A new report claims that four out of five Irish people over 50 years of age have a remarkably cheery outlook on life. In fact four out of five say they are happy with their lives and are in excellent or good health.

That's the welcome fining from a major study published yesterday by Trinity College Dublin. The research presents a robustly positive image of the health, lifestyle and wealth of older Irish adults.

However, the report also claims there is a high level of obesity, depression and under diagnosis of serious health problems among older Irish people.

Other finding of the new study, which was reported in The Irish Times, discovered a sharp divide between rich and poor with 29 per cent of older households living on weekly incomes between 201 and 300 euro.

The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing assessed the health and lifestyle of the over 50's during a ten year period until 2018. Cardiovascular diseases are the number one killer, the study found. Hypertension, angina and stroke are most common illnesses in men.

Osteoporosis, arthritis and high cholesterol are more common in women. Some 58 per cent of cases of hypertension in men went undiagnosed and the rate for women was slightly lower at 49 per cent.

Meanwhile one in ten older adults suffer from clinical depression, the study found, although in many cases they are not diagnosed due to social taboos and do not receive medical treatment.

Irish people over 50 years of age have a remarkably cheery outlook on life