The EPIC food frequency instrument has been validated extensively in several populations (Bingham et al., 1997) and used in a survey of diet and lifestyle of Irish women (NNSC, 1998) and validated using food diaries and a protein biomarker in volunteers of the National University of Ireland, Galway (Harrington, 1997 Thesis).

There were eight sections in the questionnaire which covered egeneral health (including self-reported height and weight), exercise, tobacco, illegal substances, accidents, household details and dietary habits.

Technical details:

  • Population: Adults aged 18+
  • Sampling frame: Electoral Register
  • Sample: Multistaged sample drawn by electoral division
  • Stratification: Proportionate distribution across each of the 26 counties, locality and gender
  • Number of cases: 6,539
  • Survey instrument: Self-completed questionnaire
  • Delivery/Reminders: Postal, letter reminder, fieldworker follow-up, telephone helpline
  • Return: Freepost adressed envelope, fieldworker collection
  • Data Quality: Data were entered and validated according to protocol

Documentation:

SLÁN 2002

The national health and lifestyle survey, SLÁN, was first undertaken in 1998 and repeated again in the summer of 2002. The work was commissioned by the Health Promotion Unit of the Department of Health & Children and carried out at the Centre for Health Promotion Studies at NUI Galway and at the Department of Public Health Medicine and Epidemiology, University College Dublin (now UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science).

The main aims of these surveys are to:

  • Produce reliable data of a nationally representative cross-section of the Irish population in order to inform the Department of Health and Children's policy and programme planning;
  • Maintain a survey protocol which will enable lifestyle factors to be re-measured so that trends can be identified and changes monitored to assist national and regional setting of priorities in health promotion activities.

As in 1998, a representative cross-section of the Irish adult population was surveyed, with a sample powerful enough at a National level, to detect differences according to socio-economic status in key variables: smoking, exercise and percentage caloric intake from fat. Allowances were made for non-response and likelihood of ineligibility to participate. The sample was generated randomly from the Irish electoral register supplied by Precision Marketing Information (PMI) Ltd., a subsidiary of An Post.

The sampling procedures followed those used in 1998, whereby a national postal sample was generated randomly and proportionately distributed based on health board population size and urban rural breakdowns so that each county of the Republic of Ireland was represented. Final selection was at district electoral division. The self-completed questionnaires were posted from the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway, with freepost return enveloped enclosed.

A helpline to deal with general queries on questionnaire completion was set up and respondents were entered into a prize draw unless they stated otherwise. Following a reminder letter and further reminder questionnaire, all remaining non-respondents were followed up either by telephone where possible or by trained fieldworkers calling to the person's home for questionnaire collection. Research & Evaluation Services, Ltd. Belfast carried out data entry.

There were eight sections in the questionnaire which covered general health (including self-reported height and weight), exercise, tobacco, illegal substances, accidents, household details and dietary habits.

Technical details:

  • Population: Adults aged 18+
  • Sampling frame: Electoral Register
  • Sample: Multistaged sample drawn by electoral division
  • Stratification: Proportionate distribution across each of the 26 counties, locality and gender
  • Number of cases: 5,992
  • Survey instrument: Self-completed questionnaire
  • Delivery/Reminders: Postal, letter reminder, fieldworker follow-up, telephone helpline
  • Return: Freepost addressed envelope, fieldworker collection
  • Data Quality: Data were entered and validated according to protocol

Documentation:

SLÁN 2007

The SLÁN 2007 survey was commissioned by the Health Promotion Unit of the Department of Health & Children and carried out by Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI), The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), University College Cork (UCC) and The National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG).

SLÁN 2007 is the largest survey to date. The survey deals with general health, behaviours relating to health and the use of certain health services. 1,200 respondents of the survey also participated in a detailed medical examination.

Technical details:

  • Population: Adults aged 18+
  • Sampling frame: Geodirectory
  • Stratification: Percentage distribution across townlands, age groups, social classes and urban-rural location.
  • Number of cases: 10,364
  • Survey instrument: Face-to-face interviews (conducted by a team of survey interviewers, co-ordinated by the ESRI). Self completion of Food Frequency Questionnaire). Physical Exams were conducted by qualified nurses through a number if occupational health organisations.
  • Quality checks: Survey interviews (>5%) were subject to "quality checks" either by telephone or post. Physical examinations were also exposed to quality checks and an additional nurse training session were conducted during the study to ensure quality.
  • Data Quality: Data were entered and validated according to protocol

Documentation:

 

ACCESS INFORMATION

Accessing the data

To access the data, please complete a ISSDA Data Request Form for Research Purposes, sign it, and send it to ISSDA by email.

For teaching purposes, please complete the teaching request form, and follow the procedures, as above. This covers sharing of data with students in a classroom situation. Teaching requests are approved on a once-off module/workshop basis. Subsequent occurances of the module/workshop require a new teaching request form. If students will subsequently using data for projects/assignments they must submit their own request form for Research Purposes. Please contact us if you have any queries.

Data will be disseminated on receipt of a fully completed, signed form. Incomplete or unsigned forms will be returned to the data requester for completion.

 

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For a list of Sports related datasets click here.

 

For a list of Health related datasets click here.

 

Bibliography

 

Journal Articles

Leahy, Eimear; Lyons, Seán; Tol, Richard S.J. 'Determinants of Vegetarianism and Meat Consumption Frequency in Ireland'. - Economic & Social Review, Vol. 42, No. 4, Winter, 2011, pp407-436, Dublin: Economic & Social Research Institute http://hdl.handle.net/2262/76760

Madden D Adjusting the obesity thresholds for self-reported BMI in Ireland: a cross-sectional analysis BMJ Open 2013;3:e002865. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002865

Madden, D. (2012), A profile of obesity in Ireland, 2002–2007. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society), 175: 893–914. doi:10.1111/j.1467-985X.2011.01020.x

Madden, D. (2013) The Socio-economic Gradient of Obesity in Ireland. The Economic and Social Review, Vol. 44, No. 2, Summer, 2013, pp. 181–196. http://www.esr.ie/article/view/68

 

Working Papers/ Policy Briefings

Leahy, E., S. Lyons and R.S.J. Tol, 2011, Determinants of Vegetarianism and Partial Vegetarianism in Ireland, ESRI Working Paper 369. https://www.esri.ie/publications/determinants-of-vegetarianism-and-partial-vegetarianism-in-ireland/

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